The antis are at it again. This time the target is Maine and the issue is bear hunting. Fortunately, their fight is not going unopposed.
The Coastal Humane Society, Animal Refuge League, Animal Wildlife Society, Wildlife Alliance of Maine, the Humane Society of the United States, and a group calling themselves Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting are seeking to ban three bear hunting practices: hunting bears with traps, hounds or over bait. These groups have also asked restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores to quit supplying leftover food for bear baiting. This marks the second time in the past decade that animal rights groups have attempted to end these practices through legal challenges. Ending the three practices was rejected by a statewide ballot measure of 53 percent to 47 percent in 2004. These anti-bear hunting groups seek to bring their argument to a vote again in 2014.
Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting issued a press release claiming that hunting bears with traps, hounds or over bait is “cruel and unsportsmanlike.” Despite hunters being legally allowed to utilize these hunting methods, bear numbers in Maine has risen from an estimated 23,000 to 31,000 since 2005, according to Randy Cross, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife biologist.
David Trahan, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, is one of those fighting this misguided anti-bear hunting front. In a letter published in the Bangor Daily News, Trahan wrote that organizers seeking to ban the big three hunting methods were acting on behalf of the Humane Society of the United States. This group, he stated, spends millions of dollars on a national level that do nothing to support the efforts of local humane societies or pets. Trahan suggested these groups donate the money spent fighting bear hunting on Maine on local animal shelters instead.