AUGUSTA, Maine — Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting, the coalition that is seeking a referendum that would ban hunting bears over bait or with hounds or traps, has announced that it will hold a series of kickoff rallies around the state in its effort to begin gathering 80,000 signatures that are needed in order for the question to be placed before voters on the November 2014 ballot.

On Tuesday, organizers will begin that signature drive with an event at 7 p.m. at Governor Hill Mansion in Augusta.

Mainers for Fair Bear Hunting opposes three of the state’s bear hunting methods, claiming that the methods are cruel and unsporting.