The pending closure of the Verso Mill in Bucksport is devastating news for that area’s economy, given the loss of some 550 jobs. Yet on Tuesday, Nov. 4, Mainers will have a chance to eliminate some 900 jobs and an industry which contributes roughly $60 million to Maine’s economy by voting “Yes” on Question 1, effectively eliminating bear hunting by banning the only effective methods of doing so.

Contrary to what the proponents of Question 1 would like Maine voters to believe, baiting, hounding and trapping are not cruel and inhumane, and are not a lazy person’s sport. Much hard work goes into those hunting methods and the success rate of somewhere just south of 30 percent attests to the fact that it isn’t a turkey shoot.

All three methods also allow hunters to determine if the bear is a cub or a sow with cubs before taking a shot, which, if taken, is usually well placed to ensure a humane kill.

Maine has about the highest population of bears in the lower 48 states and a bear management program that is second to none.

A “No” vote on Question 1 will save Maine jobs, a multi-million dollar industry that doesn’t require one red cent of taxpayer funding to survive, and preserve a Maine tradition.

Gary Savard, Lewiston

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