Maine Environmental Policy Institute

Maine Environmental Policy Institute Report and Voter Guide:
An Act Prohibiting Certain Bear Hunting Practices

The Black Bear (Ursus americanus)
(Photo by Branson Reynolds)

On November 2, 2004 Maine voters rejected the referendum by a 53% to 47% margin:

"Do you want to make it a crime to hunt bears with bait, traps or dogs, except to protect property, public safety or for research?"

The Maine Environmental Policy Institute presented the following voter's guide on the issue:

  • Black Bears: A Situation Analysis on Baiting and Hounding. A report prepared for the Maine Environmental Policy Institute by Meredith Gore, Department of Natural Resources, Cornell University.

    This report summarizes key elements of what bear baiting and hunting with hounds entails; reviews the status of the practices in various portions of the United States; provides a situation analysis within states recently confronting similar referendums. This report does not offer arguments supporting or rejecting the merit of either side of the debate. The report is available in

  • Read the language of the initiative, from the Maine Secretary of Stateís website.

    Supporting the initiative.....

  • The sponsor of the initiative is Maine Citizens for Fair Bear Hunting.
  • Hunters For Fair Bear Hunting
  • Humane Society of the United States

    Opposing the initiative.....

  • Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife
  • The Sportsman's Alliance of Maine
  • Maine Professional Guides Association

    News articles, editorials, and opinion pieces. Check newspaper's archives if links are no longer valid.

    Constitutional amendment would prohibit ballot initiatives on wildlife management issues (Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel, 11/5/04)

    Activist: Hunting abuses exposed (Associated Press, 11/4/04)

    Bear hunting debate headed to Legislature (Portland Press Herald, 11/4/04)

    Defeat of bear-baiting ban comes with price (Maine Public Radio, 11/3/04)

    Bear-bait measure narrowly rejected (Bangor Daily News, 11/3/04)

    Bear-baiting ban falls in close vote (Portland Press Herald, 11/3/04)

    Campaign to alter bear hunting practices is stirring an equal swell of emotion (Associated Press, 10/31/04)

    Bear-hunt pros and cons lost amid finger-pointing (Portland Press Herald, 10/30/04)

    AD WATCH: Biologists defend current methods (Portland Press Herald, 10/30/04)

    AD WATCH: Bear hunting cast as 'cruel, inhumane' (Portland Press Herald, 10/30/04)

    AD WATCH: 'Facts' highlights other states' bans on bear baiting (Portland Press Herald, 10/29/04)

    TV stations bar anti-bait ads (Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel, 10/29/04)

    Opinion: Bear vote critics use scare tactic (Portland Press Herald, 10/29/04)

    Opinion: The great bear debate (Bangor Daily News, 10/28/04)

    National groups aid foes of bear-baiting (Portland Press Herald, 10/28/04)

    Editorial: The Portland Phoenix endorses a yes vote on Question 2 (Portland Phoenix, 10/28/04)

    Editorial: Ideology behind Question 2 (Brunswick Times Record, 10/27/04)

    Supporters of Question 2 dispute figures on nuisance bears (Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel, 10/26/04)

    Opinion: Bear hunt's future hangs by a slender thread (Bangor Daily News, 10/26/04)

    Opinion: End bear baiting, hounding, trapping (Bangor Daily News, 10/26/04)

    Maine unique when it comes to bears (Portland Press Herald, 10/24/04)

    Opinion: Bait ban or no, one thing's sure: More bear encounters inevitable (Portland Press Herald, 10/24/04)

    Opinion: Rural Maine couldn't bear economic impact of Question 2 (Portland Press Herald, 10/24/04)

    Bear-vote rallies due in Portland (Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel, 10/23/04)

    Bear-hunt ethics vs. population debated (Portland Press Herald, 10/23/04)

    Opinion: Trust bear biologists and vote no on 2 (Bangor Daily News, 10/23/04)

    Opinion: Referendum on bear hunting (Bangor Daily News, 10/22/04)

    Opinion: Bear referendum foes distort facts with scare tactics (Bangor Daily News, 10/20/04)

    Editorial: Regulation of bear hunt best left to biologists (Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel, 10/18/04)

    Maine bear hunting questions answered (Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel, 10/17/04)

    Group: An economic impact study by opponents of proposed new bear hunting regulations is flawed. (Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel, 10/15/04)

    Bear question likely to get voters out (Portland Press Herald, 10/17/04)

    Editorial: Letís Not Criminalize Bear-baiting (Ellsworth American, 10/14/04)

    Funds favor foes of bear hunt restriction (Portland Press Herald, 10/13/04)

    Maine bear count proves elusive (Portland Press Herald, 10/10/04)

    Debaters split on ethics of bear hunt (Portland Press Herald, 10/8/04)

    New study on bear baiting ban challenged (Portland Press Herald, 10/1/04)

    Would bear bait ban pay? (Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel, 10/1/04)

    Adwatch: Television ad against the referendum to ban bear hunting with bait (Portland Press Herald, 9/30/04)

    Another bear referendum ad in dispute (Maine Public Radio, 9/28/04)

    Editorial: Bear baiting should be outlawed in Maine (Portland Press Herald, 9/26/04)

    Television ad seeks to convince voters on the use of bear bait (Portland Press Herald, 9/25/04)

    State biologist's statements on bear-bait ban criticized (Portland Press Herald, 9/22/04)

    IF&W accused of political involvement in bear referendum (Maine Public Radio, 9/20/04)

    State rejects critics of bear-baiting ad (Portland Press Herald, 9/16/04)

    BEP to meet in Orono to hear landfill appeals (Bangor Daily News, 9/16/04)

    Opinion: Bear expert should not be muzzled (Bangor Daily News, 9/16/04)

    Editorial: State biologist's TV commercial breaks no rules (Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel, 9/16/04)

    Group: Bear ad should be pulled (Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel, 9/15/04)

    Bear-baiting ad riles ban backers (Bangor Daily News, 9/15/04)

    Opinion: Considerable skill needed to hunt bears with bait (Bangor Daily News, 9/13/04)

    Activists surprised by views on bear hunt (Portland Press Herald, 9/12/04)

    Animal rights volunteer turns 'Fair Bear' backer (Portland Press Herald, 9/10/04)

    Would A Baiting Ban Boost The Bear Population? (Maine Public Radio, 9/8/04)

    Opinion: Bear-hunting referendum is about preserving and respecting the wild (Bangor Daily News, 9/7/04)

    Opinion: Maine's bear experts do know their topic (Portland Press Herald, 9/7/04)

    Debate swirls about bear baiting proposal (Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel, 9/6/04)

    Opinion: Bear hunt more than just the hunt (Bangor Daily News, 9/4/04)

    Bear bait debate heats up at Brewer forum (Bangor Daily News, 9/3/04)

    Bear Baiting proponent: Past not a liability (Kennebec Journal/Morning Sentinel, 9/2/04)

    Bear-baiting foe's legal record raised as issue (Bangor Daily News, 9/1/04)

    Bear hunt may be baiting end (Portland Press Herald, 8/28/04)

    Bear hunt season begins, as referendum looms (Bangor Daily News, 8/28/04)

    Older bear referendum news items.

    Please contact us by email meepi@meepi.org if you have any questions or suggestions for additional information for this page.

    Maine Environmental Policy Institute
    220 Water Street, POB 347, Hallowell, Maine 04347. Phone: 207-622-9766
    Email: meepi@meepi.org

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