The Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife would have us believe that “Bear hunting in Maine remains a sport in all its forms.” (Maine Voices, Dec. 3). The forms department spokesman Travis Barrett is alluding to are hounding and baiting, both practices that are outlawed in a number of states because many hunters believe that they violate hunting’s fundamental ethic of fair chase. In other words, they believe it turns hunting from a sport into a slaughter.

Bears can get up a good head of steam for short distances, but they lack stamina. Dogs, on the other hand, can run for hours. Once a dog catches a bear’s scent, the bear has little chance. The bear must quickly go to ground or climb a tree. Either way, it has no chance.

Baiting is even less sporting. The columnist says that bears stay away from the bait pile because of human scent. Well, then, why the heck would the bait pile be used?

It’s supposed to attract bears; that’s the point. A bear gets used to finding food every day in a certain spot, and then one day when the bear comes for an accustomed meal, there is a camouflaged hunter hidden with a clear shot at close range.

I’m sure that by wishing to silence the critics of unfair aspects of Maine’s bear hunting, the column only succeeded in creating more critics.

Chris McClay
Westbrook 

Public relations spin is one thing, but the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife’s recent opinion column about bear hunting is spinning out of control. Someone needs to bring the topic back to down to Earth.

For example, Travis Barrett offers the following gem: “Like the hunter, the hunted is willingly playing the game — measuring risk versus reward with every step.”

Does anyone really believe this? Hunting is a “game” only for the hunter. For the bear, it is life and death.

The hunter may be playing a “game,” but the bear is trying to survive. Bears who are lured to bait cannot “measure risk versus reward” because, by using bait, the hunters are cheating.

Maine law allows hunters to set up bait stations 30 days before the opening day of bear season and keep them filled during that entire period. Over the course of a full month, bears learn that these bait stations are perfectly safe. Then, one day, they are shot without warning by someone hiding nearby.

Bear baiting is not fair, it is not sportsmanlike, and it should not be allowed.

Taylor Fawns
Portland

LePage’s hiring of daughter displeases some but not all 

There are, I’m sure, as many opinions about the hiring of Paul LePage’s daughter as there are citizens of the great state of Maine. Much of the reaction has been negative — nepotism, cronyism, flying in the face of common standards of ethics, etc. — and I’m sure much of the response will be reactionary.

It is sour grapes from the losers, the critical liberal media, whining on the part of the tax-and-spend crowd, etc.

I, however, choose to view this as a fortuitous and serendipitous convergence of time, talent and heredity.

Furthermore, I am sure that is how it will come to be recognized by future generations of Mainers when they look back on this time of electoral outrage and radical change from the self-serving, spendthrift politicians of the past to the fiscally responsible leadership of the future, as represented by Gov.-elect Paul LePage.

Imagine finding the perfect candidate for a $41,000 (plus applicable state benefits) job living right under one’s own roof?

And only 22 at that. Sort of like getting two people for the price of one and a quarter or so. Think of all the on-the-job training she’ll get, and the longevity she’ll have if she decides to stay with the state after her father’s tenure ends.

With her freshly minted degree in biology, perhaps she can transfer to the Department of Conservation or the Department of Marine Resources. Maybe she can become a game warden. How much do they start out at?

Looking at it from another side, think of the advantage Gov.-Elect LePage will enjoy when he sits down to negotiate for fewer state employees and a package of reduced wages and benefits for future, if not current and past, employees with the SEIU/MSEA.

Maybe he can sit down across the table from his daughter? Maybe that was a prime motive for hiring her?

I could go on and on praising the benefits of this inspired decision, but let me just conclude by saying that you, Gov.-elect LePage, are setting a sterling example of how small family-held businesses survive and prosper through the generations.

Oh. But wait, you are about to leave that world to enter into public service. Things are supposed to operate differently there. And you promised in your campaign that they would.

Gov.-elect LePage, your daughter is too young, and it is far too soon in her life for her to be tainted by this wrong-headed decision. If for no other reason, I urge you to reconsider this hiring before she pays the price.

Allan Strouss
Boothbay 

Why is it such a big deal that the governor-elect, Paul LePage, hired his daughter?

Is she qualified for the position? I believe that should be the question rather than father hiring daughter.

How many fathers have hired their sons or daughters in high-ranking positions? I believe that if it is a position that she is interested in and the chief of staff believes that she has met the qualifications, she ought to be hired.

What is the qualification to be an assistant chief of staff? Do you need a college degree? She has that. Do you have to be a U.S. citizen? I believe that she is. Do you have to be a Maine resident? It appears that she is.

So, what is the big deal? I believe that she should be praised for showing an interest in politics when most people her age are more into “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” and other nonsensical reality TV shows.

James W. Edouard
Westbrook 

It is absolutely outrageous that soon-to-be-Gov. LePage has gone so far as to add his own daughter to the state payroll while at the same time threatening to cut the jobs of state workers with education and qualifications.

Even if our state laws allow him to make this appointment (I hope and trust they do not), this is sleazy beyond anything previously known in Maine, and should not be allowed to stand.

If Miss LePage is qualified to work in a state office, she is also qualified to go out and find a job. Perhaps Marden’s is hiring.

Patricia J. Washburn
Portland 

What a wonderful new era Maine is entering! More jobs? Sure. At least if you are related to Paul LePage.

Government for the people? Sure. At least if you are a LePage. Economic prosperity? Yes! At least if you are a LePage. Merry Christmas? Of course. Season’s joy as well. At least if your name is LePage.

I thought we were going to try for fewer jobs. But now we already need one more.

How do you spell “nepotism”? Maybe Maine taxpayers can give their new governor a spelling lesson.

Rick Kimball
New Gloucester 

Biology major Lauren LePage’s recent graduation from a Florida university hardly qualifies her to be hired by her father, our incoming governor, for $41,000 a year, paid with taxpayers’s money, of course.

A quick read of your story makes me wonder how Republicans, libertarians, independents and others react to this, and why you chose not to interview any of us, only Democrats and one lone political scientist.

We should all be embarrassed and disgusted by Paul LePage’s action.

George Waldman
Bath 

Give the governor-elect a break. John F. Kennedy hired his brother Robert as attorney general in 1961 and all was fine.

Good for the incoming governor to hire his daughter. I would do the same.

Gordon Frohloff
Sanford 

And so it begins. Nobody elected the ultra-rightwing Maine Heritage Policy Center to run Maine’s economy, but Gov.-elect Paul LePage has given them the job.

Now he’s given a job in his administration to his daughter. His spokesperson says the rules don’t apply to elected officials or constitutional officers, even though Gov.-elect LePage’s chief of staff, for whom his daughter will be working, is neither.

It would appear Gov.-elect LePage is concerned neither with conflict of interest or the appearance of conflict of interest.

No doubt there will be more, much more of this.

P.J. Mann
Limerick

Paul LePage’s follies show he apparently thinks he is president, not just governor of Maine.

Our narrowly elected governor has asked for the best and brightest on his payroll. Now his daughter is one of the first he has appointed, she will shine the shoes of his chief of staff, give him his umbrella when needed and hang up his hat.

Now all that for $800 per week with a college education from another state. Wow, there are so many secretaries not employed who would have done a much better job for less money and are experienced.

We can now all see how LePage is as a person, all for him. The so-called best and brightest all fit favoritism molds.

Bill Perreault
Brunswick 

Who gives the most money to charities? Conservatives 

I would like to address some questions raised by Lorry Fleming in the Dec. 1 Press Herald. She is apparently certain that liberals are ponying up lots of cash to charities while conservatives sit on the sidelines.

You will hear from the Ted Turners of the world when they donate anything, Ms. Fleming, as they make sure to announce it to their media friends so they can be recognized.

Most conservative donors give without fanfare because their Judeo-Christian values (much despised by the far left) tell them that to give to the poor for their own glory is a sin against God. Liberal atheists such as Mr. Turner are not bound to this tenet.

Perhaps Ms. Fleming could read “Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism,” by Dr. Arthur C. Brooks instead of the Huffington Post.

Dr. Brooks, a registered independent and a social scientist, found that conservatives are considerably more generous with their money than liberals.

Social data from his book also found that people in red states are considerably more likely to volunteer for good causes, and that conservatives give blood much more often than both liberals and independents.

Furthermore, the “generosity index” from the Catalogue for Philanthropy typically finds that red states are the most likely to give to nonprofits, while Northeastern states are least likely to do so.

Remember Vice President Al Gore’s 2000 income tax forms showing his charitable contributions of 0.2 percent of his family income, one-seventh of the average for donating households?

Not to be outdone, Barack and Michelle Obama gave away just $10,772 of the $1.2 million they earned from 2000 through 2004 — less than 1 percent of their income.

Liberals should stick to forced government taxation of the successful to fund the entitlement programs they approve of, and stop fantasizing that they have to bear the greater burden in private charitable giving.

David Johnson
Kennebunk