Opponents of the statewide ballot measure seeking to ban the use of bait, traps and dogs in bear hunting claimed victory early Wednesday morning.
The first question on Maine voters pamphlets read, “Do you want to ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting except to protect property, public safety, or for research?”
This morning, with almost half of Maine precincts reporting, this measure was headed to defeat. Depending on the other counted votes that still need to be tallied, the practices of bear baiting, trapping and hounding will continue.
It’s considered a victory for Maine hunters, who believe hunting through these methods is the only way to battle overpopulation of the species.
“From the beginning, it’s been our message to trust our Maine wildlife biologists, and we’re proud of people for doing that,” said “No on 1” campaign spokesman David Trahan, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.
This question has been a topic of discussion for months in the state of Maine and will continue to be discussed even more in the near future. The main proponents of the ban, Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, was almost entirely funded by the Humane Society of America and argued trapping, baiting and hounding bears is “cruel, unsporting and unnecessary.”
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Maine is the only state that allows all three types of hunting practices for bear. Baiting is the most popular hunting method in the state.
This ballot initiative was followed very closely by many national hunting groups across the nation last night, as well as animal rights activists, who were hoping that the initiative would pass and help ultimately reduce hunting rights in other states as well.