Several weeks ago, the largest national anti-hunting group—the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS)—announced they are resurrecting an attempt to ban traditional methods of taking black bear. These methods, which account for more than 90% of black bear taken annually, include baiting, hunting with dogs, and trapping. If these methods are eliminated, Maine’s sustainable bear management program will be threatened.
According to Chandler Woodcock, commissioner of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, “Hunting and trapping are the primary tools for controlling the size of wildlife populations, and this proposed referendum would seriously compromise our ability to control the bear population by eliminating our most effective tools.” If Maine’s already large bear population is not controlled, it will undoubtedly increase and could force bears to move into more heavily populated areas. This is a safety hazard for the bear population and residents of the Pine Tree State.
However, this logic seems to evade HSUS, which is aggressively gathering the 57,000 signatures necessary to qualify to put this issue on the November 2014 ballot. If they are successful, this will be their second attempt in 10 years to restrict bear hunting in Maine via a statewide ballot.
At this moment, anti-hunting extremists are canvassing your state, soliciting and paying for signatures to put this issue on the 2014 statewide ballot. In order to preserve bear hunting in Maine and maintain a healthy bear population, it is important your family, friends and fellow sportsmen know the facts behind this petition. It is critical that HSUS fails to gather enough signatures to place their proposed restrictions on the ballot. If their misguided petition is successful, state wildlife groups will be forced to use scarce resources to defeat this statewide measure on the 2014 ballot.
In preparation, pro-wildlife management groups and individuals have come together to form a coalition to preserve bear hunting in Maine. The NRA has joined this coalition and will play an intricate role through this process. Please stay informed at www.nraila.org as we will continue to report on the status of this harmful initiative.