Hear the ethics debate that should have happened during the bear referendum – but didn’t

deer-baitingThanks to Bob Duchesne and Matt Dunlap, you can now hear the discussion of hunting ethics that, in Bob’s words, “should have happened during the bear referendum – but didn’t.”

Secretary of State Matt Dunlap was the guest on Bob’s Saturday morning radio show recently, specifically to discuss hunting ethics. Matt is a former legislator who chaired the Inland Fisheries and Wildlife Committee, and is also an avid hunter and angler who is often joined in the field by his daughter Emily.

Bob was well known as a Bangor region award-winning radio host. When he retired from that job he got elected to the legislature. After four terms there, he got termed out and started his Saturday radio show. He is also the state’s leading birding guide and the author of The Maine Birding Trail, a terrific guide book that Linda and I use in our travels throughout the state. We often leave a copy as a gift at Inns where we’ve stayed.

Linda was listening with me to Bob’s show with Matt when she noted that Matt is very knowledgeable about the topic, and an impressive authority. I can only hope this doesn’t go to his head! But it’s true. Not only does he do a superb job as Maine’s Secretary of State, but he’s one of our best outdoor leaders.

Hunting Ethics

As Matt noted on the show, “ethics is what we do when no one is watching.” Nonhunters get mixed up about this, thinking that the conservation measures taken by Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife are really about the ethics of hunting. That’s wrong.

baiting signBob Humphrey, in his December 28 Sunday Telegram, explored this issue in a very informative column. “The various hunting methods employed by hunters around the country provide an interesting study in hunting culture,” wrote Bob. “Hunters sometime use quite different methods for the same game in different regions. Sometimes it’s a matter of circumstances and conditions, but local customs often determine what’s legal and therefore ethical.”

Bob gives some interesting examples, including baiting of game animals. “In Maine it’s allowed for bears and predators but not for deer,” he reports. “In West Virginia you can bait deer but not bears or turkeys… Some states now allow bait in developed areas but not in rural areas. In Texas, bait is not only legal for deer hunting but represents the principle tactic.”

The Radio Show

You can hear Bob and Matt discuss hunting ethics, a proposed Constitutional amendment to protect hunting opportunities, and more, here.



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.