Sportsman's Alliance of Maine
205 Church Hill Road, Suite 1, Augusta, ME 04330
Dear SAM Member -
Please contact your legislator to encourage their support on LD 1303 which is hitting the Senate and House floor sooner than we expected!
Link to contact legislator Please email as well as call their office and cell phone numbers that are listed.
Please see below SAM's handout to all the legislators on LD 1303 as well as David's recent article in the Bangor Daily News.
June 11, 2013
Please Support the Majority Report, (12-1) on LD, 1303, Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Establish the Right to Hunt and Fish.
It is always a solemn event when considering changing the Constitution, but our organization believes it is appropriate given the circumstances surrounding this legislation. A very wealthy, powerful, out of state organization, the Humane Society of the United States is poised to initiate another bear referendum that could, if passed mean the end of our hunting heritage in Northern, Eastern and Western Maine.
The Humane Society of the United States, (not associated with area humane society animal shelters) is an anti-hunting, anti-sportsmen group with a $100 million annual budget and $200 million in assets. It thrives on bringing litigation and anti-hunting referendums into small states like Maine. It raises money from all over the world and then uses the money to stop hunting in small, poor states like Maine. It led the last failed bear hunting ban referendum 10 years ago.
They use bullying and misleading tactics to achieve their ultimate goal of banning all hunting. Contrary to what they tell you in the halls about LD 1303 and that they support fair chase bear hunting, this is what their website says:
"As a matter of principle, the HSUS opposes the hunting of any living creature for fun, trophy or sport because of the animal trauma, suffering and death. A humane society should not condone the killing of any sentient creature in the name of sport."
Other misleading claims by HSUS
"This bill would take away voter rights on hunting and fishing issues."-False
Citizens could still bring People's Vetoes of all legislation related to Fishing and Hunting.
Citizens could still use the referendum on a wide variety of hunting and fishing policy.
The only thing the referendum could not be used for is to take away the right to hunt and fish.
HSUS claims, "Maine is the first in the country to consider such a Constitutional change"-False
Michigan is considering restricting their referendum process in response to referendum efforts by the HSUS related to protecting wolves.
Idaho is also considering changes to their referendum because of efforts against rural farming communities.
If LD 1303 is unsuccessful, HSUS has said they will bring a new bear referendum targeting hounding, trapping and baiting. These three management tools are the only practical means available for wildlife biologists at Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to manage bears because of our heavily wooded dense forests. Given the bear population has increased in the last ten years by 67% to over 30,000 and bear complaints have over doubled, (mostly in the southern portion of the state) while bear hunters have declined by 24%. HSUS could be setting up a situation that is dangerous to Maine citizens and detrimental to bears.
Maine is a poor rural state without the ability to counter the money and influence wielded by HSUS. Our only option is to change our Constitution to place Maine people on an even playing field. Without the protections proposed in LD 1303, rural Maine's economy and the deep and cherished traditions of hunting and fishing will be taken, one HSUS referendum at a time.
Please Support LD 1303
David Trahan, Executive Director
Sportsman's Alliance of Maine
'Bear knuckled' politics comes to Maine
By David Trahan, Special to the BDN
Posted June 05, 2013, at 12:54 p.m.
Brian Swartz | BDN
David Trahan of Waldoboro is the executive director of the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine. Buy Photo
What do you do when faced with a bully that is ruthless, bigger than you and has more money than you can imagine? In Maine, we don't back down. We get some help and fight.
The Humane Society of the United States, (not associated with area humane society animal shelters) is a deep-pocketed, out-of-state, anti-hunting, anti-sportsmen group with a $100 million annual budget and $200 million in assets. It thrives on bringing litigation and anti-hunting referendums into small states such as Maine. It raises money from all over the world and then use the money to stop hunting in small, poor states such as Maine. It led the last failed bear hunting ban referendum 10 years ago, and the organization is laying the groundwork for another.
This session, HSUS backed legislation, LD 1474, introduced by Rep. Denise Harlow, D-Portland, and presented on May 10, which among several things attempted to ban trapping bear and hunting bear with dogs. In an unusual move, upon completion of the public hearing, the Committee on Inland Fisheries and Wildlife moved immediately into work session and unanimously voted to kill the bill. This was good news for sportsmen, but what hasn't been told is what happened to Don Kleiner, executive director of the Maine Professional Guides Association, and me just a few days prior to the public hearing.
Five HSUS lobbyists, including their Washington liaison, summoned Don and me to an impromptu meeting in the closed state office building cafeteria. As an experienced ex-state legislator, I have seen the dark side of partisan negotiations, but even I was shocked by what I heard next: "We have $3 million dollars, polling data that says we can win a bear referendum in Maine, and if SAM will support LD 1474, HSUS will not submit a referendum to ban trapping and hounding. If SAM doesn't support LD 1474, HSUS will add baiting to their bill and go to referendum, and Mainers would likely lose baiting, hounding and trapping."
They went on to say if they win, they will continue to push for more referendums in Maine.
Kleiner then asked, "Why bears?" The answer: "We oppose all predator hounding." If HSUS is successful in banning bear hounding, trapping and baiting, you can rest assured there will be further attempts at banning all predator-hounding methods, as well as many other referendums of their choosing.
Why would HSUS try such a bold extortion play? In the past, HSUS has had the reputation of an extreme fringe organization and, frankly, was not taken seriously. In the last two years, though, it has transformed itself by hiring the powerful and politically well-connected Portland law firm of Verrill Dana and hiring new lobbyists to run the organization. In addition, according to Verrill Dana lobbyists, HSUS has been been discussing its legislation with outdoor blogger George Smith.
Smith has written in his blog and stated publicly that he believes it would be difficult to mount a fundraising and organizational campaign against HSUS and that the sportsmen community is economically crippled. Perhaps HSUS, with his unwitting help, sees an opportunity in Maine to strike while the sportsmen community is vulnerable? Well, let me set the record straight: Reports of our demise have been greatly exaggerated.
What can we do in the face of such ruthless tactics, wealth and influence? Organize, fight and make noise.
SAM will start this defense of our Maine way of life by supporting House Republican Leader Kenneth Fredette of Newport, who has introduced bipartisan legislation, LD 1303. LD 1303 proposes a constitutional amendment that would enshrine the rights of Maine residents to hunt and fish, forever. The legislation would take away the ability of wealthy, out-of-state interests to manipulate our referendum process to ban the harvesting of wildlife as a management tool but still allow the Legislature and the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife to regulate and reasonably manage wildlife.
Our organization will not wait for HSUS to announce its latest referendum. We are already organizing outdoor organizations and those that care about our outdoor future.
I have spent 50 years living in the state of Maine, and in that time I have watched the rich and deep traditions of hunting and fishing slowly erode. Consequently, those who would ban our traditions and heritage have filled the void. Sportsmen must wake up and pay attention to those manipulating our lawmaking and referendum systems. There is a new player at our political door. It is clothed like a sheep but is as ruthless as a wolf.
David Trahan is executive director of the Sportsman's Alliance of Maine