Legislature punts on bear bag limits and seasons

A bill giving DIF&W authority to establish bear seasons and bag limits drew a lengthy debate at the legislature’s IFW Committee. The bill got lots of discussion and debate.

Rep John Martin expressed concern that, if the committee gave the department this authority, including the possibility that bear trapping would be expanded, it would provoke another ballot measure to ban bear trapping.

DIF&W Commissioner Judy Camuso told committee members the agency is concerned about the growing population of bears, and their goal would be to stabilize that population. She said they would consider increasing the opportunity for trappers and hunters to kill two bears. The current limit is one bear.

She also said they would continue to limit trappers to a single bear trap, and would limit hunters to shooting only one bear a day.

The committee noted they have another bill to lower bear hunting and trapping fees, which will be considered soon.

After a long discussion, the committee decided to carry the bill over to next year’s session, to give the department time to create a definitive proposal.  


George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.