This is Skip Trask newest update.
Good afternoon -
The public hearing on LD 1635, An Act To Prohibit Recreational Bear Trapping, will be held at 1 PM on Tuesday, May 8th, in the Androscoggin Room at the Augusta Civic Center. This bill could represent the beginning of the end for all trapping in Maine.
This bill was submitted by WAM, a Bangor-based animal protection group. WAM and other animal protection groups are going "all out" to get this bill passed. If they are successful, they plan to go after hunting bears with dogs and bear baiting. WAM has recently stated publicly that they oppose all recreational trapping. These same people, under another name, eliminated the coyote control program with threats of a lawsuit. WAM is currently working cooperatively with the Animal Protection Institute on the lawsuit filed in Bangor to eliminate all land trapping in areas frequented by eagles and lynx. WAM is desperate for any kind of victory in their efforts to ban activities with which they don't agree - a victory on the bear trapping bill would build their confidence, increase their membership and generate the donations necessary to finance their future attacks on hunting and trapping. We cannot let that happen!
Trappers and other sportsmen must defeat this bill. We must fill the Civic Center on May 8th! WAM is bragging that they will have 500 people there. Although I question if they can generate that kind of turnout, we must generate a bigger "show of force" than they do. This bill is going to be very difficult to defeat. If we don't send a strong enough message on the 8th, the bill will almost certainly be enacted. Our bear trapping will be done and other activities that we enjoy will be much more vulnerable. Please come to the Civic Center on the 8th. Get there at noon if possible. The MTA will be passing out orange MTA decals to all our supporters. We have 1000 decals, and we'd love to use them all! Other sportsmen's organizations are also calling on their members to attend the hearing, but trappers and guides have always turned up at these types of hearings in the greatest numbers, and we need for you to do it again.
It would be great if some of you could come to the hearing prepared to say a few words about why this bill should be defeated. Explain how the bill would be detrimental to you or your business. If you plan to speak, plan to be very brief - two minutes is plenty (if a lot of people show up to testify, speakers may be instructed to limit their comments to a couple of minutes). I'll try to be the first to testify - I'll be speaking officially for both the MTA and the MPGA. That will set the stage for others to speak in opposition to the bill. If you plan to speak, I'd encourage you to know what you're going to say ahead of time - write it down. The more people that testify, the better, but KEEP IT BRIEF. Long drawn out testimony irritates legislators, and they loose interest.
I'm a little concerned that it might be difficult on a nice day in early May to get the kind of turnout we need on this bill. For planning purposes (and also to give me some peace of mind), it would be great if you could email me quickly and let me know that you are planning to attend the hearing,whether or not you plan to testify and how many folks you will be bringing with you.
The work session on this bill is scheduled for 1 PM on Thursday, May 10th, in the F&W Committee Room (Room 206), in the Cross Office Building - the large grey building directly west of the State Capital Building. We also need to fill that room with trappers, guides and other sportsmen on the 10th, but it is much more important that you attend the public hearing.
Thank you in advance for your help and support on this critical issue. Our future is at stake!
Be it enacted by the People of the State of Maine as follows:
§ 12261. Trapping bear prohibited
1. Unlawful trapping of bear. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person may not catch bear in a trap. A person who violates this subsection commits a Class E crime.
2. Research and public safety. The commissioner shall establish rules concerning bear trapping. These rules must provide for trapping bear only for purposes of scientific research, animal damage control or public safety. Rules established pursuant to this section are routine technical rules as defined in Title 5, chapter 375, subchapter 2-A.
This bill abolishes the open season on trapping bears. It allows for the trapping of bear only for scientific research, animal damage control or public safety.