AUGUSTA — The Maine Legislature has upheld a proposal to reduce the penalties for hunting deer over bait.

Gov. Paul LePage vetoed the change to the state’s hunting laws. The bill is designed to reduce the penalty for a second-time offender to a two-year hunting license suspension. The Legislature had previously passed a change to increase the penalty to permanent ineligibility to obtain a license.

Both houses of the Legislature unanimously approved an override, keeping the reduced penalty. Republican Sen. Paul Davis of Sangerville says the baiting law applies only to hunters who don’t have the ability to buy land and grow crops that attract deer. He says such a severe penalty was unfair to those hunters.

LePage, also a Republican, says Maine needs a stronger deterrent to the use of deer bait.

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