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blackbear.gifA few weeks ago the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) began accepting public comment on its draft Black Bear Management Plan. The goal of the plan is to sustain black bear populations, conserve bear habitat and reduce human-bear conflicts.

During the first public meeting held to discuss the plan, FWC staff made the mistake of saying that a return to bear hunting in Florida was a possibility, at some point in the future, although they stressed that hunting was not part of its current plan. (Bear hunting in Florida ended in 1993.) At the word “hunt,” the discussion quickly became a debate between hunters eager for something new to kill and people outraged at the idea of killing Florida’s bears.

Pro-hunting groups like the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance urged its members to contact the FWC in support of reopening hunting. ARFF, The Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife and other animal protection groups alerted our supporters to demand that bear hunting never resume.

On Monday, the FWC announced that it had postponed all future workshops on the black bear management plan, until it could figure out how to refocus the discussion back to the management plan, and away from the hunting debate. A frustrated FWC employee told the Daytona Beach News-Journal, “We knew hunting would be a big issue, but we didn’t know it would be all-consuming.”

It’s clear that Floridians like bears! ARFF will continue to work to make sure bears in Florida remain safe from hunter’s bullets.

3 Responses to “FWC steps back from bear hunting controversy”

  1. on 30 Oct 2010 at 1:37 pm Dave Stewart

    THANK GOD the Florida Division of Fish and Game respects the wishes and desires of it’s citizens not like the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife ignored an overwhelming majority ( 69% )in their public comment period, and plan to go ahead with a hunt regardless.

  2. on 30 Oct 2010 at 2:59 pm Patricia Randolph

    The Wisconsin state agency served up 5,235 black bears to killers, selling an unprecedented 8,900 licenses after the Wisconsin Bear Hunter’s Association hired a UW professor (who had also done facilitating studies for Safari International head hunters)to do a study inflating bear figures to double what all other studies have shown.
    Rutger’s University professor Edward Tavv’s study shows that bear complaints do not correlate to bear populations being high or low, they correlate to available human based food sources.
    Wisconsin has become one of the cruelest states in the country with captive bear hounding, bear hounding, bear baiting and TWO-THIRDS of the thousands of bears trophy killed as cubs 8 months to a year and a half old.
    Organize to get fair representation into governing boards of wildlife agencies as wildlife WATCHING is the fastest growing outdoor activity. We need GENERAL PUBLIC FUNDING of our state agencies to REPLACE killing licenses as the internal funding mechanism - or there will be no democracy. If our commonwealth of wildlife is only sold to death, and there is no venue for selling it to protection, the massive killing of our wildlife and disruption of our ecosystems already under stress will continue for the elite hunter and trapper extremists.

  3. on 15 Mar 2012 at 3:12 pm Robert Kalin

    Save the bears from unnecessary slaughter. They should not be hunted.

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