Presenting a logical argument against the Bear referendum

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For months now, outdoor writers and sportsmen organizations have penned a lot of compelling arguments against the bear referendum. It has been said that these efforts being made in a sporting publication or on the outdoor page of a newspaper are akin to “preaching to the choir.”

That may be so. As one of those writers who is, in heart and in soul, opposed to the bear referendum, and to the bogus, contrived methodology of its proponents, my hope has been that folks who treasure our bear hunting heritage will make use of some of our anti-referendum points. It is the Maine voter, who may be on the fence, who needs to hear our arguments presented in a clear, calm and logical way. Getting the message to these undecided voters in the final days before the November vote is the challenge!

Which of our arguments are the most useful and compelling?

That is a good question. Most of them are grounded in logic, science and common sense. The one that resonates the most with me, however, is this: Why on Earth would any confident, self-respecting Maine citizen tolerate a monied Washington, D.C. lobbyist organization sticking its nose in our business and telling us how we should live our lives? This is more Big Brotherism in a clever, emotionally seductive disguise, a mere variant of an unwanted, expanding Federal presence and blatant usurpation of state’s rights.

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It should be this simple.

A man from Missouri, in a letter to the editor in the Bangor Daily News, recently expanded upon this point with conviction and eloquence. His words merit some more ink. Surely, you will agree, and perhaps share his thoughts with your friends and neighbors who vote. The writer is Mike Messick from Kansas City, Mo.

“It has been with great pleasure that I have learned of the outdoor traditions and opportunities of the Maine woods and streams, as I have driven around the state and canoed the Allagash Waterway. It is discouraging to see Maine infested with the hubris of those who intend to impose their values on those who do not share their opinions and beliefs.

Those who would force the bear hunters to live according to the values that they cannot agree with are not so much different than the Islamic fundamentalists who push their dogma onto those who think otherwise. If this seems like an extreme example, recall that is was Thomas Jefferson who wrote that the majority must not be allowed to tyrannize the minority with which it disagrees. The animal rights sentimentalists who feel that their opinions are ‘just’ because they are ‘deeply held beliefs’ cannot convince, so they will constrain. Sentimentality is a poor substitute for science.”

The author is editor of the Northwoods Sporting Journal. He is also a Maine Guide, co-host of a weekly radio program “Maine Outdoors” heard Sundays at 7 p.m. on The Voice of Maine News-Talk Network (WVOM-FM 103.9, WQVM-FM 101.3) and former information officer for the Maine Dept. of Fish and Wildlife. His e-mail address is vpaulr@tds.net. He has two books “A Maine Deer Hunter’s Logbook” and his latest, “Backtrack.”

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