BDN to stream bear referendum debate Thursday

Posted Sept. 03, 2014, at 2:10 p.m.

A town-hall-style debate is planned for Thursday evening that will explore bear hunting methods, the topic of Question 1 on November’s ballot.

The Bangor Daily News and WGME CBS13 in Portland are teaming up to host the debate, which will be filmed at CBS13’s studio. The debate will be shown live at 7:30 p.m. on bangordailynews.com and at wgme.com. It will also be broadcast on CBS13 on a future date.

Question 1 seeks to ban the use of bait, hounds and traps by Maine bear hunters. A “yes” vote would ban those methods, all of which are allowed at this time. A “no” vote would allow hunters to continue to use those methods while hunting bears.

Four panelists will participate in the debate.

Speaking in favor of the referendum will be Daryl DeJoy, executive director of the Wildlife Alliance of Maine, and Anita Coupe of Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting.

Speaking against the proposal will be Judy Camuso, wildlife division director for the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, and James Cote, campaign manager of NO on 1!/Save Maine’s Bear Hunt.

This year marks the second time that the state’s bear hunting practices have been challenged by citizen-initiated referendum. In 2004, the same three methods of bear hunting were the subject of a failed referendum. That year, voters defeated the measure by a 53 percent to 47 percent vote.

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