ELLSWORTH — Bear hunters who rely on baiting, hounding and trapping are rejoicing: Maine voters appear to have rejected a ballot item that would have banned all three, despite strong support for the measure in several parts of the state — including some Hancock County towns.
Across the state, 52.5 percent of residents voted “no” on Question 1 and 47.5 voted “yes,” according to data collected by the Associated Press, with two-thirds of statewide precincts reporting by deadline.
Around Hancock County, however, the proposed ban was more popular, with 51 percent of county-wide voters supporting it and 49 percent against it.
A majority supported the ban in each Ellsworth voting precinct and most towns on Mount Desert Island and the Blue Hill Peninsula. But almost every other precinct rejected Question 1, with particularly strong opposition in towns such as Bucksport, Eastbrook, Mariaville, Orland and Dedham.
The campaigns for and against the proposed bans reached a fever pitch in the weeks leading up to the election, with supporters of Question 1 attacking the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for its active support of the measure.
Mainers rejected a similar ban in 2004. Such measures have passed in Colorado, Oregon and Washington state.