Hunting Dogs photo

On November 4 Mainers will go to the polls and be asked to vote on Question 1: “Do you want to ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting except to protect property, public safety, or for research?”

The referendum vote is part of the overarching strategy by the Humane Society of the United States to ban hunting wherever it can (read more about that strategy here).

For Maine hunters and outfitters, it could mean the loss of tradition and the houndsmen culture. Earlier this week I had a chance to experience this culture first hand through a hunt with Bob Parker of Stony Brook Outfitters. For a few days I got to run dogs with Bob and his buddies and eventually shoot a treed bear at the top of a rainy Maine mountain. I’ll write about the whole adventure for a digital feature later this winter, but for now here are some takeaways: Hunting with hounds is hard, it’s really fun, and it’s not something that should be banned.