Governor Speaks Out Against Looming Anti-Hunting Ballot Issue
Maine Gov. John Baldacci has declared opposition to an anti-bear hunting ballot issue. Sportsmen in the state continue to organize a defensive campaign to protect the hunt.
During a recent speech before a crowd of Maine sportsmen, Gov. Baldacci urged voters to oppose a referendum proposal to ban bear hunting with bait, dogs or traps in Maine. He said Maine citizens should trust the wildlife biologists who maintain that hunting over bait is needed to manage the state's bear population.
“I feel very strongly about it, I think misrepresentations are being made,” said Gov. Baldacci. He is concerned that the effort to pass the ballot issue is being led by out-of-state groups that want to ban all hunting, fishing and trapping.
The governor echoes the sentiment of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, the Sportsmen’s Alliance of Maine (SAM) and other sportsmen’s groups who are working to defeat the proposal.
The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, through its National Bear Hunting Defense Task Force, has contributed $40,000 to the campaign to date. In particular, the Michigan Bear Hunters Association, Upper Peninsula Bear Houndsmen Association and the Wisconsin Bear Hunters Association have all contributed significantly to the task force.
“National animal rights groups like the Humane Society of the United States and Fund for Animals come into states and manipulate wildlife management via the ballot box,” said Bud Pidgeon, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance president. “Using the ballot box, animal rights groups outlawed bear hunting in several states from coast to coast and Maine is one of the next targets.”
The anti’s have been circulating petitions and spreading rhetoric to ensure the measure is placed on Maine’s 2004 election ballot.
Anti-hunters are also working in Alaska to place a measure on next year’s ballot to ban bear hunting over bait.
“Anti-hunters are not content with robbing sportsmen of a single part of a state’s outdoor heritage,” added Pidgeon. “The attempts to outlaw bear hunting in Maine and Alaska are the first steps to satisfy the antis’ ultimate goal - the elimination of all hunting. Historically, when anti’s defeat sportsmen in an issue, they return to the state to continue eroding the outdoor lifestyle and traditional way of life.”
The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance has committed to working with sportsmen in Maine and Alaska to defeat these issues. The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance is helping SAM to develop campaign and fundraising plans in Maine and is also working with sportsmen’s groups in Alaska. Conservation clubs must immediately get on board with these important campaigns to create the solid grassroots activist network and raise the funds needed to defeat the issues.