The people of Maine now have an opportunity to try to resolve the bear debate by ending Maine’s bear feeding program. Since 2004, the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife has falsely claimed that bears must be fed in order to kill them to control their population. Since 2004, Maine’s state-endorsed feeding program has exploded the bear population from some 23,000 bears to an estimated 45,000. It continues growing by 2-4 percent annually.
Maine’s bear population exceeds the natural carrying capacity by approximately 10,000 animals. MDIFW’s solution is to grow the bear hunting industry and its own coffers by increasing both the feeding of bears and the “bag” limits for bear hunters.
Feeding bears produces more bears. This is the science. The science-based, responsible solution is to end Maine’s bear feeding program. I have submitted a petition for a rule change to phase out Maine’s bear feeding program over a 10-year period. This would give bears and the bear industry time to adapt to the “new normal” in which bears would go back to being bears and hunters would go back to being hunters. The proposed change would still allow food to be used as scent bait but would gradually eliminate the feeding of bears and the negative consequences including increased cub production and reliance on human foods.
No one wants another expensive bear referendum. Unfortunately, MDIFW and the bear hunting industry refuse to even consider any form of compromise. MDIFW’s mismanagement of the public’s bears must be addressed. The public has until June 5, 2020, to send comments to MDIFW in response to the proposed rule change. For more information, to get a copy of the proposed rule, or to submit comments, email [email protected] and refer to Chapter 16.09 Bear Feeding Petition. Thank you.
John M. Glowa Sr.