AUGUSTA — Maine wildlife biologists are checking on hibernating black bears this month against the backdrop of an anticipated November ballot initiative aimed at banning bear hunting using bait, dogs and traps.

State wildlife managers have been tracking Maine’s black bear population since 1975.

Bear biologist Randy Cross of the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife tells Maine Public Broadcasting Network that the bear management program is a success. He also says hunters wouldn’t be able to take enough bears to ensure a healthy population without using the techniques that would be banned.

But Darryl DeJoy, who runs the Wildlife Alliance of Maine, says baiting is actually helping the population growth by supplementing bears’ natural diet.