(Maine) Wording for bear referendum doesn’t tell all

Posted: 07/31/2014 in Archery, Black Bear, Gable Sporting Goods, Hunting, Legal, News, Regulations
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From Bangor Daily News

Posted July 26, 2014, at 10:02 a.m.

 

Click to go to the main article.

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The wording for the bear referendum, which will be Question 1 on the Nov. 4 ballot in Maine, appears simple enough. But voters shouldn’t be fooled into believing a “yes” vote will promise more than it can deliver.

Here’s the exact language: “Do you want to ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting except to protect property, public safety or for research?”

According to the proposed legislation behind this question, here are several ways one easily can be misled by this simple question. The use of the word “or” between dogs and traps is not multiple choice. Voters shouldn’t be fooled into thinking they can somehow choose which of these three hunting methods to ban. A “yes” vote will ban all hunting of bears in Maine using bait and dogs and traps — all three methods, period.

The second half of Question 1 — “in bear hunting except to protect property, public safety, or for research” — doesn’t tell the whole story.

Again, the legislation behind this question prohibits all bear hunting scenarios in which bait, dogs and traps would be used by licensed recreational bear hunters. There are really no exceptions for licensed hunters, or the general public, relating to the use of baits, dogs and traps for legally killing or even relocating bears.

The legislation does allow the use of baits, dogs and traps to protect property, public safety or for research, but it restricts these methods solely to state and federal employees. A hunter shouldn’t expect to ever again be allowed to hunt bears over bait, with dogs or with traps if this referendum passes — unless he or she is employed by the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife as a nuisance control agent.

And homeowners experiencing problems with marauding bears? They will not legally be authorized to kill or relocate an offending bear using bait, dogs or traps of any kind. They presumably will need to apply to IFW and get the agency to respond to their problem — possibly at a financial cost to them.

If this referendum passes, the unintended consequences are numerous.

Read the rest of the article HERE.

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