Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting


Yes on Question 1 Committee Calls Out False Ads and Fear-Mongering by Opposition Campaign

Their own biologists, former SAM leader and hunting writers say bears are not a safety threat

(Oct. 27, 2014) – The campaign committee opposing Question 1 should take down its fear-mongering television advertising because the claims are false and they are intentionally and knowingly misleading Maine’s voters. Katie Hansberry, campaign director for Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, made that request today of James Cote, campaign manager for Save Maine’s Bear Hunt. Hansberry noted that Cote’s advertisement is at odds with his campaign’s primary theme of “trust the biologists,” given that an e-mail uncovered in a Freedom of Access Act request last week revealed the state’s chief bear biologist does not believe that bear attacks against people are a credible threat.

  • One opposition ad features a woman screaming, purportedly in response to a bear attack. This incident occurred in Florida, and has nothing to do with Question 1 or the bear management practices at issue in Question 1. “Your invoking a Florida attack to justify your position would be akin to the Yes on Question 1 committee saying a bear attack in a baiting state would be an indicator of many more attacks to come,” noted Hansberry. “There is clearly no correlation between the prohibition of these inhumane and unsporting hunting methods and bear attacks.”
  • Another ad features Maine Inland Fisheries & Wildlife spokespeople Judy Camuso and Randy Cross calling Question 1 a “serious threat to public safety.” But in an email released under court order last week, Randy Cross admits, “I think your fear of bears is exaggerated and is not rational…Since there has not been an unprovoked bear attack in the history of white settlement in Maine, it is not a realistic threat.” (Oct. 30, 2012)
  • In another ad, a bear is seen running through a neighborhood, along with a voice-over news story that says “a wild animal mauled a woman just walking through her own neighborhood.” The ad again neglects to mention that this incident was not in Maine, that there has never been a black bear attack in Maine, or that Question 1 preserves all current methods to protect public safety.

The letter sent to the opposition campaign by Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting notes that the ad is spreading misinformation about bears that even the opposition’s own spokespeople don’t believe. For example, in a recent op-ed, George Smith, the former director of the Sportsmen’s Alliance of Maine, concedes that “you do not need to be scared of bears. I will admit that scaring you about bears was an important part of our strategy in 2004, and remains a powerful issue for those opposing the referendum. If you see a bear in the woods, you are most likely to see its rear end as it flees. I have had quite a few encounters with bears in the woods and never had a problem.” (Oct. 14, 2004)

Hansberry also quoted hunting writer and Question 1 opponent John Holyoke making a similar claim in a recent column.

“These fear-mongering ads by the opponents of Question 1 are unacceptable and scientifically wrong,” said Katie Hansberry, campaign director of Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting. “Voters should reject these transparent scare tactics and seize the opportunity to stop unfair, inhumane bear hunting methods by voting ‘yes’ on Question 1.”

For the complete letter, visit www.YesOnQuestion1.com/cote-letter.


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Wildlife Alliance of Maine
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Maine Friends of Animals
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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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