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Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Bear Trapping And Hounding Bills Before The Legislature
Written by MFOA   
Wednesday, 06 April 2005
Although the bear referendum lost (53% - 47%), there is no question that the issue of humane and ethical hunting came to the public forefront like never before. The campaign to end bear baiting, hounding, and trapping significantly increased the awareness of wildlife animal cruelty, unethical hunting practices, and how we manage wildlife in Maine. Maine’s wildlife belongs to all its citizens and we cannot end our campaign until we end unnecessary animal suffering that is found in certain hunting practices, most particularly, bear hounding and trapping. For whatever reason, it appears the electorate viewed baiting as less offensive than hounding or trapping. The Bangor Daily News editorial (highlighted on this page), published two days after the election, confirms this thinking. Many have said that if the 2004 referendum addressed only hounding and trapping, it would have overwhelmingly passed. Baiting may seem less cruel, even though it remains a strong ethical hunting issue. Therefore, MFOA has a bear trapping bill and a bear hounding bill in this legislature.

We need to strike while the iron is hot and make people aware that the vast majority of Mainers would like to see an end to bear I hounding and trapping. The Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife innately is against everything we present, but this time we can point out that a likely majority of their constituents support a ban on these specific hunting practices. The two bills absolutely need to be voted out of committee so that the full legislature can vote on them.

It is very important for those who have called, written and emailed MFOA asking how they can help that they do so now. Please see page 3 on what you can do to end this needless animal suffering. If you need any information on writing your legislators and newspapers, please refer to the referendum campaign tabloid, “The Bear Facts”, of the still posted site, or call MFOA.

The main argument by the opposition against the referendum was bear management. That issue cannot be used against these two bills. About 400 bears are taken by hounding each year and about I 00 are trapped. In total, those two methods account for only 12% of the animals killed.

The same opposition we had with the referendum has already taken positions indicating that they are going to continue to be nothing other than a group of hunters who fight any restriction of any kind to any hunting practice. You need to be heard. Eliminating two of the three practices we fought for in the referendum would be vindication that our message is just and it’s time has come.
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