Wake Up Florida – FWC isn’t who they use to be!

It’s time for ALL citizens to take action to save the wildlife of Florida!

I hate to say it but most of Florida is asleep when it comes to what is going on in our state with regards to our wildlife. They don’t know about the corruption of the agency that we have always trusted to protect it and how they have become an elite hunt club.

The politics behind the FWC run through branches of the government from the Governor who is a hunter and seeks to have every inch of Florida developed to the FWC board of commissioners whom he hand picked, except for two. They are big land developers, ranchers, lawyers, road builders, political high rollers, and most hunt. One commissioner/rancher is even trying to have the Florida Panther de-listed so she can kill them off from her ranch.

Most people do not hunt. So why is this all so powerful agency spending our tax dollars to promote it? Don’t we have a say? Well, not as long as you remain silent you don’t. The FWC holds five meetings a year in various locations in the state. At these meetings, the public is invited to say something. The hunters have done this for many years. So now that we know it’s time that we showed up to these meetings and had our say.
It’s going to take a mighty roar to stop this out of control, biased and blood thirsty agency and the power behind it to stop.


The recent bear hunt brought to light a how corrupt things have gotten with the FWC. Things just didn’t make sense about the bear hunt. Why would they insist on a hunt mid-way during a count of the bears that has cost thousands of dollars and many man hours? Why would they say it was for the safety of the citizens then retract and say it’s because there were too many bears? Why did make so many mistakes regarding the hunt?

The quotas they set were obviously off by how many bears were taken. Their claiming it would be hard to even kill a bear because they are so elusive was obviously not true. Their objective of killing 320 bears in a week was off by a landslide when 300+ were killed in two days. Their claims to be able to stop the hunt when the quota was reached was wrong. The Eastern Panhandle met it’s quota of 40 bears early in the day but the hunt for that area was not called off until 9:00 pm that night resulting in almost three times as many bears killed.  Their argument that they could trust the hunters to follow the rules was wrong. They killed lactating mothers, they baited, they killed cubs, and they killed bears after the hunt was called off as one video from a monitor showed there was no rigor when a bear was brought in the next day after the hunt was called.

Our bears did not have to be killed. The FWC did not have a count of how many bears there are. The nuisance bears in the neighborhoods there were killing when anyone called about them. And any others would not be killed
by hunters who would be hunting deep in the woods nowhere near these neighborhoods. Education regarding the bears was not forthcoming from FWC. The one and only festival to educate about the bears is held in an obscure place, the town of Umatilla. The problems bears were in Seminole County in the Lake Mary-Longwood area. FWC had not been trying to get the bear-proof trash cans implemented which had been proven to have a 95% success rate at reducing human-bear encounters.

The hunt was a blood bath for our bears. And many of us knew it would be. The FWC of course would not listen to us. They would not listen to biologists and scientists outside of their own. They would not listen to the public who voiced their opposition to the bear hunt. Seventy-five percent of calls and emails made to them were against the hunt. They would not listen to the Sierra Club, The HSUS, Speak Up Wekiva, South Florida Wetlands Association, Girls Gone Green, Animal Legal Defense Fund, Animal Hero Kids, Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, Animal Welfare Institute,  Center for Biological Diversity, Compassion Works International, Environmental Action, Jungle Friends Primate Sanctuary,
or Lobby for Animals, just to name a few.

Who did they listen to? They listened to Governor Rick Scott. They listened to Rep. Jason Brodeur and the other representatives that co-signed a letter that was sent to Nick Wiley, the executive direction of FWC that they
needed to do something. They cited the reason was because of “the latest incidents involving human and bear interaction.” They suggested education of the public regarding bear safety, bear-proof trash cans and a bear hunt.

The FWC was only too happy to oblige with the bear hunt since they had been sitting on it for years wanting to have one and with pressure from hunters to have one. They seem to feel obligated to make hunting opportunities for them.  Is this the real purpose for this agency? For years the hunters have been active in going to their meetings and making
friends with the commissioners in a grooming fashion to have them pander to their desires. How revolting to look back and see how this has played out. And we were none the wiser.


They operated under a cloak of secrecy where the public had no idea of what they were really up to. They knew that the public was oblivious to what their true nature was and they took advantage of it. The all trusting
public who has always placed their trust in an agency that now even includes the word “conservation” in their name. The agency who has license plates that say things like “save wildlife”, carefully orchestrated a big hoax upon the public about how they were caring for wildlife when it was far from being true. The whole reason the FWC does any kind of
protection of wildlife is to build their numbers up so that they can provide hunters more hunting opportunities. And those license plates?  Well, the proceeds  don’t go to conserving wildlife.

I’m reminded of a  story that was ran in one newspaper where the reporter was interviewing a duck hunter who was very upset about the turbines in the Everglades killing ducks who flew into them. And the reporter asked but aren’t you going to kill them? And he said “yes.” Preserve it so you can kill it. Folks this in NOT what people have in mind when it comes to conservation.

Conserving our wildlife so that future generations can enjoy their wonderment is what we the people want. We the majority. We who pay the most (contrary to what hunters will tell you) to pay for conservation.
And now that we know what this elite hunt club called the Florida Fish & Wildlife “Conservation” Commission is up to, we are not going to keep quiet about it.


There seems to be a total disregard by the FWC about the lack of food sources for the bears and other wildlife. With timber harvesting, land development and picking of the saw palmetto berries, there just isn’t as much food as there use to be. How deceiving of the FWC to even say that there needed to be a bear cull because there is not enough food for them when they are the very ones in charge to make sure there is enough food for them. And the FWC can’t say they didn’t know about the  importance of the berries because their own website contains information about them and and how vitally important they are.

For at least thirty years the saw palmetto berries have been being picked on state land with daily permits being sold by the Florida Forest Service.
As the berries have become more prosperous to pick, the more the depletion of this food source has become.  It wasn’t until June of 2015 that a temporary moratorium was placed on the harvesting in those areas.
The berries become ripe in August to September, a time when bears have to pack on pounds to enter into their dens. Females must have this extra weight for their pregnancies to become viable. Bears lose as much as 25% of their weight during denning. Not only are these berries important to bears but over 100 other species depend on these plants and their berries.

Along with the lack of acorns from trees this helped to create a perfect storm for the bears to come out of the woods and into the neighborhoods to seek food. And homeowners added to the storm by having garbage, dog food, birdseed and dirty barbecue grills etc. ready for them. So with lack of bear safety education and tempting bears with their wares, a few people met with calamity. Bears are naturally shy and mean no harm unless they are provoked or are defending cubs. Since the attacks that happened, bears now do not have a chance if people call the FWC on them. It’s one strike and you’re dead. And FWC has encouraged people to call, call, call. And they do. Even if the bear is just walking trough their yard. Needless deaths of more bears. FWC has euthanized close to one hundred bears
in 2015 and there remains another month and half to add to the tally.

If you have just read this and your eyes have been opened, please join us in fighting this rogue agency and corrupt government officials. One seeks to take more land to make concrete jungles and the wildlife is in their way.
The other, the FWC seeks to provide more hunting opportunities to kill our wildlife so between them, the entire state that is
wild or natural is being threatened.

Your voice and actions are important. Join one of the many Facebook groups that are educating people and keeping people informed. Don’t trust mainstream media to be telling you the truth. They are not. They are
bought. Help write letters, sign petitions, make phone calls and join rallies. Do what you can do. All voices are important.

Wake Up Florida – FWC isn’t who they use to be!

Critical Food Source For Wildlife In Florida Being Sold Off

Should our natural resources be sold off to the highest bidder?
Should they be used for profit while the wildlife that depends on
them for food be depleted of enough sustenance to survive?

That’s exactly what is happening in Florida with the saw palmetto berries.
These berries that have been said to help prostate health and some other ailments
have become quite a big business for pharmaceuticals, the companies that sell to them and the people who pick the berries. Eighty percent
of saw palmetto berries come from Florida.

The saw palmetto berries become ripe in August through September. A time when many migrant workers are out of work because there are no crops to pick. So they have turned to the saw palmetto berries.

The saw palmetto berries come at a cost to the pickers. They even risk their lives as rattle snakes make their homes in the palmetto bushes. There are biting insects and jagged leaves on the bushes that cut their hands and arms. They must wear protective gloves and long sleeves and pick in the Florida heat. But it’s all worth it to them.
They can make over a thousand dollars in just a few days.

Most pickers go out together and pick. Perhaps they are families. They load up in a truck with their bags and machetes and find a spot to pull off of the road to pick for the day. Usually the driver leaves and comes back and picks them up because leaving a truck on the side of the road would be a risk to be found out that they are picking illegally. They pick on private lands without permission. They pick on state land where it is now illegal
since a one year moratorium was placed on the picking of them on state land by agriculture commissioner Adam Putnam who was pressured to do something after public outcry.

These groups of pickers have proven to be a problem to law enforcement who when they come upon them do not have enough man power or vehicles to arrest them. So they make them dump the berries
and send them on their way. One person who doesn’t like the berry pickers said that the private land owners should call the cops to arrest them and stay there to retrieve the berries and go sell them themselves. Not exactly what needs to happen

In 2005 the berries were selling for thirty-five cents a pound but
now are up to as much as three dollars a pound. According to the Hearld
Tribune in Sarasota which ran an article in 2005 about the berries, they had been quietly being sold for more than twenty years. Here we are ten years later and little has been done.

Black bears forage on these berries at a critical time of the year when they are trying to pack on pounds as they prepare to enter into the denning season when they can lose 25% of their weight. And for females, it’s a matter of life or death to their unborn cubs who require this nourishment
to become viable.

As per the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) –
“The relation between the Florida black bear
(Ursus americanus floridanus) and saw palmetto (Serenoa
repens) epitomizes the complexities and challenges in
developing habitat management guidelines for the
Southeast’s largest land mammal. Both species were
once widespread throughout Florida, but now exhibit
patchy distributions throughout the state. Both species
provide keystone processes for the ecosystems in which
they reside: the black bear as a seed disperser (Maehr
1984a, 1997a) and saw palmetto as preferred food and
cover for hundreds of animal species (Maehr and Layne

You can see this is a critical plant for bears as well as other wildlife but for many years these berries have been allowed to be picked for a $10 a day permit on state land by the Florida Forest Service. Surely, the FWC knew about this. They are suppose to work together. And yet
it never stopped it. Besides the harvesting there has been burning off of palmettos in controlled burns of scrub land. These burns cause the palmettos not to be able to produce berries because of burning them back to the ground as well as have other negative effects.

In a report by, by Linda Conway Duever Conway Conservation, LLC regarding the Ecology of Saw Palmetto Management, the FWC says the following: “We have been, in effect, managing saw palmetto landscape ecology backwards. We should use longer fire intervals for substantial habitat patches deep in natural area interiors and shorter intervals in more buffer zone areas. This would help protect fruit resources from poachers and keep berry-seeking bears and frond-accumulation fire
hazards away from people, hence reducing the huge costs of nuisance bear incidents, traffic accidents, and urban interface wildfires. Managing mesic South Florida flatwoods for a more natural and diverse landscape mosaic by burning more palmetto in patches closer to the <10 acres/burn area typical of lightning fires in that region is also important, as is remembering that bears and/or panthers may be harmed if fires enter the old palmetto stands they use as denning cover. Since Serenoa repens is predicted to be extraordinarily persistent in the face of climate change, improving management of this species to increase its wildlife value can be
viewed as an especially good longterm investment.”

We have noticed an increase of bears visiting neighborhoods to forage through garbage and whatever else they can find. It has been shown in other states when there are low mast years, bears will venture out into neighborhoods, even breaking into homes in order to find enough to eat. Those low mast years where created by nature in those states. But in Florida, it is man who has created the problem.

Clearly, this problem needs to have more attention. A permanent ban on harvesting of the berries on state land and possibly to include private land. Protections need to be in place to keep these plants safe from humans for the sake of all wildlife. Along with these protections, heftier
fines need to be implemented because as it is, it’s worth it to the harvesters to risk the smallfines in leiu of the rewards they get when they sell them.

The group, Speak Up Wekiva along with senator Darren Soto (D-Fl), has introduced a bill called The Florida Black Bear Habitat Restoration Act. This needs to be supported by everyone as it will help to make these important plants safer.


Together we can all help by reporting harvesters when we see them and protecting the saw palmettos
wherever they are.

Critical Food Source For Wildlife In Florida Being Sold Off

TEDDY ROOSEVELT – A True Hunter Conservationist

Teddy, Teddy, Teddy – Hunters do tell lies about you.

Libra Lionheart

Brian Yablonski, Chairman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) was recently compelled to publish an editorial entitled “The Hunter Conservationist Paradox”. In response, I thought it important to dispel some myths and to present a true and accurate portrayal of the man known as the “Conservation President”; as well as some of his protégés. Perhaps some people should take notes as to what true conservation is.


Mr. Yablonski’s most recent piece was submitted as a celebration of Theodore Roosevelt’s 157th birthday and his conservation legacy. This editorial was published on the FWC website five days after the first Florida black bear hunt in 21 years, and was in obvious response to the public criticism of the FWC decision to host this hunt. It was also intended to pay tribute to the one we know as the conservation President. “The Hunter Conservationist Paradox” summarized the conservation accomplishments…

View original post 2,836 more words

TEDDY ROOSEVELT – A True Hunter Conservationist

State Parks & Hunting – Rick Scott and the (new) Florida GOP’s Nirvana

Florida Republicans Wake Up – Political greed is killing our state!

The Florida Squeeze

&quot;Jensen Beach FL Savannas Preserve SP01&quot; by Ebyabe - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons “Jensen Beach FL Savannas Preserve SP01” by Ebyabe – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

Governor Rick Scott and his administration are the least capable custodians of Florida’s land in our history. As a Governor who lived in this state for less than a decade before attaining Florida’s highest office, Scott could be excused for not knowing as much about the natural beauty of this state that long-term residents like myself do (though many move to this state specifically because of its natural beauty). But the Governor’s lack of appreciation for Florida’s environment, ecosystem, water and wildlife has become all more evident in recent years. What’s worse is that Scott has a Republican legislature that with a few exceptions is filled with ideological zealots who are anxious to continue to turn Florida into an experimental lab for every bad conservative think tank idea as well as every…

View original post 427 more words

State Parks & Hunting – Rick Scott and the (new) Florida GOP’s Nirvana

Habitat for Florida Bears Has Been Stripped And Needs Protection

Chuck O’Neal with Speak Up Wekiva and Senator Darren Soto have introduced a bill to restore and protect the habitat of our wildlife, in particular our bears.

As you know there has been a lot going on in the news about our black bears. There is so much I could tell you about them and the issues surrounding them that you probably
don’t even know. Most people don’t.

Their food sources in their habitat have been stripped. In some areas of the state the saw palmetto berries are so heavily harvested there are none left for the bears or other wildlife that depend on them.

Saw palmettos berries, according to one biologist is the most vital food source for bears.
These berries become ripe at a time when bears have to pack on pounds to survive winter
when they will lose up to 25% of their body weight. If a female doesn’t get enough food
her pregnancy will terminate.

For years our state forestry service sold permits for $10 a day for people to harvest these
berries on state land. Most of them are harvested by migrant workers who find themselves
out of work at the same time. They go into the forests and scrubs and pick tons upon tons
of berries.

Just recently in June of this year a temporary moratorium was put on the harvesting of these
important berries by the commissioner of agriculture. This is only a one year ban. This will
hardly give the bears time to figure out that this natural food source is once again available
to them in their habitat.

Along with the saw palmetto berries, developments and deforestation is taking away much needed trees that produce acorns which are also needed for food by the bears and other wildlife. In one area of Ocala they are cutting down all the turkey oaks saying they are invasive even though they’ve been there for hundred years and produce much needed acorns.

It has been shown that when bears are not getting enough food in their habitat they will go out of it to find it. Many bears are now being found in neighborhoods throughout Florida foraging for food. And they find it in the source of garbage not properly kept by the homeowners.

The Black Bear Habitat Rehabilitation Act also addresses this problem. For too long governmental agencies, who were responsible for wildlife food resources and safety of citizens, have failed. We now have a problem on our hands and their go to answer was to kill the bears instead of using non-lethal methods.

With food sources back in tact, garbage secured, and everyone becoming bear wise, we should see a change in a short time without the need to kill our bears.

Please read more about this act.

https://www.facebook.com/download/170624986618557/Florida_Black_Bear_Habitat_Restoration_Act%20.pdf (This is the Act)

Habitat for Florida Bears Has Been Stripped And Needs Protection