I would like Maine residents to consider a few things before putting stock in the statements by John M. Glowa Sr. in his May 19 commentary (“Let’s work toward shutting down Maine’s bear feeding program”).

Glowa states, “Food would not be available for the bears to eat” if the use of food only for scent and sight baits were continued; he wants to stop “feeding” bears with bait. Residents in York County recently saw that an inadequate food supply can lead to bears feeding on residents’ pets and livestock. These bear baits help keep bears in the woods where they belong. Glowa’s proposal has them discontinued in 10 years.

In the past five years, 69 percent of the bears harvested in Maine have been harvested over bait. Discontinuing baiting would have tremendous impact on the population, leaving between 1,500 and 2,500 bears in the population every year, should trends in the harvest reports continue.

Hunting license sales are declining. Is it not possible, and more likely, that the reason for the increase in the bear population is that there are fewer hunters? In the past five years I have seen fewer bear hunters and reports of more bears near my home. What I am seeing in the woods is supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s historical license data, which state there were 3,716 fewer hunting license holders in Maine in 2019 than in 2015.

I know bear hunting is not for everyone. But do we want to limit the number of bears harvested each year with the populations on the rise and the number of those hunting them declining?


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