There is probably no other anti-hunting activist in Maine who is more determined, persistent and passionate than John Glowa from China. Founder of the Maine Wolf Coalition, Glowa has been promoting the recovery of gray wolves in Maine since the early 1990s.
Glowa also has opposed the hunting of coyotes in Maine at every turn. As deeply as most sportsmen disagree with his anti-hunting, anti-trapping dogma, you have to hand it to the guy. He knows how to play the political game, and he knows how to exploit the old sop that there is “more than one way to skin a cat.”
According to Gerry Lavigne, wildlife biologist for the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (SAM), Glowa has successfully filed three legal petitions with the Fish and Wildlife Department (DIF&W) that, if enacted, “would all but eliminate bear and coyote hunting and trapping in Maine.”
DIF&W is duty-bound to hold public hearings on the Glowa petitions this fall. There are three petitions and, while each is cleverly drafted and “nuanced,” the bottom line is this: The first petition would ostensibly ban coyote trapping. The second would ban the recreational hunting of coyotes. The third would impose a timetable of increasing restrictions on baited bear hunts that would result in the elimination of recreational bear hunting by 2029.
Glowa’s rationale, that predators like coyotes and bears need to be naturally regulated, not regulated by man, has a seductive appeal, until you dig into the facts. Coyote and bear numbers are already too high in Maine. Stabilizing both coyote and bear populations through hunting helps protect whitetail deer populations, especially in the North Woods. Coyotes and bears prey on wintering deer and especially spring fawns.
Lavigne writes, “DIF&W has been struggling to control growing black bear populations for more than two decades. Hunters need to take more bear, not less. Glowa’s proposal would cripple that effort since 80 percent of Maine bears are taken over bait.”
Glowa is also trying to get a new legal status for Maine coyotes, one that would classify our coyotes as “eastern coywolves.” This would open the door to federal protection under the Endangered Species Act. It doesn’t take much imagination to anticipate the sweeping implications of a listing of Maine coyotes on the ESA protection roster.
When does all of this come to a head?
In a chat recently with David Trahan, the very capable executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, I asked him what issues would be getting top priority in SAM’s lobby efforts with the state Legislature come fall. “The Glowa petitions,” he asserted without hesitation.
As sportsmen, we are blessed that SAM is there in Augusta keeping a close eye on the political process, which is not always creating policy that serves the best interests of sportsmen or those of wise wildlife stewardship.
Stay tuned. We will keep you posted.