The Maine Supreme Judicial Court has upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit by a hunting reform group against the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife about the agency’s role in defeating proposed changes to the state’s bear hunting rules.

The reform group, Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, sued the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife shortly before a November 2014 election, in an attempt to prohibit the department’s staff members from actively campaigning against a ballot measure seeking to ban the use of bait, dogs and traps to hunt bears.

Maine voters defeated a ballot measure in November 2014, and Superior Court Justice Joyce Wheeler afterward dismissed the lawsuit as moot.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court agreed with Wheeler’s ruling in its unanimous decision issued Thursday.

“It is unlikely that the question of the department’s authority will imminently and repeatedly recur,” Chief Justice Leigh Saufley wrote in the seven-page decision. “In addition, it is far from certain that if the question were to recur, the matter could not be fully litigated before an election took place.”

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