"Maine held its last spring black bear hunt back in 1981, and since then no state east of the Mississippi has offered a spring hunt. That is changing next spring when the Passamaquoddy Indian tribe opens its tribal lands to the first spring black bear hunt in Maine in 26 years.
"The hunt is made possible because of the Maine Indian Claims Act of 1980. In that claim, the Passamaquoddy Tribe was provided about 150,000 acres in 13 townships primarily in the eastern and northwestern regions of the state to serve as reservations and `tribal' lands. In the process, the tribe received complete internal authority within those areas, including matters concerning wildlife management. The tribe created its own fish and game department shortly thereafter. Bill Nicholas, a member of the Passamaquoddy tribe himself, has served as chief warden there for about 10 years.
"According to Nicholas, the spring hunt will take place between May 15 and June 15, 2006. Hunters will be allowed one bear of either sex. Once a bear has been taken, hunters will be issued a transportation tag and all necessary papers. Hunters must be outfitted and accommodated by experienced guides and outfitters specifically licensed by the tribe to hunt on Indian lands. Licensed outfitters must be registered with the state of Maine and have several years of experience in the bear hunting business to be licensed by the tribe. Interested hunters will have to book directly through the outfitter or guide. Services and accommodations will vary depending upon the area and outfitter, but will include housekeeping and American plan-type packages. Package prices will vary. Hunting licenses will be issued by the Passamaquoddy Fish and Game Department directly to the licensed outfitters and guides. The license cost will be $300 and may or may not be included in the cost of........(continued)