The science clearly demonstrates the need for a fair bear hunt in Maine. Hounding, baiting, and trapping are cruel, scientifically indefensible, and not in the spirit of Maine's fair chase hunting tradition.
Wildlife biologists and management professionals warn that baiting alters bear behavior by habituating bears to human food, which increases the likelihood of conflicts; baiting grows the bear population by increasing reproductivity and cub survival rates; and baiting could spread disease because bears and other wildlife are concentrated near bait sites (e.g., The Wildlife Society "Technical Review of Baiting," 2006; Canadian Cooperative Wildlife Health Centre, "A Comprehensive Review of Feeding and Baiting Wildlife,” 2003).
Learn more about the science supporting a fair bear hunt:
Sportsmen, scientists, and bear management experts have come together to support a fair bear hunt and prohibit the cruel practices of hounding, baiting, and trapping. Click on the name of any member of our Bear and Science Advisory Council for his or her bio.
Director, Progressive Animal Welfare Society, active wildlife rehabilitator
I support the Mainers efforts to “prohibit recreational bear baiting, “bear hounding” or pursuing bears with dogs, and bear trapping” as I personally and professionally believe this is an unfair and unacceptable practice to undertake when managing bears in the wild. Given my personal interactions and conversations with Fish and Wildlife in WA and OR, I know they are more than willing and capable of humanely managing bears as long as they have the resources and support to do their jobs properly. While working here at PAWS, I was in support of the Washington Wildlife Alliance, a political action committee formed to help pass Washington State's I-655 (ban on hunting cougars with hounds and bear baiting). The initiative passed with the second largest margin of victory of any statewide race. We again worked with legislators to uphold I-655 in 2011 again, when effort to reinstate hound hunting rose once again.
Executive Director, Great Bear Foundation
"Bears and other top carnivores hold an important role in maintaining ecological balance, and their presence benefits the ecosystem. Bear hunting must be managed ethically and sustainably to protect Maine's ecological integrity and ensure healthy black bear populations. The future of America's hunting heritage depends on hunting regulations that are based on solid, peer-reviewed science, ethical, fair-chase hunting, and human safety."
Wildlife management and environmental expert
"The comeback of the American Black Bear is a true wildlife management success story. In the Northeast especially, bear population growth has been particularly robust and I respect the wildlife management community’s desire to maintain that population at a level that keeps the potential for bear/human wildlife conflicts at a socially acceptable level. At the same time though, we must acknowledge that the black bear is a very charismatic species in our culture. It is a creature that affects people in many different ways and therefore stimulates conflicted values in the policy debate over how bears and people are to co-exist. To me though, the operative word is co-exist and allowing hunting with dogs and luring bears with bait is too one-sided a proposition against the bear. I have hunter friends who feel the same way."
Environmental science/ecology instructor, hunter, outdoorsman
"On large, State Wildlife Departments are more or less in full control of their own programs. They collect, assimilate, and control the release of data that justifies their own management decisions and harvest methodology. It is the proverbial fox-in-charge-of-the-henhouse scenario. It is how bad programs, such as bear baiting, are maintained even though the vast majority of the non-hunting and hunting public remain opposed to it."
Professor Emeriti, University of Vermont, author, researcher, outdoorsman
"I am proud to serve on the steering committee and work with a diverse group of Mainers who share the common goal of eliminating unsporting bear hunting practices. Maine is a state proud of its rich hunting traditions, and hounding, baiting and trapping of bears undermine this heritage. Eliminating such cruel practices will put our state in line with much of the rest of the country."
World-renowned bear biologist, co-founder, Great Bear Foundation
Veterinary advisor, bear rehabilitation expert and researcher
Humans dominate all other animals and our shared environments with the skills and tools that our large brains afford us. We have the power to destroy animals or to spare them, to extinguish species or to ensure that they thrive, to brutalize animals or to demonstrate our superiority through compassion and fairness. When we find it necessary to hunt and kill animals, it is the inherent responsibility of ourselves as human beings to do so with mercy, to spare the individual any suffering, and to ensure that we do no harm with the repercussions of how we kill. Baiting, trapping and hounding are cruel, senseless and fundamentally inhumane. They are among the many embarrassments in our human history that we should have discarded hundreds of years ago. That such a primitive, mediaeval activity still happens today, much less in a culture that thinks of itself as evolved, is unconscionable. North Americans today serve as international leaders of culture, democracy, justice and progress. Modeling these privileges, we must model also the responsibilities that comes with them: humanity toward the animals and people with whom we share the planet.
Associate professor of biology, Suffolk University, community ecologist
Internationally recognized wildlife biologist, adjunct professor, University of Victoria
Bear management expert, specializing in reducing human-bear conflicts
"The Living with Wildlife Foundation supports the Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting Campaign on the premise that bear baiting and hunting bears with hounds violate the principle of fair chase. Drawing bears to a pile of unnatural, irresistible foods and shooting them while they eat eliminates the skill and sport involved in scouting, tracking and killing a free-ranging bear."
Bear management specialist, wildilfe expert
"As a conservationist, a wildlife professional and an avid sportsman, I strongly believe in ethical, fair-chase hunting practices. There is nothing ethical or fair about baiting. Bears deserve better."
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."