HSUS Once Again Targets Maine Black Bear Hunts

firstforhuntersblackbearheadonJust months after Maine voters rejected a ballot initiative that would have outlawed bear hunting, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has announced plans to try and end Maine’s bear hunting season, again.

This past November, a majority number of voters rejected the bear hunting ban (Question 1) by a 53.6 to 46.3 percent margin, just as they did in 2004 – the last time HSUS brought the issue to Maine.

On Tuesday, February 24, lawyers for HSUS and the state of Maine were in court to debate the lawsuit brought by HSUS against the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. That suit sought to stop the state’s wildlife experts from explaining to voters the true dangers of HSUS’s bear hunting ban. Despite an overwhelming decision by Maine Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler that sided with the state’s right to provide comments, HSUS continues to pursue a legal challenge.

As part of the discussions about the pending litigation, an attorney for HSUS, Rachel Wertheimer, advised the court that they will again put the question on the 2016 ballot, and will be filing the initial paperwork soon.

Safari Club International will stand behind Maine’s science based bear management program. Professional biologists need to continue to manage Maine’s bear population with their nationally recognized bear management program. Without bear hunting, baiting, and trapping, it would become much more difficult for Maine to manage its bear population to a level consistent with their public goals and objectives.

 

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