According to the National Humane Society of the United States, Maine is the only state that still allows the trapping of bears with a snare trap that put bears into an ever-tightening grip. After up to 24 hours of struggling in one of these traps, the frightened, suffering animal is shot to death by the trapper.

According to information posted on the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife website, “Most states permit the use of bait, hound or traps to harvest a black bear.” However, a state-by-state search at, for the years 1986 to 2003, reveals that Maine is the only state to use traps for bears, increasing from none in 1986 to 130 in 2003.

The Maine IF&W advises hunters on its website to “try to get about 5-10 pounds of back pressure against the trigger [of a snare trap] as this allows most cubs, coons and other small animals to pass over the set, keeping the snare set for your target of a larger bear.”

One might ask what about those animals that don’t “pass over” the trap but get caught? Picture a struggling bear cub with a leg caught in a snare trap with its mother standing by helplessly while the cub cries out and desperately tries to escape, maybe resorting to chewing off its own leg.

An article by a wildlife biologist posted on the Maine IF&W website says, “Bear hunting hasn’t caught on among most resident hunters. Currently less than 5,000 bear hunters are Maine residents.”

Out-of-state hunters are given a license to hound, bait and trap bears to support the local economy because they can’t hunt a bear this way anywhere else. Vote yes on the statewide ballet initiative this November to ban the inhumane practices of bear hounding, baiting and trapping.

Vae Philbrick


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