FRYEBURG – Fryeburg Fish and Game Association members heard Gene Lagomarsino of Maine’s Fish and Wildlife Council speak on the bear hunting referendum recently.

Lagomarsino said an analysis of the bill, LD1938, shows that it is worse than being a bill on “fair bear hunting”; it has the hallmarks of being the first step toward banning all hunting in Maine.

Lagomarsino said the preponderance of monies raised in support of LD1939 have been raised by out-of-state groups known for their anti-hunting activities – foremost, the national Humane Society and the Fund for Animals.

The speaker said there are several considerations that need to be made by all Mainers when they vote. Not only will the passing of the bill eliminate a legal method of controlling the bear population, but it will decimate a large portion of the economy that involves the guiding industry, stores, gas stations, hotels and restaurants.

He pointed out that advocates for the referendum have no facts to support their position that the bear population will not increase if hunters cannot utilize the current legal methods and that New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts have increased bear populations.

Phil Bozenhart of Inland Fishery and Wildlife spoke on bear biology, indicating that the bear population in Maine was doing well at about 23,000 and that 3,500 to 4,000 bear must be taken annually in order to control the population.

Locally it was there were 400 bear complaints and three nuisance bears were captured in Bridgton village.

Following Lagomarsino’s presentation, President Jim Holt called the May meeting to order. The association voted to contribute $500 to the Maine Fish and Wildlife Council.

A range clean-up was scheduled and the problems of keeping the range in good condition were discussed. The association voted to purchase a set of silhouette targets and to encourage the sport of silhouette shooting.

Members indicated an interest in again sponsoring a 12-hour NRA personal protection course taught by Jeff Weinstein. Information on silhouette shooting and another course will be announced by early summer.

For more information on the association, write the group at POB 525, Fryeburg, ME 04037 or call 935-4655.

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