Maine Sportsmen Victorious in Bear Hunting Lawsuit

MAINE SPORTSMEN VICTORIOUS IN BEAR HUNTING LAWSUIT

A year and a half of legal pursuit by Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and its partner Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting to prevent science from being utilized to determine best bear hunting practices has been rendered futile. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled earlier this month that the groups' lawsuit against the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife lacked grounds. They were initially seeking to stop the department's staff from providing their input on the November 2o14 ballot measure to ban the use of baiting, hounding, and trapping in bear hunts (the measure was defeated and those methods continue to be used). In 2015, Maine Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler first dismissed the lawsuit. This April 2016 ruling by the Supreme Judicial Court reinforces that ruling. This result determines that Maine will not let outside special interest groups influence the best practices for wildlife management. Sportsmen know the best ways to control overpopulation, and that includes these methods. Baiting, hounding, and trapping allow the state's hunters to keep the bear level consistent with public goals and objectives. HSUS and its allies did not see it that way. They fought vigorously to remove these methods and implement their own impractical plans for wildlife management. Evan Heusinkveld, president and CEO of Sportsmen's Alliance, had this to say on the animal rights group's involvement in this issue:

“There is no doubt in my mind that they knew where the polling stood, and were simply grasping at every last straw in their attempt to foist their radical Washington D.C. values on the good people of Maine. They see the wildlife management professionals at the department as a distinct threat to their agenda, instead of the responsible fact-driven professionals that they are. I’m glad that the state’s Supreme Judicial Court has sided once again with the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and sportsmen and women in Maine.”

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