The state of Maine’s black bear hunting regulations goes to the voters.
The state of Maine stands divided in its thoughts on black bear management. In half of the state—the more populated part—many feel baiting bears is an unfair advantage and is not “fair chase.”
In the other half, where the majority of the bear habitat is, many feel baiting is a good management tool.
This is a problem which has been brewing for years.
Maine has seen a huge increase of its bear population. Management, through the use of hunters, is key to keeping the population in check. If the population is over the carrying capacity of its habitat, many bears will starve to death.
Problem bears will become more of an issue, with some encroaching on human neighborhoods to scavenge for anything that may become food. This could be bird feeders, garbage, dogs, cats, or in the worst case scenario, people. If the population is kept within limits of what can remain viable for its habitat, the bears thrive and stay healthy. Disease is also kept at a minimum.
The facts are there.
The Maine black bear population must be managed by hunting to sustain the correct population to support a thriving, healthy bear population. What is at stake is what methods will be allowable to meet that end.
Randy Cross, a Maine state bear biologist, believes not allowing baiting is in essence crippling the harvest necessary to keep the bear population healthy. Baiting for bears allows for more precision in hunting, and better selection of what will be harvested over many of the other methods. As it was, even with baiting, the required harvest was not made.
More regulations on baiting could lead to an even smaller harvest.
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As a scientist with a master’s degree, I feel wildlife management needs to be left up to the trained professionals. They have the continuing research done on the populations, and the information necessary to make the right decisions on game management and other topics pertaining to the great outdoors. Let’s give them the tools they need to keep our game populations healthy.
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