Maine Lawmakers Going After Bear Hunting Again?

MAINE LAWMAKERS GOING AFTER BEAR HUNTING AGAIN?

Maine   The people of Maine have made it clear that they support bear hunting practices for use in curbing the bear population, something wildlife biologists have stated is a necessity. Just this past November, Maine voters rejected a ban on baiting, trapping, and hounding, three practices that are essential features of bear hunting in the state. Voters had already voted down a similar proposed ban ten years before that. Apparently, this isn’t sufficient for a few of Maine’s lawmakers who now are pursuing a revival of legislation against bear hunting. One of the sponsors of this new legislation, Representative Dillon Bates (D), claims that the issue should not have been put before the voters in the first place, that lawmakers should be the ones to decide on regulations such as these. They have put into question whether these specific practices are “sporting” enough, but when it comes to an issue of safety of your people, should that matter? There are roughly 30,000 bears in the state in any given year. The population has exploded by 67% since 1990. Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), in the campaign leading up to last November's vote, attempted to argue the opposite - that the bear population was declining. Bear biologists have refuted that claim, and have stated that 3,500 bears need to be harvested per year in order to stabilize the population and keep Maine citizens safe. If this could be achieved through the means of which one would harvest a deer or a turkey, that would be ideal. Unfortunately, that is not the case with bears. They are much more difficult to hunt and thus these other practices are used to accomplish the goal of 3,500 per year. The words coming from this minority of Maine lawmakers that are pushing the legislation could actually be from HSUS. Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, the local organization that led the efforts in 2014 to ban these practices, was bankrolled by HSUS and was merely a puppet group for the Washington D.C.-based animal rights organization to get their hands into the local campaign. Additionally, HSUS announced back in March that it would set its sights on more legislation against bear hunting despite being rebuffed on multiple occasions. It leads us to wonder if politicians like Bates truly oppose these practices or if HSUS has gotten to them and is directing these specific bills. According to Bates’ testimony before the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee, he has hunted in the past. Bates claims that these issues shouldn’t be left to the voters. If that were the case, shouldn’t he instead be pursuing legislation against referendums? HSUS is once again putting their animal liberation agenda above the rights and safety of actual humans. Yet somehow, they’ve managed to make legislators think their way. Hopefully, the voice of the people and logic supplemented by science will triumph in Maine once again.  

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