Did you know that Maine is the only state that still allows the three barbaric hunting practices of bear baiting, hounding and trapping? But this year a referendum election that coincides with the general election on Nov. 4 will give Maine citizens the chance to put an end to this savage behavior.  

On Nov. 4, 2014, Maine voters will not only elect a governor, representatives to Congress and members of the Maine Legislature—they will have an opportunity to give a voice to bears in the referendum election. The first question in the referendum is, “Do you want to ban the use of bait, dogs or traps in bear hunting except to protect property, public safety or for research? 

Friends of Animals is urging its Maine supporters to VOTE YES to question #1 and support the ban of these cruel hunting practices. While Friends of Animals is adamant that the hunting of bears and wildlife should be banned altogether in Maine, it supports this measure that limits the ability of hunters to successfully kill bears. 

It is obscene that hunters can lure bears with pizza, jelly doughnuts and other junk food in the woods, chase them to exhaustion with dogs, or leave them to suffer in pain in traps for 24-hours before shooting them, just so they can turn their heads and hides into a rug or wall hanging. Voting YES to Question #1 on the referendum on Nov. 4 will strip away some of the ease with which hunters kill bears and make them their trophies. 

The real nuisances in Maine are groups like Maine’s Wildlife Conservation Council and other agencies that treat hunters as clients instead of advocating for wildlife and educating the public about how to peacefully co-exist with wildlife. As human population expands and habitat shrinks, it is our duty to do so, not shoot our way out of situations we created.

Wildlife officials should educate the public on what to do in bear territory, such as carrying bear deterrent spray. They should make it mandatory for residents to use bear-resistant garbage cans—another solution to human-bear encounters. Hunting and shooting is not the answer. 

So get out and vote and make the hunting of bears—which should be prohibited—more difficult.