Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting


Washington Case Study Shows a “Yes” Vote on Question 1 is in Maine’s Best Interest

A case study  from Washington proves that an end to bear baiting, trapping and hounding is in Maine’s best interest. The study was done by Gary M. Koehler, Ph.D., a nationally respected bear biologist and former Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife research scientist.

Upon examining the effect of a 1996 state voter initiative that prohibited baiting and hounding black bears in the state of Washington, Dr. Koehler concluded that discontinuing these practices undeniably led to a more effective and profitable bear hunt.

Dr. Koehler writes: “This Washington case study has important implications for wildlife managers in Maine. Eighteen years after hounds and bait were banned in Washington, the number of bears harvested increased by 16 percent, the numbers of hunters participating in bear hunts increased by 97 percent, and the numbers of licenses sold increased by 343 percent for residents and by 97 percent for non-residents.”

As shown by the study, a “yes” vote on Question 1 signifies a “yes” to a robust and promising hunt in Maine and a “yes” to a ban on cruelty.  Despite the obvious benefits of ending the practices, Maine is the last state in the nation to allow the trapping, baiting, and hounding of bears each season. Ten years ago, the IF&W told Mainers that baiting, hounding and trapping were necessary to manage the bear population. Since then, Maine’s bear population has grown by 30 percent and nuisance complaints continue to increase. By maintaining that reform is not needed, opponents of Question 1 are turning a blind eye to worrisome public safety issues and failing to effectively manage the bear population.

Katie Hansberry, campaign director for Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, said: “Dr. Koehler’s study further supports what we knew all along—baiting, hounding and trapping are not only shockingly inhumane, but these methods are also scientifically indefensible. We can learn from other states that have done away with cruelty and effectively managed their bear populations.  Maine can do better and a Yes on Question 1 will do just that.”

Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting is a coalition of state and national groups, environmental and animal organizations, animal shelters and rescue groups, hunters, veterinarians, businesses, community and faith leaders and independent biologists. The coalition’s Bear and Science Advisory Council consists of sportsmen, scientists, and bear management experts who have come together to support a fair bear hunt and prohibit the cruel practices of hounding, baiting, and trapping.


Endorsements

Wildlife Alliance of Maine
Animal Welfare Society
Spay Maine
Maine Friends of Animals
The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA)
Coastal Humane Society
Animal Refuge League
The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)
Halfway Home Pet Rescue

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Media

Maine Bear Hunting Reform Narrowly Rejected by Voters

Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting expressed disappointment about the election results on Question 1, but thanked more than a quarter million Mainers who voted to end bear baiting, hounding, and trapping.

"We are grateful to so many Maine voters for supporting this proposed reform, and we look forward to working with them and with ‘no’ and non-voters to outlaw the practices of bear hounding and trapping, because we believe there’s substantial agreement on that issue."

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