Maine bears are facing a tough battle, but your help can change their luck.
Our bears are under attack and in danger of overpopulation, disease and unnecessary killing due to increased human interactions.
What's worse, Maine is dangerously close to losing tens of millions of dollars from our economy and could see almost 1,000 jobs gone. Gone!
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Why? Because the Washington DC-based Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is trying to convince Mainers that the way we bear hunt is horrible and unsportsmanlike and they are willing to dump millions in advertising into the state to prove it.
Our way of life, our economy and our bears need your help!
Maine's bear population is the largest in the eastern United States with an estimated 30,000 living within the state's borders, up a whopping 30% from the number of bears that we had just ten years ago.
Randy Cross (a bear biologist who has been working with Maine's bears for as long as I have been alive), has done many presentations on the number of bears we have and the number of bears that need to be killed each year to keep the population healthy.
Typically, that number is between 3,500 and 4,500 a year. Since 2005, the bear harvest has averaged 2,910, which puts the number in a dangerous slope towards overpopulation.
Since 1975, over 3,000 bears have been captured, released and tracked here in Maine. Wildlife biologists track between 80-100 bears annually and visit over 80 bear dens each winter and spring to collect data on new cubs, check to see how sows faired over the winter and put more permanent tags and collars on yearlings since they will no longer be denning up with their mother.
I have been fortunate enough to go on these den visits, and it is amazing to see such a powerful animal in the woods. While the cubs are adorable, they grow up, get hungry and could wreak havoc on our shaky deer herd population.
Like all hunters, we know that when you are hunting, there is no guarantee that you will shoot the animal that you are after, no matter what you do.
When it comes to bear hunting, Maine is the only state that allows four different types of hunting; still hunting (you walk through the woods and try to find a bear), hounds (you must train dogs to find and then tree a bear), trapping (imagine a circle that you step into and it tightens around you. It only tightens if you pull on it but will not cut into you. It also loosens up if you don't pull at it or if you pick at it like you would a knot in your shoe lace. Legally, hunters must check on these types of traps daily and each hunter is only allowed one of these traps) and baiting (you leave a barrel of sweets in the woods and hope the bear finds it and keeps coming back).
All of these methods only work if there are bears around and you are in the right place at the right time and choose to shoot the animal.
No one wants the bear population to get out of control and no one wants to see bears having more altercations with humans.
We are standing up for the conservation efforts that have been made when it comes to hunting. Let's use common sense and not let the propaganda and spin take away the good work that has been done.
HSUS has already pledged to spend $4 million in Maine to buy votes and win this election. Mainers need your help to spread the word and ideally, send us some dollars to help preserve this tried and true method of keeping our bear population healthy and thriving.
To learn more, go to www.SaveMainesBearHunting.com.