Weekend Primer

Maine Bear Hunt

What do you think about the Maine Bear Hunt?  Here are two opinions for you to consider – Don Kleiner, the Executive Director of the Maine Professional Guides Association and Daryl DeJoy, Executive Director of the Wildlife Alliance of Maine.

Don Kleiner

Daryl DeJoy

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  1. Here is a question for Daryl. I attempted to engage you in regards to this subject on your WAM Facebook page some months ago. I addressed a number of fallacies in your statements with both scientific and anecdotal responses. Within a few minutes my statements were removed and I was no longer able to comment. I was, however, able to read, and I noted that while myself and other articulate proponents of Maine’s bear management strategies were banned, those who simply swore and fumed in frustration were allowed to stay. They fit the narrative you were seeking to put forth I suppose. My question to you is this, why are you afraid of allowing knowledgeable, articulate opponents speak on your page? Is it because you know that, at it’s root, your position is indefensible? Is it because you understand that when we take the emotion out of the conversation and get people thinking they will likely see the error of this referendum? Your entire platform is based on whipping the voters of Maine into an emotional frenzy that they won’t think through to attain a result that they will regret. This referendum is bad for Maine’s people, her economy, and her bears. It must not pass. Vote NO on item 1.

  2. Maine has the longest running and most respected bear biologists in the US. Maine’s bear population is growing, not because of the methods used to manage our bears but because licencse sales are down. The poor economy has hit rural Maine hard and one of the first cuts from famiy budgets when times are tough are “extras” like huntung and fishing trips. The ripple effect has affected sporting camps and guiding businesses across the state. That said, wildlife managers in Maine depend on ALL the methods currently used to to control our bear population. Given all the methods currently used we are still falling short of harvest goals. It isn’t had to imagine how rapidly Maine’s bear popluation would increase if our most effective management tools were taken away. It is tempting to believe the statements made by the opposition that license sales incresed when other states limited their management methods. In those states that licences sales went up, it was because bear tags in those states were given to all hunters buying big game licenses. It had nothing to do with increased interest in bear hunting but a desire on the part of game managers to put as many bear tags in the hands of hunters as possible and giving them every opportunity to kill bear. Still, spot-and-stalk bear hunting methods remain ineffective. Behind every claim the opposition makes that distorts the facts, is the truth about wildlife management. Who are you going to trust – special interest groups from away or Maine’s world-class bear biologists? Why would we delegate wildlife management to the ballot box? Doing so eliminates jobs, hurts the rural Maine economy, and guarantees an increase in bear/human conflicts in the future. Our bear management program is not broken, it needs no fixing. Please, learn the facts and support Maine’s wildlife biologists and wildlife management programs!

    1. We are growing the bear population with this bear feeding program. There are no limits to the amount of bait used. It is literally millions and millions of pounds of fatty junk food. This has a positive effect on reproductivity, a negative effect on cub mortality, helps bears have cubs at a much younger age and habituates bears in more populated areas. All of this leads to the problems we now have, and continuing down this path will only create further problems. We are not going to get more and more hunters. A 30% increase in the bear population will never be matched by a 30% growth in hunters over the same time period. There are only so many people willing to treat wildlife this disrespectfully. Management of an species should not be so hunter dependent and it is folly to say it must be. This is all about money, pure and simple. Just because you can make money doing something is not the end all for why it should be allowed. All this junk in the woods also concentrates other wildlife species around the bait. One study we have on baiting specifically mentions the Northeast, racoons and rabies of particular concern. And this study is by The Wildlife Society, the national organization of wildlife professionals. World class bear biologists would not advocate for millions of pounds of junk food in the woods of Maine. This type of thinking has gotten us to where we are. You want everyone to believe that IF&W’s methods are infallible and they are beyond question. I have too many studies that show and there are too many biologists who know, differently. This situation desperately needs fixing. This mindset definitely needs fixing, and we will do it with good science. when these methods are removed the bear population will stabilize and managers will manage with the bigger picture in mind. You seem fine with all the “out of state” people baiting brings here, but against any organization with many, many Maine supporters and members. It seems an entirely double standard. I have little doubt this is about money. It is not about good science or good biology, never mind good wildlife management. We should measure success by results. Our results in Maine are a 30% increase in bear population over 9 years. Our management is not working. time to try what has worked in other states.

        1. I already told you, although there are many, many more.. Simply go to The Wildlife Societies main page, search for technical reviews, you’ll see Technical Review of Bating and Supplemental Feeding of Wildlife Game Species. Pages 26-34 are specifically on Black Bears, but the entire review is very well done. This is by wildlife professionals, with peer reviewed, published studies. I showed you (one of) mine, now show me your science. I’ve requested their science from the state but aside from acknowledging my request, they have been less than forthcoming with any information. I’m sure your side will find some convenient “spins” on the white paper mentioned above, but taken as a whole, the message is clear. The summary is succinct. Baiting in the quantities we do and for the reasons we do is bad biology.

          1. From Wisconsin:

            Baiting bears and feeding birds

            Wisconsin also allows baiting of black bears for hunting purposes, provided baiters and hunters adhere to conditions in regulations and permits. Bear baits must be concealed in hollow logs or holes with covers that prevent access by deer or other wildlife. To date, no one is aware of disease transmission between bears at such sites. The practice of baiting for bear hunting is considered effective and necessary.

          2. From Minnesota: Yet baiting is legal, mostly accepted, and widely considered necessary for bear hunting in Minnesota because bear are more nocturnal than deer and harder to hunt based solely on their natural movements. Without bait, bear hunter success rates would drop significantly in Minnesota’s thick forests.

          3. It’s interesting, how in the past your groups deny that there is any dedicated funding from the Pitt-Rob act that goes to the State to help out F and G depts. in their management goals, but the group that you mentioned certainly recognizes it as a needed source of funding.

          4. It’s interesting how the Maine Friends of Animals sees this issue, even they acknowledge the problems that will occur were this foolishness to go forward: A number of overarching black bear management implications emerge from both sides of the debate:
            As wildlife agencies set target bear populations, collect biological data on state populations, mitigate human-bear conflicts, and provide recreational opportunities for hunters, they need to determine the most effective, efficient, and feasible manner with which to achieve management goals. There are many management actions available [that are not discussed in this report]; baiting and hounding have shown to be two viable management tools.
            Economic considerations are important. Potential financial effects of the ban could affect adversely registered Maine guides, nonresident license sales, and local and regional economies. However, some states with a ban, such as Colorado , have reportedly not seen drastic declines in license sales or hunter participation (and related economic benefits) .
            There are potential long- and short-term management impacts associated with the proposed ban, including: financial revenue for black bear management and conservation; hunter-facilitated data collection for biological information; bear population growth or decline; and increased or decreased human-bear conflicts. There are costs and benefits associated with each management impact.
            Public concern and input regarding black bear management is important and significant to the wildlife decision-making process. Different stakeholders are involved in the debate; ballot initiatives are becoming an increasingly popular and effective method used by stakeholders to push for policy change.

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