E. Kelley: Selectmen got it wrong

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A few weeks ago, the Wilton Board of Selectmen made statements to the press opposing the referendum on bear hunting. They also made false claims about bear biology and the economic impact of the bear hunting referendum.

The selectmen making those statements are out of touch with the facts, as well as out of touch with the opinion of many Wilton residents. I will be voting “yes” on Question 1, as will everyone I know in Wilton.

The bear referendum is going to prevent bears from becoming habituated to human foods, which is safer for people and safer for bears.

It is also going to prevent increased reproduction capacity of the bears because, as studies have proven, bears consuming high calorie human foods (such as piles of doughnuts) start reproducing sooner and have more cubs.

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The referendum is going to stop the use of leg traps; Maine is the only state still permitting those outmoded devices.

And, the referendum will stop the use of dogs for hounding bears, which will be saving communities money in the number of lost, unwanted, abandoned and unintentional breeding of those dogs that wind up in animal shelters.

The referendum will not be altering the number of bear permits granted every year. The same number of bears can be hunted every year. They will just have to be hunted as sportsmen would for several other game animals — by a hunter’s own skill and prowess at securing a clear shot.

Elizabeth Kelley, Wilton

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