For Immediate Release:
February 3, 2014
Coalition Commits to Defeating Bear Hunting Initiative;
Asks Voters to Educate Themselves About the Proponents
Augusta, Maine- Today, the Washington DC based anti-hunting lobby, under the guise of an organization called Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, submitted signatures to the state of Maine to place a ballot question to ban bear hunting methods before voters in November.
The D.C.-based Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has pumped more than three quarters of a million into the campaign in hopes of gathering enough signatures to qualify the question for the ballot. Actual Maine residents contributed less than one percent of all funds raised by proponents. Although HSUS managed to submit the petitions by today’s deadline, they were unable to gather anywhere close to the same amount of signatures the animal rights group submitted ten years ago. In 2004, actual Maine citizens rejected the group’s attempt to ban these same bear hunting methods.
“Ten years ago, Maine voters agreed that decisions about wildlife should not be made by wealthy, out-of-state special interest groups, but by the professional wildlife managers at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife,” said James Cote, campaign manager for the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council. “The drastic drop in the amount of signatures submitted by the anti-hunting lobby indicates a decline in support for their position over the last decade. Maybe that’s because there is so little about their effort that is based in Maine.”
To date, HSUS has provided more than 99% of all funds raised by the so-called “Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting.” To compensate for a lack of in state support, the anti-hunting group paid more than $150,000 to a professional signature gathering company near Los Angeles, California.
To combat the influx of out-of-state interests, hunters, farmers, small businesses, and unions have formed the Maine Wildlife Conservation Council to make sure that voters know how Maine’s own bear experts have taken care of the black bear population while keeping the public safe at the same time. Supporters include all three candidates for Governor (LePage, Michaud, Cutler), 70+ legislators from all over the state, sportsmen, business groups and private landowners, the Maine Farm Bureau, labor groups such as the Maine AFL-CIO, numerous hunting and fishing organizations, environmentalists and veterinarians.
All of these people and organizations support the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, which boasts one of the most advanced bear management programs in the country. To learn more about MEDIFWs bear management program, please visit: http://www.maine.gov/ifw/hunting_trapping/pdfs/Bear%20Fact%20Sheet%205-08-13.pdf.
To learn more about how to become involved in the campaign that truly represents Maine residents, please visit http://savemainesbearhunt.com.