The recent letter from New Jersey resident Richard O’Brien, who vacations in Maine, urges Mainers to vote yes on the bear referendum. It is a perfect example of why a purely emotional reaction to our bear hunting regulations flies in the face of our wildlife biologists’ scientific approach to controlling the growth and health of our black bear population.

Bear hunting in Maine has little to do with O’Brien’s wish for “fair chase hunting.” Without baiting, hounding and trapping, our 30,000 bear population would soon be out of control and serious confrontations with the public far more numerous. In 2013, 93 percent of the Maine bear harvest was by baiting, hounding and trapping. Still hunting accounted for only 7 percent. To eliminate those methods of bear population control would be a disaster.

New Jersey’s six-day bear hunting season, often protested by the radical animals rights crowd, is designed to control its 2,800 bear population. In 2013, the New Jersey bear harvest amounted to a disappointing 251. Confrontations have increased, and tragically last Sunday, a young Rutgers student hiking in a New Jersey state forest, was killed by a bear.

Thousands of Mainers and our summer visitors hike our woods every year. To risk their exposure to an out-of-control black bear population and its potential for tragic consequences, is unconscionable. That’s why thinking Mainers are going to vote no on the bear referendum this November.

Kenneth A. Marden


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