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Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Bear Bills Before the Legislature
Written by Robert Fisk, Jr.   
Saturday, 30 April 2005

The bills before the 122nd legislature pertaining to bear hunting will all have their public hearing Thursday, April 28th at the Augusta Civic Center. The bills are listed below. MFOA is supporting all this legislation and encourages you to do so, but our two specific bills are L.D. 628 “An Act to Amend the Bear Hunting Laws”, which as previously mentioned, is strictly a ban on the use of hounds in bear hunting. The trapping language was inadvertently included and will be removed at the hearing. Our second bill is L.D. 1460 “An Act to Ban Hunting with Traps Except to Protect the Public”, which is five bear trapping bills moved into one piece of legislation. L.D. 314 (ban on bear baiting) will likely be withdrawn by the sponsor (over reaching after the referendum). Our focus is on bear hounding and trapping, which the legislature must look at seriously after the new public awareness and vote on the referendum. From an editorial in the Bangor Daily News two days after the election:  “The results on a proposal to ban baiting, hounding, and trapping bears was 47 percent yes to 53% percent no, a vote much closer than this region might have guessed. Advocates of the ban need only look at Maine’s shifting population to figure out that their time is coming – unless alert lawmakers act sooner. A sensible step would be to separate baiting from trapping and hounding, protect the first and ban the latter two.”  

Not to mention that if the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife had not become involved in the campaign in an unprecedented way, illegally in our mind, we would have won a ban on all three practices. We still can win two of the three, but we need your help. With a strong show of support like many of you did during the referendum we can pass L.D. 628 and L.D. 1460. You active support is needed now. What can you do?

1.   Attend the hearing on the 28th. The opponents will be out in force and we must show the committee and the media our support is just as strong. “No Bear Trapping or Hounding” stickers will be available at that door. Please mark you calendar for next Thursday afternoon. You may want to consider giving testimony at the hearing or giving the committee clerk your written testimony.

2.   Please write The Committee members. This is important. Letters are better than emails. Be polite, informative, short, and direct as legislators get considerable mail. Send your letter to: Hon. Bruce Bryant, Hon. Thomas Watson and committee members, and mail it to: c/o Darlene Simoneau, Clerk, Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, 100 State House Station, Augusta, ME 043330-0100. Be sure to submit 20 copies (for committee distribution). It would be best that the Committee members received your letter before the hearing on the 28th. You should have plenty of information on bear trapping and hounding, but if not, go to the ‘The Bear Facts’ referendum tabloid and go to the MCFBH website, or call our office and we can email or fax you information and talking points. The bear referendum web site will discontinue April 23rd with some of its material being transferred to the ‘new’ MFOA web site that should be online early next week.

Three talking points — we are the only state in the country that still allows the barbaric practice of a bear being shot at point blank range while agonizing in leghold trap. The main argument by the opponents of the referendum was bear management. That issue cannot be used against these bills. Only 12% of the bears taken each year in Maine are from hounding and trapping. For the cruelty involved in these practices enclosed is an Op-Ed at the end of this email that should be useful.

3.   Send a copy of your letter to the committee to your State Representative (2 State House Station, Augusta, 04333-002) and your State Senator (3 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0003). Write a note asking them to urge IF&W committee members to vote ‘unanimous out-to-pass” of L.D. 628 and LD. 1460, or at least be voted out of committee for the full legislature to vote on. And ask for their support when it comes to the floor for a vote. Ask neighbors and friends to do the same.

4.   Write a letter to the editor for your local daily and weekly newspaper. Submit it soon for consideration in the next two weeks. Let us know if it gets published.    

All the hard work that went into the bear referendum can finally realize a positive result for these magnificent animals that needlessly suffer from bear hounding and trapping practices in this state. Please do whatever you can today.

LD 48 An Act To Ensure the Safe and Timely Retrieval of Wounded Bear BY REQUEST

Presented by Representative WATSON of Bath.
Cosponsored by Senator BRYANT B of Oxford and Representative TRAHAN of Waldoboro

This bill authorizes the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to issue permits to licensed guides to dispatch wounded bear.  The bill also authorizes the commissioner to charge a $5 fee to cover the administrative costs of issuing a permit.

LD 137 An Act To Prohibit a Landowner from Charging a Fee for Bear Baiting

Presented by Senator COWGER of Kennebec.

This bill prohibits a landowner from charging a fee for bear baiting.

LD 314 An Act To Prohibit Bear Baiting

Presented by Representative EDER of Portland.

This bill prohibits bear baiting except when it is done to protect livestock, domestic animals, threatened or endangered wildlife, public or private property, public safety or commercial timberlands or for scientific or research purposes.

LD 516 An Act To Prohibit Bear Baiting within 100 Yards of an Adjoining Property

Presented by Representative SMITH W of Van Buren.
Cosponsored by Senator MARTIN of Aroostook and Representatives JACKSON of Fort Kent, MAZUREK of Rockland, PATRICK of Rumford, PERRY A of Calais

This bill prohibits bear baiting within 100 yards of an adjoining property unless written permission is granted by the owner or lessee.

LD 628 An Act To Amend the Bear Hunting Laws

Presented by Representative EBERLE of South Portland.
Cosponsored by Representative DUDLEY of Portland and Representative EDER of Portland

This bill prohibits the hunting of bears with dogs and authorizes the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to create and issue permits that would allow a person to kill or register a bear that was caught in another person's trap.

LD 1093 An Act To Promote Public Safety by Banning the Feeding of Bears in the Wild

Presented by Representative EDER of Portland

This bill prohibits the feeding of bears in the wild.  It does not apply to bear baiting for hunting.

LD 1319 An Act To Ban the Use of Traps and Dogs in Bear Hunting

Presented by Representative DUDLEY of Portland

This bill prohibits the use of a dog to hunt or pursue bear and the use or setting of a trap to hunt or capture bear except under certain circumstances.  The use of a dog or a trap is permitted for certain scientific purposes or if undertaken by state or federal employees to kill or capture a specific animal that threatens livestock, domestic animals, threatened or endangered wildlife, property or public safety.

LD 1460 An Act To Ban Bear Hunting with Traps except To Protect the Public

Presented by Representative PELLETIER-SIMPS of Auburn.
Cosponsored by Senator STRIMLING of Cumberland and Representatives CHURCHILL of Washburn, EDER of Portland, HUTTON of Bowdoinham

This bill prohibits the trapping of bear except with the written permission of the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to protect the public.

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