I oppose black bear hunting in Florida – By Adam Sugalski

adam sugalski

I OPPOSE BLACK BEAR HUNTING IN FLORIDA.

The 2015 Florida Black hunt changed many of our lives, forever.
This is my story below that I am emailing to the FWC commissioners.

What is your story and how did this hunt affect your life?
The commissioners need to hear it.
https://myfwc.com/con…/fwc-staff/senior-staff/commissioners/

In 2015, I embarked on a journey that would forever change me; I learned that the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) was considering a bear hunt for the first time in 21 years, and on June 24, 2015, in a devasting blow, the FWC voted to have a black bear hunt.

It was time for me to switch gears from protesting circuses, and greyhound racing, to now take on a government agency, the NRA, the SCI, and trophy hunters. With time being of the essence, I quickly got to work and created a campaign called Stop The Florida Bear Hunt (STFBH). Stop The Florida Bear Hunt would later be at the forefront of the anti-bear trophy hunting movement.

We staged a 14 city protest as a last-ditch effort to stop the hunt. The protest was on October 23, 2015, the day before the hunt took place. Our efforts did little to sway the hearts and minds of the FWC Commissioners who voted to have the hunt, and the following day the bear hunt began.

I headed to Lake City as a “Bear Monitor” at check station 17.
My objective was to document and report the number of bears brought into the check station. There were 33 check stations statewide — each station had bear monitors. The purpose of the bear monitors was to ensure that the FWC called off the hunt as soon as they reached their bear kill quota.

In my lifetime, I have witnessed horrible animal atrocities from investigating circus abuse to raiding illegal slaughterhouses. When I graduated with my degree in photography and design, I would have never thought I’d be using it to document horrific animal abuse.

Nothing could have prepared me for what I call the worst day of my life. Lifeless black bear corpses were brought in.
I will never forget the apathy the trophy hunters displayed for the lives they had just taken. Hunters laughed and celebrated their kills as if they had just won the lottery. They handled the bodies as if they were trash.

I was shattered to my core, numb, yet resolute and faithful to my convictions I carried on. The bear hunt was called off early due to the alarming number of bears killed on the first day of the hunt. In the aftermath, a total number of 304 bears were killed, but that doesn’t account for the bears that weren’t brought into one of the 33 check stations statewide.

Every single bear brought in to check station 17 left with a piece of my heart. Of all the bears I saw that day, nothing touched me as profoundly as the slain nursing mother bear whose swollen breasts were a reminder of the now orphaned cubs she left behind.

Public outrage grew as photographs and stories surfaced in the wake of the hunt. We weren’t going to let the FWC get away with another unscientific, undemocratic hunt. We put the pressure on them. They would soon learn that their actions had consequences that would forever change the dynamics of the FWC.

This time we were prepared for a battle, our previous 14 city protest had now grown to 28 cities. We scheduled it for the weekend before a final vote was made on whether or not to proceed with a 2016 Florida black bear hunt. Our protest garnered mass media attention, with hundreds of protestors showing up to each protest location. After the protests, we prepared for a trip to Apalachicola, Florida.

On June 22, 2016, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted 4-3 against a 2016 black bear hunt. They also voted to have staff gather more information so that they could again vote the following year on whether to hold a 2017 hunt.

This was a bittersweet victory as we knew the fight was not over and would be on the table again in 2017.

Our campaign, Stop The Florida Bear Hunt, continued to evolve and gain momentum putting even more pressure on the FWC.

On April 19, 2017, FWC Commissioners agreed to revamp the bear management plan and report back in two years, which came after a motion to hold a 2017 bear hunt was voted down 4-3.

The FWC also stated that there would be no hunt in 2019, that they would only revisit where they were at in the process of revising the bear management plan.

Following our victory for the bears in Florida, we changed our name from Stop The Florida Bear Hunt to Bear Defenders. Bear Defenders was created with a mission to end bear hunting across the U.S. and provide other states with the tools needed to take action against bear hunting in their State.


Adam Sugalski owns One Protest (www.OneProtest.org) and is an ardent animal activist  in Florida

I oppose black bear hunting in Florida – By Adam Sugalski

Why FWC wants a bear hunt

bear hunt protest

To people who do not know the truth about bear hunting and what it is really about, you need to know.

The fact is that bear hunting is about the decline of hunting and FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) scrambling to try to find more money for their coffers.

They are even trying to get women and children to hunt as the older hunters who kept the TRADITION of hunting, age out. Bored hunters are thirsty for a trophy bear and are whining about wanting to hunt them.

Hunters are lying about bears and trying to make people who don’t know about bears,  be so afraid of them that they will think that we need a hunt. We do not. Bears seen in neighborhoods are usually there because people have food attractants such as garbage, birdfeeders, dirty barbecue grills, pet food and the like that attracts them frm their natural habitat out into the neighborhood.

Bears rarely attack humans. Dogs are far more dangerous so are mosquitos.  Our bears give bluff charges to scare away a threat when it is protecting its cubs.

Get the FACTS before you sentence hundreds of innocent bears to a bloody massacre with lactating mothers and their cubs killed. Cubs not killed are left motherless and there is NO rescue for them.

It is FWC’s job to provide hunting opportunities for hunters. FWC commissioners are all hunters. It is a biased agency. Their definition of “conservation” is to let a hunted species recover so that they can be hunted leaving a token number. They do not have the same definition for it that the public has. And “harvest” is to “kill” not to gather. Unless you mean to gather the dead bodies.

PLEASE, educate yourselves and secure your attractants. Go to www. bearsmart.com or http://www.beardefenders.org and learn. Join a Facebook group that is a bear loving group so that you get the true facts, not what hunters tell you.

And remember to beware of FWC they only have their’s and the hunter’s interests at heart.

(Photo credit: Barry Vaught  Photography)

Why FWC wants a bear hunt

New Guided Nature Hikes in Central Florida

ecotiereaaa

Ecotiere.com is now offering nature hikes and lectures.

 

Expert wildlife specialist Fred Bohler is now ready to take you hiking and teach

all about Florida’s wonderful wildlife. You’ll explore and learn about tracks, bones,

habitat, creatures and many other things while you enjoy a fun hike with one of

Central Florida’s most knowledgeable nature lovers. 


About Fred Bohler:

fred1

Fred Bohler is a wildlife specialist and an accomplished speaker desiring to further the understanding between humans and wildlife.

.Fred has a special interest in reptiles, crocodilians, and arachnids.

His work has involved radio and television including programs such as Animal Planet.

He has also worked as a herpetologist and animal care specialist for zoological institutions and various government agencies and has closely worked with black bears.

His “life mission” is solving myths and phobias through wildlife education for the general public as well as one on one.


Guided Eco Nature Hikes

There are three locations to choose your hike from:

 

  • Wekiwa State Park – A  7,000-acre Florida State Park in Apopka, Florida.
  • Fechtel Tract – Lower Wekiva State Preserve – 8300 W. State Road 46, Sanford, FL
  • Rock Springs Run State Reserve Park – 30601 County Road 433
    Sorrento FL

Lectures

Lectures take place at Wekiva Island – 1014 Miami Springs Dr, Longwood, FL

fred4

For Booking Your Hike or Lecture and More Information, Go To –  http://www.ecotiere.com

 

Aside

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