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.

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Citizens React to Unjust Bear Hunt in Florida

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