June 22, 2020

Maine: Proposed Bear Baiting Ban to Receive Virtual Hearing

Contact: Joe Mullin, New England States Senior Coordinator

As the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) has previously reported, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (MDIFW) received a petition to ban the practice of bear baiting – an effective, science-based wildlife management method that would be eliminated by 2029 under the proposed rulemaking. While comments were initially due to the Department by June 5, an extension has subsequently been granted, and testimony may be submitted up until July 20. Additionally, the MDIFW will be holding a virtual hearing on July 8 at 4:00 P.M. (EDT). All parties interested in taking part are encouraged to reference the MDIFW’s announcement.

This proposal came from a petition that the MDIFW received for consideration, and it appears to reflect a continuation of the 2014 “Question 1” ballot referendum, which was a failed attempt by anti-sportsmen’s groups to ban the responsible and sustainable harvesting practices of baiting, using hounds, and trapping bears. Earlier this month, CSF submitted stand-alone testimony against this bear baiting ban, and spearheaded efforts behind a sign-on letter that garnered support from 17 in-state and national conservation organizations.

CSF will continue to remain actively engaged on this issue and will report on any related news as it is 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?

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