A group that wants to ban bear hunting using bait, dogs and traps is officially launching its campaign to garner support to put the proposed referendum on ballot.
Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting is holding a kick-off rally in Augusta on Tuesday.
The group recently announced that it plans to gather 80,000 signatures to put the referendum on the November 2014 ballot. It says that bear baiting is cruel and unnecessary.
A coalition opposed to the referendum includes Republican Gov. Paul LePage’s administration and outdoor groups like the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine.
Opponents of the referendum say bear baiting is an essential tool in controlling Maine’s bear population and ensuring the safety of Maine residents.
Maine voters rejected a similar measure in 2004.