Maine Anti-Bear Hunting Bill Hearing Set

Maine Legislature, Bear Hunting Magazine

Ten years after Maine voters defeated an attempt to ban bear hunting with bait and dogs, a new ballot measure on the same issues may be on the way for 2014. The Humane Society of United States (HSUS) has filed its intentions to initiate a new bear referendum with Maine’s Secretary of State. HSUS was the organization that placed these issues on the ballot in 2004 and spent millions trying to convince Maine voters to support them.

HSUS has also proposed a bear bill in this session of the legislature. The bill, LD 1474, sponsored by Representative Denise Harlow (D) of Portland, is scheduled for a public hearing on Friday, May 10th.

The bill would:
• Ban bear trapping and bear hunting with dogs. Under the bill, government officials would only be allowed to trap or use dogs on “specific offending” bears or for scientific studies

• Ban using a leashed dog to track a wounded bear

• Place a permanent prohibition on hunting bears between January 1st and July 31st

• Reduce the bear bag limit from two to one bear for all hunters.

That bill has little chance of success at the legislature, but the referendum is another story. It may set up a rerun of the 2004 initiative.

Baiting of bears is the most commonly used practice by bear hunting guides and outfitters in Maine. Without it, there would be little to no bear hunting industry in Maine.

If you live in Maine, the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Wildlife will hold a hearing on an anti-bear hunting bill on Friday, May 10th at 10 a.m. The hearing is scheduled in Room 206 in the Cross Office Building in Augusta. All Maine bear hunters are urged to attend and voice their opposition. If you are unable to attend, please contact members of the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Wildlife today and tell them to vote NO on LD 1474.

Chair Senator David Dutremble (D-York)
(207) 287-1540

Chair Rep. Michael Shaw (D-Standish)
(207) 787-4352

Senator Anne Haskell (D-Cumberland)
(207) 287-1540

Senator David Burns (R-Washington)
(207) 287-1505

Rep. Sheryl Briggs (D-Mexico)
(207) 364-5665

Rep. Karen Kusiak (D-Fairfield)
(207) 453-6834

Rep. Timothy Marks (D-Pittston)
(207) 582-6798

Rep. Stanley Byron Short, Jr. (D-Pittsfield)
(207) 487-4944

Rep. Paul Davis, Sr. (R-Sangerville)
(207) 876-4047

Rep. Dale Crafts (R-Libson)
(207) 353-5469

Rep. Eleanor Espling (R-New Gloucester)
(207) 926-6082

Rep. Stephen Wood (R-Sabattus)
(207) 740-3723

Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos (U-Friendship)
(207) 832-7378

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