I am calling to action the proponents of fair bear hunting in Maine and hoping they will join me in Augusta to demonstrate the support the Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting campaign has from Mainers across the state.

Soon, a hearing will be scheduled with the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee, but with very little notice.

Nearly 80,000 Mainers signed the petition, demanding long-overdue protections for bears and the hounds forced to chase them. Legislators should respond accordingly and pass the measure outright.

Baiting, hounding and trapping are unsporting and unnecessary practices. I am deeply saddened that this wonderful state still allows such horror.

Baiting involves recklessly dumping human junk food into Maine’s pristine wilderness, habituating bears to human smells and artificially growing their population by supplementing their natural food with high-calorie junk.

Hounding too often pits hounds against the bear they have exhausted and distressed in chase, often resulting in serious injuries to bear and dogs.

Trapping is so unnecessary that Maine is the last state in the country to still allow it for recreation. Bears can suffer in excruciating pain for 24 hours in traps, so desperate to escape that they chew their own paws off.

I feel strongly that those practices must be prohibited.

Patricia Keene, Auburn

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