It’s 10 years later, and opponents of fair-chase
 bear hunting are still spouting half-truths and
tired rhetoric, relying on scare tactics rather
than facts. This time around, though, don’t fall
 for it. Know that bear baiting, hounding and
trapping are cruel and unsporting, and Maine
 is the only state to still allow all three extreme

There’s an additional decade of data
demonstrating that our current system is one of
 bear mismanagement, incapable of meeting its
 objectives. The growth of our bear population
hasn’t stabilized, or even slowed. In fact, it’s
 doing just the opposite. Since 2004, thanks to
the dumping of an estimated 7 million pounds
of pizza, jelly doughnuts and other junk food in
 our woods each year, the bear population has
 grown 30 percent and nuisance complaints have
 increased 25 percent.

Oregon and
 state have
managed their
 bear populations
 after banning
 all of these
practices – with
 their bear populations and bear-human conflicts
 remaining stable.
What’s more, the number of bear hunting licenses
 doubled or tripled in these states, engaging many
 more hunters in fair-chase bear hunts and generating
 more revenue.
Responsible and humane bear management works.
 In Oregon, the revenue from bear tag sales increased
by 214 percent.

Doug Cottam, biologist with the Oregon Department
of Fish and Wildlife, explains the interest in fair chase:
 “Here on the coast, in this jungle, the houndsmen and
using bait was how it was traditionally done, because
hiking and spotting them here seemed almost
impossible … Hunters have adjusted.”
He continues, “If you know what you’re looking for
 and where to go, you can hunt bears effectively without
 bait or hounds.”

Baiting is not a solution to bear-human conflict – it is
a major source of the problem. Bear population growth
is regulated by the amount of food in their environment.
 By adding millions of pounds of garbage and billions of
fattening calories, we’re increasing reproductive rates
and growing a bear population that is conditioned to
 seek out human food. That’s why every responsible
wildlife agency says, “Don’t feed the bears.”
It’s no surprise that as baiting has increased in Maine,
 so has the bear population – by 30 percent in just the
last decade alone. Baiting is precisely the worst way
to manage bears if you want to minimize conflicts with

Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologist Jerry Apker
estimates that Colorado’s black bear population has
risen from around 15,000 in 1992 – the year a measure
 passed to ban hounding and baiting – to 18,000 today.
That’s a growth rate of less than 1 percent per year.
 Oregon and Washington’s bear populations have
also stabilized at 25,000 to 35,000 (a population
size similar to Maine) since prohibiting baiting and
 hounding nearly 20 years ago.

Restoring fair chase will draw sportsmen to the
challenge and increase interest in the sport, as it has in
other states. With fair-chase hunters in the woods, we
can effectively manage the bear population and
successfully keep nuisance complaint levels in check.
Question 1 specifically allows the use of these methods
 to protect public safety, property or for research. The
Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife
 and residents will still have these tools to address
legitimate nuisance concerns and to keep people, pets,
 livestock and property safe.

The DIFW is supposed to manage our wildlife based
 on sound science, but it’s not an impartial expert
 agency – it’s a government bureaucracy that caters
 to the whims of the guides and outfitters who offer
 guaranteed kills. The DIFW should serve Mainers,
rather than use our tax dollars telling us how to vote
to support its political agenda. This overreaching
 involvement by bureaucrats in state elections
 undermines our democratic rights.

In Maine, we value our wildlife and our hunting
heritage and there’s a reason we don’t bait, hound or
 trap other game species – these practices don’t
constitute hunting. Hunters are not allowed to bait,
hound or trap deer or moose, and shouldn’t be allowed
 to do it for bears. When it comes to bear management,
 the DIFW is an outlier on this issue – no other state
 allows all three of these cruel and unsporting practices,
 and for good reason.
It’s particularly cruel to trap a bear in a snare and allow
 it to suffer for hours until the trapper returns to shoot
 it at point-blank range. It’s unfair to shoot a bear out
of a tree after it’s been pursued to exhaustion by packs
 of remotely tracked dogs. And it stinks to shoot a bear
 over a pile of garbage that it’s been trained to return to
 day after day. Hunting is a Maine tradition, but cruelty
 is not.