Bear hunting with bait, dogs, traps will stay legal in Maine because voters rejected a ballot initiative to ban the methods.
The referendum went to the polls Tuesday. Animal rights advocates and others pushed for the law change, which they said would have eliminated cruel hunting practices. Hunting groups, outfitters and the state Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife campaigned hard against the referendum.
Bait is typically sugary human food such as doughnuts and accounts for about four-fifths of the state's bear hunt. Had the initiative passed, hunting bears using so-called "fair chase" methods would have remained legal.
Maine's bear population is up about 30 percent from 10 years ago. State wildlife officials say the hunting methods are needed to control the population.