Thursday, February 6, 2014
Recently, I attended a meeting of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine’s Fish and Game Club Network at SAM’s office in Augusta. Present were Judith Camuso, wildlife division director, and game warden Major Christopher Cloutier. They explained how the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife captures bears, takes measurements, weights, and checks to see if any female bears have cubs in the winter den. Some get new collars so they can be tracked.
The officials explained how Maine is 94 percent forest and woods, and how they rely on hunters to keep the bear population in check. They would like to harvest about 4,000 bears a year. The state has about 30,000 bears at this time.
They explained how they need the three methods of harvesting bears (baiting, hounding and trapping) that Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting are pushing to repeal at the polls in November.
That group has no answer for how to control the bear population if hunters are not allowed to use those methods.
Maine’s bear biologists are the best in the country, and they know how to control the bear population. Lose these methods of managing bears and the bear population may get to the point where they are a nuisance— robbing bird feeders, raiding garbage cans and dumpsters, and visits to homes where they can be a nuisance as well as a danger.
Leave bear management to the people who know what to do. We don’t need people from the Humane Society of the United States, who bankroll the initiative, to tell us what to do.
Ken Scribner, Durham