People Cry Out In Florida To Be Heard About The Bear Massacre of 2015

Here’s one letter to Senator Nelson that was sent and was only replied with a generic comment that said nothing.

October 28, 2015

Senator Nelson:

The slaughter of Florida’s Black Bears that transpired last Saturday and Sunday (Oct 24-25, 2015) can best be described as an unmitigated disaster. I have heard not one word from you about any position on this Black Bear Hunt. Frankly, I am no longer surprised by your lack of concern for what many Floridians hold dear to our hearts, namely protecting our native wildlife. I have written to you many times regarding many issues important to Floridians. I get a form letter thanking me for writing without any position taken by you. You have sold out the people of Florida. I suspect you plan to retire when your Senate term is up and are no longer concerned with what voters think or care about. I hope you are retiring since you are doing absolutely nothing to protect Florida.

Just in case you still have some conscience about defending Florida’s wildlife, here are some things for you to think about and perhaps do something about.

Are you aware that the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission (FWC) officially accepted public comments regarding the proposed bear hunt prior to their decision? 75% of 40,000 public comments received by FWC opposed the bear hunt. By all accounts and by a wide margin Floridian’s appear to wholeheartedly embrace the concept of compassionate conservation and are opposed to killing our black bears. Floridian’s have voted in favor of allocating money to preserve our native wildlife. We have a corrupt non-Floridian governor that cares naught about this state. It would take an entire book to lay out his egregious record.

Regarding our Black Bears, and without knowing the precise number of bears in Florida (the official study underway will not be completed until 2016) the FWC guesstimated there to be about 3,000 bears statewide. No one knows for certain. It is important to note that the Florida Black Bear was listed as endangered as recently as 2012. Many responsible conservationists strongly urged waiting until the study was completed, as did many responsible hunters who said they would not participate in this ill-advised hunt. The president of Florida’s primary hunting organization publicly refused to participate.

FWC stated they issued a total of 3,778 bear hunting permits, some to non-Florida residents. Does that strike you as a grossly high and irresponsible number considering 320 bears was the targeted maximum limit set? Hunters reportedly began taking aim throughout the state just before sunrise on Saturday, October 24. Within five minutes of the start of the bear hunt, one hunter had already shot a bear.

What we also know are the following reported breakdown numbers released by FWC staff (207 bears were killed in the Panhandle and Central Florida on Saturday, Oct 24 alone). Does that tell you something quite critical about the nature of this hunt? Many documented accounts from hunters was how easy it was to kill a bear, since bears had no fear of humans having been protected for 21 years. Many hunters joked about how naive the bears were. Does that give you a glimpse of the horrific picture millions of caring Floridians have? This was a slaughter in no uncertain terms; some media labeled it a genocide and rightly so. A laser beam is directed at Florida from all over the country and from around the world. Prior to the hunt, The New York Times wrote an opposing op-ed, as did the Huffington Post. Once again, Florida has ample reason to be ashamed of very bad policy and disastrous incompetence. Our precious black bears were in the cross hairs this time.

295 bears killed statewide as of Sunday Oct 25 (FWC numbers)
Bears Killed by REGION (FWC numbers)
East Panhandle – 112 (40 was the maximum allotted number set by FWC)
Central – 139 (100 was the maximum allotted number set by FWC)
North – 23
South – 21

All experts know that the actual number of bears killed was much higher than the officially released FWC numbers. A significant number of private lands across the state were open to hunters. We will likely never know the total number of bears killed. The entire population may have suffered irreversible damage. Reports from FWC officers and witnesses at the weigh stations stated that at least 1/3 of the dead bears were lactating females. Again, how does that strike you? Knowing that as many as 300 bear cubs (maybe more) are now orphaned and traumatized? Without their mother, most will die from lack of food and water or be killed by a coyote. Many of the killed females were pregnant.

Documented killing of bear cubs was reported at several weigh stations, cubs weighing far less than the required minimum of 100 lbs. As an example, one reported cub weighed 73 lbs., another weighed only 40 lbs., and there were more. One documented account was of a hunter stating he had to tear cubs away from their mother that he had shot. Are you getting some of the picture of this grossly mismanaged, immoral killing spree, wrought with criminal conduct? This was a failure and tragedy of astronomical proportions.

Millions of Floridians are in shock and mourning the loss of so many of our precious black bears, this amazing, unique subspecies of black bear found nowhere else. The reason they are dead? Primarily so trophy hunters, poorly named sportsmen could get their kicks.

Now, I ask you, Bill Nelson, a native Floridian, what are you going to do about this? You were elected by voters in Florida to represent the will of the people who have been paying your salary for decades. Six of the 7 FWC commissioners appointed by Gov. Rick Scott voted for this bear hunt and their agency’s upper level management including Director, Nick Wiley, are responsible for it. In my opinion, those 6 commissioners should be fired or at the very least relieved of their duties until an independent investigation into violations and possible criminal acts relating to this bear hunt is completed. Since this occurred on Gov. Scott’s watch and under the supervision of his FWC appointees, he should resign.

I request a written reply to this important issue from you. I do not want the usual form letter from your aide thanking me for my opinion and please do not ignore me again.

Sincerely,

Joan Davis
Palm Bay, Florida

People Cry Out In Florida To Be Heard About The Bear Massacre of 2015

Citizens React to Unjust Bear Hunt in Florida

 This appeared on a Facebook page and permission was given to share it.

I have been in Florida for just over three years, and what has brought me the most joy is the true beauty of the real Florida and the diverse wildlife, right here where I live, so close to the exact opposite, Disney World. I find it so hard to believe that when I came here bears were on the endangered list and now in just two days, they have hunted hundreds and hundreds of these beautiful creatures, way more than they are letting on with their official numbers since they don’t count the wounded that will die, the cubs that are orphaned and will probably die, those that were never turned in from private lands and hunters who were dishonest with their kills.
They didn’t even wait for the census to finish next year before deciding to exterminate so many , and by selling more permits than estimated bears in Florida basically set up a Black Friday type event with thousands of hunters out at one time, all intent on getting that bear.
Many true hunters were against this hunt, knowing it would be a massacre because these animals are not accustomed to being hurt by humans and are an easy target. In this case, science did not back up the hunt, but they refused to listen.
Many hunters had no such morals and reveled in the fact that they were so easy to kill. They killed many mothers that were lactating , cubs and very small bears. They baited the bears as well, preparing beforehand with cameras on their trees and bait. From tree stands they could easily kill a bear which had been accustomed to coming every day for the food they set out to bait them .They brought their children along to witness the carnage , there are many pictures of children posing with dead bears.
Nothing was ethical about this hunt, in the Eastern Panhandle area, they killed more than 3 times the quota they had laid out. Where we live, they surpassed their quota in one day and many hunters were so angry that they didn’t get to hunt for the two days since they had paid a measly $100 for the life of a bear. And mind you, the FWC said that they didn’t think that they would reach their quota in even a week of hunting since bears would be hard to find in the thick underbrush. They were warned, that like Georgia which killed off ten percent of the bear population in one day that this would not be the case and it would be easy in this terrain which is similar to Georgia’s. Instead they are spinning it to look like the fact so many bears were killed in a short space of time was because the bear population is thriving , trying to justify what they did, when in reality they set up an easy massacre selling twenty times more permits than the quota of bears. Now they state the funds will be used for bear management, a total farce as they could have so easily done the bear proof trash cans before resorting to this obvious trophy hunt.
As this short intelligent article by Rod Coronado, a brilliant man who has done much for the wolves and other wildlife of Wisconsin, and who came to observe this hunt,and who I was lucky enough to hear talk in person points out, this type of so called management doesn’t even work and can actually backfire.
People think that the bears had to be culled because they were proving to be a nuisance in neighborhoods but don’t realize that most of the killed bears were deep in the woods in public lands or private lands and few of the actual ‘nuisance’ bears would have been killed, and now there will be a lot of starving cubs which could provide even more of a nuisance.
The very next day after the hunt there was a picture of a bear eating someone’s trash in a neighborhood, which only serves to prove this point.
This problem could so easily have been solved with trash management, but the Florida Governor and FWC decided not to go that route.
I have learned a lot about darkness and evil in Florida over the last few days and now realize how much deeper this thing goes, with corruption at the highest levels of governance, land development deals,and hunters running the FWC.
Coming from Trinidad, I am not ignorant to how much corruption goes on at very level including hunting, our own national bird, the Scarlet Ibis was badly hunted, with government ministers buying the meat illegally. The national bird of Barbados is the pelican, ask anyone when’s the last time you saw a pelican there.
Surprisingly too, though they plan to hunt the endangered Florida panther next, I find that I have seen an outpouring of horror about this hunt from people in the Caribbean, England ,Australia and Canada, but not a whole lot of voices from Florida, which is sad since it is their beautiful land and animals being destroyed.
Perhaps Florida will eventually turn into one big concrete jungle, every place looking identical as the next, very sad and will happen if people do not find out how to go about supporting the changing of laws to protect their land and wildlife.
I know it’s a long battle, but I will continue to be a voice for the beautiful black bears.

Citizens React to Unjust Bear Hunt in Florida

Letter to Bears

Dear Florida black bears,

Today you woke in the Florida jungles to routine, perhaps your cubs, and a life that you know. Many of you have lived for years shielded under the canopy’s of palms and oaks deep in the heart of your Florida home. Perhaps you are aware that humans have encroached on your habitat and we have hit you with our cars. Still, you come into our neighborhoods that you once called home, when we foolishly leave our garage behind that teases your hunger. Because of this, humans will kill you starting today. We will shatter your quiet existance and pierce your bodies with our selfish hunger, to call your parts our trophy. Please know it’s not all of us. Know that we have fought tirelessly to protect your families and to resolve conflicts in peace to un-listening ears. Know in your final dark moments that you did not die in vain, and your voices will continue to be heard.
Anonymous~

Letter to Bears