Magazine article State Legislatures

Bears in the Crosshairs

Magazine article State Legislatures

Bears in the Crosshairs

Article excerpt

Results of November ballot measures on hunting were scattershot.

Maine, Mississippi and Alabama came down on the side of tradition and voted to strengthen hunting rights. Michigan, however, said "no" to wolf hunts in two separate measures. The future of wolf hunting there is unclear, though, because a new law, passed before the ballot measures and effective this spring, may make the measures moot.

Maine

Maine's vote to continue to allow bear hunters to use bait, traps and dogs was a victory for hunters and wildlife managers who argued such tools are necessary to control the state's 30,000 bears. The sport added $53 million to Maine's economy in 2013, according to a report by the Maine Office of Tourism and Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. Ninety-three percent of hunters who killed a bear last year used bait, traps or dogs, according to the Bangor Daily News. Opponents of the measure, Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, called such tactics cruel and unsporting. Of the 32 states with bear hunting, Maine alone allows the use of bait, traps and dogs. Seven states--Alaska, Idaho, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, Utah and Wisconsin--allow dogs and bait.

Michigan

By rejecting two ballot measures, Michigan voted to protect wolves from hunters and to maintain voter input on decisions about endangered species. Advocates argued hunting is needed to keep wolves from attacking livestock and hunting dogs in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. …

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