For Immediate Release: Contact:
October 28, 2014 James Cote, Campaign Manager
Big Bank Account and Little Knowledge:
Why HSUS Can’t Be Trusted with Decisions for Maine’s Bears
Augusta, Maine- Three recent pieces of evidence make it extremely clear why the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting can’t be trusted to make healthy decisions for Maine’s wildlife.
Exhibits 1 & 2- Lack of understanding of bear species in Maine
Below you will find exhibits 1 & 2. Exhibit 1 was posted recently on Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting Facebook page. Exhibit 2 was the cover of a recent mailer that was sent by Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting to Maine voters. In each of these, pictures of grizzly bears are shown. The species was confirmed by Nate Webb a biologist with the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. (Nate Webb, Ph.D., received his doctorate degree at the University of Alberta, and was the large carnivore biologist overseeing grizzly and black bear management in the province of Alberta for over five years. One of Webb’s duties was teaching bear identification and bear safety to the general public. Webb currently is the IFW special projects biologist.) The problem with this, of course, is that Maine is not home to any native population of grizzly bears. In fact, grizzlies are only found in Alaska, south through Western Canada and into the northwestern U.S. The closest grizzly population is likely to be in Wyoming or Manitoba- nearly 2,000+miles away. Maine has one of the largest populations of black bears anywhere in the country.
Exhibit 3- Lack of understanding of Maine bear hunting laws
In this screen shot of a 15 second ad paid for by Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting titled “hounds”, taken on October 27 from the Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting website (www.fairbearhunt.com/video), seven bear dogs are seen hunting a bear. An eighth dog eventually comes into the shot. Under Maine law, only 6 dogs may be used to hunt bears (see: Maine Statutes, Title 12: http://www.mainelegislature.org/legis/statutes/12/title12sec11302.html) This hunt likely took place in another state, not in Maine.
“These three pieces of evidence clearly demonstrate why HSUS and Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting should not be trusted with decisions regarding Maine’s bears,” said James Cote, Campaign Manager for the Save Maine’s Bear Hunt/NO on 1! Campaign. “Maine voters deserve better than this level of deception and misunderstanding- our bears, our safety, our economy and our outdoor heritage are too important be left to outsiders with big bank accounts and little knowledge of bears and bear hunting here in Maine.”
According to the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Maine is home to a population of 30,000 black bears. Question 1 would eliminate the three most effective methods of controlling the bear population. Hunting over bait, trapping, and hunting with dogs accounts for approximately 93% of Maine’s annual bear harvest.
“If these groups can’t even take the time to talk about the correct species of bear, or show images that are truly reflective of a bear hunt under Maine law, how can we possibly trust them with decisions about managing our healthy bear population?” said Cote. “This is a no-brainer. Let’s trust our experienced bear biologists and game wardens, not the outsiders. Vote NO on 1.”