Maine Bear Hunting Ban Initiative, Question 1 (2014)
Text of measure
The ballot question will appear as follows:
|“||Do you want to ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting except to protect property, public safety, or for research?||”|
The fiscal note reads as follows:
Correctional and Judicial Impact Statements
Establishes new Class E crimes. The number of new charges filed is expected to be insignificant. The collection of additional fines may increase General Fund revenue by minor amounts.
Fiscal Detail and Notes
This citizen initiative proposes to prohibit the use of dogs to hunt or pursue bear, the use of bait to hunt or attract bear and the setting of traps to hunt bear. Although these provisions may initially decrease certain license sales to the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, hunters currently using the methods prohibited here may choose to purchase licenses to hunt without these methods, mitigating any revenue loss from license sales. In addition, minor fine revenue from violations of the provisions would further offset any remaining decline in license sales. Overall no significant impact to General Fund revenue is anticipated. 
This measure would not have gone to the ballot if the bill, LD 1474, sponsored by Rep. Denise Harlow (D-116), had been passed by the legislature. This bill sought to enact laws similar to those stipulated in the initiative. A similar measure appeared on the ballot and was defeated in the general election on November 2, 2004.
The group Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting is officially sponsoring the measure. The Humane Society of the United States is also supportive of this initiative and has stated that it will donate money in order to ensure the measure is approved. Supporters are confident that the 2014 measure will fare better than its decade-old predecessor. Katie Hansberry, campaign director for Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, said, "This is an issue that is still important to Mainers all around the state. Baiting bears is a problematic and reckless practice." Supporters of the measure argue that certain methods used to lure and hunt bears are inhumane.
The group, Save Maine’s Bear Hunt, has come out as one of the measure's main opponents. David Trahan, executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine and a member of Save Maine's Bear Hunt, refuted Hansberry's statement. He and his fellow opponents believe that bear hunting is an important part of the state's economy and think bear populations should continue to be managed by biologists at the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.
Path to the ballot
- See also: Laws governing ballot measures in Maine
Supporters of the measure were required to submit at least 57,277 valid signatures by February 3, 2014. Supporters claimed they submitted 78,528 signatures by the prescribed deadline. The secretary of state had one month to certify that the minimum number of signatures was valid. Ultimately, the secretary of state's office confirmed that 63,626 signatures, out of the 78,528 submitted, were valid. On March 18, 2014, the secretary of state transmitted the initiated legislation to the legislature. Members of the House and Senate had the option of enacting the measure into law, without amendment, or sending the question to the voters for a final determination. The legislatures choice to not enact the measure placed the question on the November 4th ballot.
- George's Outdoor News, "New bear referendum coming in 2014," May 6, 2013
- Associated Press, "Bear baiting opponents collect 78,528 signatures, aims for referendum in Maine," February 4, 2014
- Maine Secretary of State, "2014 Referendum Election," accessed September 15, 2014
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
- Maine Legislature, "Legislative Document No. 1845," March 25, 2014
- Maine Legislature, "LD 1845 Fiscal Impact Statement," May 23, 2014
- Portland Press Herald, "Bear baiting question may be back on Maine ballot," February 4, 2014
- Portland Press Herald, "Maine bid to outlaw bear baiting will be in national spotlight," March 11, 2014
- Maine Secretary of State, "Secretary of State Matt Dunlap Releases for Public Comment the Proposed Ballot Question for the Bear Hunting Citizen Initiative," May 16, 2014
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