Since the beginning of an effort to put Maine’s bear hunting practices in front of the state’s voters began, many have said that supporters would have little trouble gathering the 57,277 signatures needed to place the issue on the ballot in November.
That wasn’t a bold prediction: During an identical effort to ban the use of hounds, traps and bait while bear hunting, supporters of the referendum effort amassed more than 97,000 certified signatures during a campaign that ultimately failed by a 53 percent to 47 percent vote.
Nonetheless, that prediction appears to have come true.
On Tuesday I received an announcement from the group that has organized the signature-drive effort. The group has announced that it has the signatures in hand, and plans to deliver them to Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap at 3 p.m. on Monday.