Yes, FWC Kills Bears!

Recently an activist stated that FWC does not kill bears.  How bazaar coming from a bear activist who has been involved in stopping the bear hunts.   Anyone can request these records from FWC.

To prove my point about FWC killing bears, I am including some images of records sent to me from FWC of the bears that they have killed during 1/11/15 to 4/11/16. These records do not come color-coded. I did that so I could reference certain things more easily.

bear deaths 2bear deaths 3bear deaths 4bear deaths 1

Yes, FWC Kills Bears!

Spanky, the Death of a Neighborhood Bear – Letter to FWC

This letter was shared and was given permission to reprint.

tavaresbear1

An Open Letter to FWC Executive Director Wiley, Chairman Yablonski, and Commissioners
On October 24th, 2016, a mature, male black bear was illegally shot and killed in my subdivision in Tavares, Lake County. To you, this event may mean nothing more than an additional task for your Law Enforcement Division. To me, and to many of my neighbors, this event was a vicious, senseless crime, and a heartbreaking metaphor for the larger plight of Florida’s wildlife. I would like you to understand what the death of this bear means to us, and to recognize the broader implications of what has just happened here.
I have an intensely personal stake in this case. I grew up in the city of Detroit, Michigan – not exactly the best place for wildlife viewing. In 2006, I was fortunate enough to be able to build my current home, which overlooks one of the last undeveloped parcels of land within the city limits of Tavares. For the last ten years, my family and I have experienced the company of owls, ospreys, a bobcat, coyotes, and even a diamondback rattlesnake. But, since 2009, the animal we most enjoyed was “Spanky,” the bear, whose pathway between “wilderness” and “civilization” took him past our back door.
You probably think it is inappropriate, even silly, for ordinary people like us to give wild animals names. Perhaps we should have given him an impersonal, scientific designation, like B2009. But, to us, the bear was not just an entry in a database or a red dot on a map: he was an individual, a neighbor, virtually a member of our extended family. The person who intentionally took him from us has stolen one of the most cherished parts of our lives – a living being who connected us to wild Florida in a way that nothing else can, adding a magical quality to a daily routine otherwise dominated by long hours of work. When we found ourselves asking why we were working so hard – what we were working for – this solitary bear helped provide a better answer than anything our realtor told us in 2006.
As you may have seen from the television interviews with some of my neighbors, our bear had never presented a threat to our safety. We had many “up close and personal” encounters with Spanky over the years, and not once did he act aggressively. His worst offense was to break into our screened porch – lured in by the irresistible aromas of a recent fish-frying session – but even then we simply shooed him out and realized that we were more responsible for the problem than he was. We learned how to be “bear wise,” and thus for seven years we and Spanky were able to coexist quite happily. For the small price of simple changes in behavior, we reaped the great benefit of having a beautiful animal in our lives.
Your staff often refer to wild animals like Florida black bears as “renewable natural resources.” Spanky was not a “resource.” He was a unique character, living the best life he could in the diminished habitat we humans had left for him, and doing it with a gentle dignity that deserved, and received, our respect. Nor was he “renewable.” He is gone. He will not be – can not be – replaced. We do not mean this in a purely sentimental sense, for the little pocket of habitat that served as his home is far too isolated to ever again receive a bear, unless by some miracle. And the sad truth is that there is scant time for even a miracle to occur, as much of the undeveloped land in question will surely be converted into habitat for humans within the next few years. When we protest, we are told that we can not stand in the way of “progress,” and left to wonder what amount of impact fees can ever compensate a community for the loss of its wild heart.
One might have hoped, at least, that Florida’s “Wildlife Conservation” Commission would share our concerns about the crushing of many wild hearts across the state, yet your response to the killing of our bear was chilling. Mr. Workman – echoing a long line of similar statements in bear-related press releases – told the Leesburg Daily Commercial that your agency “diligently works to limit the challenges presented by our state’s large black bear population, which has been scientifically estimated to be over 4,000 bears.” In these circumstances, it is hard to imagine a more intellectually perverse and morally reprehensible comment.
Your representation of Florida’s black bear situation is exactly backwards. The bear population that you continually refer to as “large and growing,” or “robust and resilient,” is in fact only 0.02% of the human population, a massive disparity perfectly captured by the isolation of our bear, alone amid thousands of people. And his fate – deliberately killed by a human of defective character – poses the question that should be of central concern to any conservation agency worthy of the name; to wit, how to limit the challenges presented to our small black bear population by a vastly larger and infinitely more destructive human population?
It seems to me that there are two very obvious reasons for your blatant and repeated reversal of the proper perspective. First, Florida is “open for business” and your constitutional independence will no more impede the commercial juggernaut rampaging across our state than our city’s zoning board. Beyond this, though, lies a transparent attempt to convince the public, through a steady “drip, drip, drip” of agency messaging, that the state’s bear population is “too large” and must therefore be “managed” by hunting. This being the case, why should any citizen of Florida reporting a wildlife crime expect a satisfactory resolution, when the very agency in charge of the investigation seeks to provide hunters with an “opportunity” to kill the same animals, just under more “regulated” conditions?
In order to demonstrate your competence to protect our wildlife from those who have no more respect for your regulations than they do for God’s creatures, you must first acknowledge the consequences of your own actions. Our bear was killed on the one-year anniversary of last year’s bear hunt. This is surely no coincidence. The killer was clearly disgruntled about being denied a legal “opportunity” to kill this (or perhaps some other) bear, so he decided to flout your authority and have some illegal fun instead. (The “resource,” of course, was completely wasted, because no part of “it” was “harvested.” Maybe that, if nothing else, will command your attention.) Had you not decided to permit a bear hunt in 2015, this uniquely despicable motivation would never have arisen, and our bear would most likely still be with us, enriching our lives as he had for years before. Allowing hunting sent a message that bears were “fair game,” a message that continues to ring in certain ears long after the “season” ended. When you now attempt to outlaw the “taking” of bears you are, in effect, speaking out of both sides of your mouth, and one can only wonder how many other bears have died without media attention as a result of the signal you sent.
I do not, therefore, expect you to care about any sense of “justice” for our bear, even though almost all well-adjusted people believe that he deserves it. But I do imagine that you might wish to protect the credibility of your agency by proving that you are, in fact, capable of conducting a vigorous investigation of a repugnant wildlife crime. For if you can not apprehend and prosecute those who willfully violate your regulations, then your claim that hunting is “regulated” will crumble along with my shattered dream. And if you do not stand up for the remaining animals who are about to be swept away by the rising human tide – if you allow them to be shot in the back, just like Spanky – then the character of your agency will itself be “fair game” for all Floridians who shared a dream similar to mine.
Spanky was a “good ambassador” for his species, winning many friends in our community. The same can not be said for the human who took his life. As stakeholders in the conservation of Florida’s black bear, we must now rely on your agency to hold the killer accountable for his actions, and to keep us notified of your progress at all phases of the investigation. Having contributed to the climate that fomented this crime, you owe us no less. The debt you owe to Spanky, however, can never be repaid.
Sincerely,
Jacqueline Elfers Nicholson,
Tavares, FL

 

Spanky, the Death of a Neighborhood Bear – Letter to FWC

FWC kills many bears every year

This is just a few of the areas and reasons FWC killed some of our bears in 2015.

 

FWC kills many bears every year

Orlando Sentinel helping spin lies about the black bears

 

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Nick Wiley did not disclose that he is the executive director of FWC in the recently published article he wrote to the Orlando Sentinel. As executive director he is clearly
biased and so that articlle should be read as tongue in cheek, or fingers crossed behind the back.

Regarding the number of bear calls in 2002 – The bears were still on the endangered list.
In 2015 – The bears were not and FWC was asking people to call if they even saw a bear!
I’d say they were working their spin to get people to agree to a hunt. Not that people’s opinion matter but it’s better to instill fear, such as Marion Hammer with the NRA just did by saying bears are terrorizing our neighborhoods! What a lie! And that’s all we get from such hunting biased organizations and people.

The count of 4,350 did not deduct the over 600 bears killed last year!!! How’s that for spinning the truth?

I’m sick of all the lies just to try to justify a hunt that should not take place to please the mere 1% of the hunting populace in the state.

The bears are wandering out of their areas because people are feeding them and the forest are being dozed down. The oaks trees are being replaced with long-leaf slash pine which offers no food. The saw palmetto berries are being raped by illegals who sell them to the pharmaceutical industry.  Wiley failed to emphasize the enormous problem there is with that! Omission of truth is lying!

Wiley mentioned the number of road kills. This in itself is controlling the numbers of bears along with the 129 that FWC killed last year and natural deaths. No need for a hunt.

We have “thousands of human-bear conflicts a year?” Seriously? A person seeing a bear in their yard is NOT a conflict! Keep it real. When you say these thing you know people are going to think there was interaction and that people were in danger! Shame on you!

Bears have increased all over the United States. Not just Florida. It’s not so much to do with FWC as it is with nature. And left to their own, nature will take care of the populations and control them.

For those reading this who do not know, “conservation” according to FWC includes hunting – killing. They do not “conserve.” They are mandated to provide hunting opportunities for hunters. That is their job!

The reason for Nick Wiley writing this article is to make the public trust the FWC in  making the decision for having another bear hunt. Pure and simple.

Unfortunately, The Orlando Sentinel did not allow people who are not subscribers to even comment on this article.  Guess they need the money.

If you want the truth about the bear hunts and the FWC, join a Facebook group devoted to them.

People owe it to our wildlife to be educated and fight for their lives.

Orlando Sentinel helping spin lies about the black bears

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

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