Want to take action? Here you go
- Here’s the link to the Bear Management Plan
- Here’s the link to submit comments to the survey for FWC on Black Bears
- Click here to e-mail the Commissioner’s asking that they support the plan AND support the return of a sustainable bear hunt model.
Here’s some text – copy this, then click the “e-mail commissioners” link and paste it into the body – enter your name, e-mail address and voila!
I am writing in support of a Bear Management Plan that includes hunting as part of that plan. Hunting as part of the greater construct of the North American Model of Conservation should have a place in how we manage black bears in Florida. We find the ethics of not hunting bears to be of moral question when we know, through your agency’s science, that a great portion of bear mortality in this state is attributed to motor vehicle collisions and the elimination of problem bears (see pages 18 and 20 of the management plan). Black bear are well renowned as great table fare and it makes no sense that we wouldn’t consider this game animal as the resource that it historically and presently is across over 30 or more states and provinces in North America. If only one bear was harvested instead of dying at the hands of a human in a car collision or extermination that should be considered a win for the citizens of Florida.
If we truly care about both the bear and the people of this state we need to objectively look at black bear and its place on our landscape. There is no doubt that there are intense anthropogenic pressures on bears, but even with these known entities like human development, genetic bottle necking, etc. the bear was evaluated to not need “listed” status by the USFWS. (see page 25); not one criteria was met that led scientist during their biologic status review (BSR) that warranted a listed status.
We as hunters understand that we are becoming a significant minority in this state. Access to hunting opportunities are becoming more and more rare. We understand that it will take some courage to support hunting bear as these animals have become more symbolic and anthropomorphized over the decades. The reality, however, is that hunting often brings conservation of a particular species to the forefront. Hunters typically exude passion for their pursuits and propel the species into a better place, not worse. We are huge advocates for the animals that we hunt. While that might seem like a paradox to the non-hunter public it doesn’t deny that reality. Take for example the Audbon Society’s recent report of the literally billions of birds that have been lost in the last 4 decades. The Audubon Society made it a point to recognize that a few subtypes of birds like ducks and geese were actually stable and on the rise mostly due to sportsman based conservation initiatives that preserved and protected wetland habitat.
There is very good evidence that hunting bears in Florida could be that rare win win in wildlife conservation where the sportsmen, the citizens, and the bears all have a better future. We appreciate your objective and educated decisions on these matters and hope that you consider our concerns in those decisions.