Did you know that the state of Maine has one of the best bear management plans in the country? Bear hunting and careful population management has yielded great results, but the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) may soon be bringing that to an end.
First, a little bit of background on this issue. A few decades ago the bear population in Maine was around 18,000. Wayne Bosowicz, a 71 year old Maine master guide, says the state used to pay him to hunt bears because they were considered a nuisance. Fortunately, that is no longer the case. Throughout the last decade hunters have flocked to Maine to hunt the local bear population, and thanks to a well-planned management program, Maine has more bears than ever. In fact the bear population in the state today is well over 30,000.
Not only has this management program been good for local bear populations, but it has also been great for the state’s economy. Thousands of nonresidents visit Maine every year to hunt bears, and bear hunters in general contribute more than $60 million a year to the local economy. This could all change soon due to new anti-hunting efforts being made by the HSUS.
The HSUS has funded a referendum that aims to ban any sort of baiting or trapping of bears In Maine. Although similar efforts have been shot down in the past, some people are worried this law may pass. They have gotten similar referendums passed in other states, and despite the success of bear hunting and management in Maine, things may begin to change in the state.
Hunting can have several positive effects on the entire state and is a natural part of the population management process. By banning hunting much more than just the economy is hurt. We hope similar efforts are not made in Pennsylvania, but we suggest you keep your eyes on the situation in Maine to see how it plays out and affects other regions.