Monday, January 20, 2014

Maine's Bear Referendum Dangers

The following post on Maine's Bear Referendum was written by Registered Maine Guide, Matt Whitegiver, an outdoor professional with over 30+ years guiding bear hunters in remote sections of the state of Maine. He has an intimate knowledge of black bear and their habits and habitats. Please read the following and get the FACTS on Maine's Bear Hunting Referendum. 

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Right now marauding bears in Maine are pretty much confined to remote camps in the big woods simply because it's the only human food smells in the area. Bears are opportunists when it comes to food and although they much prefer to avoid humans they will seek out food wherever they can find it.

If this referendum passes, state biologists say we can expect an enormous population increase. In search of food bears will search further and further because there is only so much in the wilderness where they belong. They will begin to move into more populated areas. Maine residential neighborhoods and even the big cities will be inundated with hungry black bears. Why? Food! It's a fact of nature that hungry bears will find food when the woods no longer hold enough nutrition to support their voracious appetites.

Our struggling deer herd will also take a heavy toll with that many hungry bruins roaming around looking for newborns to prey upon, and even adult deer if the opportunity presents itself. Our deer cannot sustain an increase of bears at any level. Those who like to hunt deer in Maine need to take notice and get involved, even if you are not a bear hunter.

Farmers will lose livestock because there is no easier prey for a bear than a penned up cow or sheep or horse. Farmers will, and rightly so, shoot any bear they see to protect their livelihood and many bears will go off and die a slow agonizing death because they will not be pursued . . . AND there’s nothing more dangerous than a wounded bear.

What about the blueberry industry? Think about this for a minute. I'm not talking just about the acres and acres of berries that will be destroyed; I am talking about bees. More specifically, I’m talking about beekeepers. The bear population at current numbers is already a big challenge for the industry protecting their valuable hives in the spring from marauding bears. When the bear population Downeast doubles, triples, quadruples or worse, it will get to the point where the bee industry who supply the bees will decide not to come to Maine. The risk to their hives from so many bears will make it not worth the risk. It's not just blueberries they come for, apples etc. What will the blueberry & apple companies, including the small, independent growers, do if they can't get bees? Can the state afford to lose that segment of the farming industry and the jobs related to it?

Now let's talk about the day-to-day urban life with resident bears hanging out. It will be quite a challenge for these folks to time it right so they will feel safe to let out the dog or their kids! Putting trash out for pick up will be impossible. Anxiety, fear, and chaos will rule in people’s back yards and in whole neighborhoods. You won't want to cook bacon with your Sunday morning breakfast because bears will break into a sliding glass door. The cost to cities and state budgets will go through the roof to cover all the costs of dealing with nuisance bears. These scenes will be quite common all over the state of Maine if the referendum passes...I understand you think you are doing the bears a favor but in fact you will be doing them a grave injustice.

When a bear comes into a populated area and the “bear authorities” get involved, they almost always get driven up a tree. The only thing for them to do then is to shoot the bear either with a gun or a tranquilizing dart. Once shot, bears fall, injuring themselves even when less lethal means are employed. The bears that do manage to survive will die slow deaths due to starvation and disease. That is how Mother Nature deals with an over population of any species.

So weigh the differences....loss of revenue to the state, and local business's from all the visitors who come to Maine to hunt, coupled with huge costs to the state as they are overwhelmed with dealing with nuisance bears vs. millions of dollars of revenue brought into the state every fall. Businesses, many of which are seasonal, rely on the bear hunt, as do local communities catering to thousands of hunters from across the country. License fees go towards helping all Maine wild animals. We have a proven management program that keeps bear populations at a level that can be sustained by the resources vs. a huge spike in numbers of bears eventually flooding the streets of urban Maine. Healthy bears roaming the wilderness like we have now vs. starving disease ridden bears roaming downtown Portland. The choice seems to be clear. Vote no on this referendum. I feel strongly that it is important to show people what the likely outcome will be if this referendum should pass. The proponents are going to bombard the population of Maine with propaganda of what they perceive hunting bears looks like. We need to show everyone what the cost of falling for the rhetoric and propaganda will result in. These statements are exactly what happens to bears and neighborhoods when bear numbers grow beyond what nature can sustain.

Please feel free to call or e-mail with your thoughts...
Matt Whitegiver
Registered Master Maine Guide
Eagle Mountain Guide Service
cell: 207-610-9922

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Steve for putting this up on your blog. The popularity of your blog will help get the facts to many people. FACTS and not mis information like we see from the proponents of this agenda driven so called " Citizens Initiative", are the way to educated the uninformed or easily persuaded folks of Maine. Our state and local economies and most of all the bears must not fall victim to this. Thanks again. Matt


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