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Bob Duchesne’s Wild Maine: Bear Hunting Referendum Part III [AUDIO]

The petition drive to ban Maine’s traditional forms of hunting bear will start soon. So before all the hyperbole and exaggerations start, let’s take a final look at the issue.

Part 1: Jennifer Vachon, the chief bear biologist at the Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, has studied the state’s bear populations for years. She says Maine’s population isn’t comparable to those in Western states, but is similar to that of our Canadian neighbors.

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Part 2: Does Maine have too many bears? Vachon says hunters aren’t harvesting enough bears, and as hunters are decreasing, the bear population is increasinng.

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Part 3: If we change how bears are harvested, what would happen to Maine’s hunting season? It likely would need to be expanded, Vachon said.

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Part 4: David Trahan is the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine. A former lawmaker, Trahan says the potential bear referendum is dangerous to the bear population, which will be more susceptible to disease and starvation.

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Part 5: The Humane Society of the United States is prepared to spend $3 million on the referendum to ban bear baiting and trapping. Trahan says opponents have been able to rasie a lot of money, too, and he thinks people will be surprised by how much.

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