Contact: Joe Mullin, Northeastern States Senior Coordinator
On July 8, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) testified during a virtual hearing hosted by the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW), reaffirming our staunch opposition to the bear baiting ban petition that the MDIFW received. CSF’s New England States Senior Coordinator, Joe Mullin, spoke to the efficacy of hunting over bait, as well as the detrimental effects that the proposed amendments would have on not only the hunting community, but to the entire state of Maine.
Well over 60 members of the public were present during the virtual hearing which the MDIFW used to gather public input on the proposal. As was mentioned by numerous speakers, decisions regarding the management of Maine’s fish and wildlife, and the habitats that sustain them, must be left in the capable hands of the MDIWF and the experts it employs, and must not rely on false, emotional narratives.
Hunting black bears in Maine is a time-honored hunting tradition enjoyed by both resident and nonresident sportsmen and women alike. The use of bait in this endeavor is an effective method that affords sportsmen and women the opportunity to be more selective in their harvest, applying ample opportunity to judge the animal’s size and age – something that is not always the case with other approaches. The efficacy of this practice is evidenced in the MDIFW’s 2019 Maine Black Bear Harvest report, which notes that 65% of the bears harvested in Maine last year were taken over bait.
In early June, CSF submitted stand-alone testimony and a sign-on letter in opposition to the baiting ban petition, and will continue to remain engaged on this issue. Further details will be reported as they are made available.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?