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Proposed IFW rule would restrict bear feeding

The Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IFW) has received a petition to restrict the feeding of bears with the required number of signatures (150+) from John Glowa, president of the Maine Wolf Coalition. See Bear feeding rulemaking proposal and fact sheet.

No public hearing has been scheduled, but comments will be accepted until Friday, June 5, on the proposal to amend Chapter 16 rules to establish a bear feeding season, establish a bear feeding permit and set limits on the number of bear feeding permits issued annually.

This is a proposed rule change, not something that the Legislature will take up. It will be reviewed and either approved or denied by the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Advisory Council. Our thanks to Don Kleiner, Executive Director, Maine Professional Guides Association, which strongly opposes the bear-feeding petition, who shared an email with more information.

Below are some initial talking points, but please share your thoughts on what should be included in MFPC’s comments with Roberta Scruggs.

  • The proposed rule would reduce would reduce bear-feeding permits annual so that they are extinguished in 2029. This is arbitrary and removes IFW experts from deciding how to manage bear.
  • The state counts on its professional wildlife biologist to maintain species populations. They have considered this argument several times before and determined it inappropriate. This is a complex issue and requires expertise. Let state biologists do their jobs.
  • This rule would set a dangerous precedent, undermine the the state’s rigorous permitting procedures and add another level of risk to investing in the state.
  • Regardless of intent, this isn’t good policy. “Ballot box biology” sums it up well.

Written comments on the proposed rule should be sent to Becky Orff, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, 1 State House Station, 284 State Street, Augusta, ME 04333, 207-287-5202.

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