PORTLAND — A group that wants to ban bear baiting is asking food suppliers to end the free giveaways of past-their-use-date food for use by hunters.

Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting say many consumers would be surprised to learn that suppliers will give away their old food to hunters, who use stale pastries and other items to attract bears.

The group hopes to gather 80,000 signatures of Maine voters, exceeding the 57,277 signatures needed to qualify for the November 2014 ballot, which would be exactly 10 years after Mainers rejected a similar referendum. The referendum aims to end the hunting of bears with bait, traps and dogs.

Thirty-two states allow bear hunting but referendum supporters say none of them allow all three techniques: Dogs, baiting and trapping.

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