Maine’s bear population has increased significantly in the last few years and is now estimated to be 35,000.
The Fish and Wildlife Department considered several strategies to increase the annual harvest, and discussed them with the legislatures Fish and Wildlife Committee, but any decision was postponed until next year.
The research has become important because many bear hunters use human food as bait to attract bears to their stands.
Wally Jacubas, DIFW wildlife biologist, told Associated Press reporter Patrick Whittle that they would like to know if human food is contributing to the increased bear population.
“This is a good time to put aside, reevaluate and get some opinions from some other scientists. We’re still going to make this a priority…. What we’re trying to do is minimize its growth rate so the bear population doesn’t become a real nuisance problem,” said Jacubas.
Bears have already become a problem in some areas of the state, but I think it’s going to be a real challenge for DIFW to figure out how to increase the bear harvest. One choice they’re considering is allowing each hunter to shoot two bears. I really doubt that most hunters will want to do that.