[BREAKING NEWS] FLORIDA FISH AND WILDLIFE CONSERVATION COMMISSION APPROVES BEAR HUNT; HSUS PROTESTS FAIL TO STOP REASONABLE SCIENCE
[caption id="attachment_3669" align="aligncenter" width="380"] myfwc.com[/caption] "Our responsibility is to do the best we can to manage wildlife in the state of Florida." That remark was made by Commissioner Charles W. Roberts III, moments before the decision was handed down on the fate of bear hunting in the state of Florida. This afternoon, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted to reopen a limited bear hunting season for 7 days in October. The FWC has transcended the attacks, protests, and negative media attention of the radical opposition of animal rights activists to do what is best for Florida citizens and wildlife. Touting a petition with 90,000 signatures (HSUS has a track record of hiring out-of-state signature gathering companies to collect these, so that signature total is dubious), HSUS lobbied Florida Governor Rick Scott to ignore those qualified to make this decision and take the vote off of the agenda. They claim that “the commissioners are ignoring the majority of Floridians who have said they oppose a bear hunt.” Instead, he reaffirmed his trust in the FWC council to do what is best for the citizens. There are several reasons he might have ignored HSUS’s pleas:
- HSUS’s supposed 90,000 supporters are still far less than one-half of a percent of Florida’s 19.89 million population total.
- The goal of the FWC is not to manipulate the delicate balance of the ecosystem based on the whims of the ever changing public opinion.
- Perhaps Governor Scott recognized the FWC to be more qualified than he to find a solution to the vicious attacks and increasing number of car accidents caused by bear overpopulation.
Whatever the reason for his support of the commission’s board, the FWC has continually and successfully managed fish and wildlife resources for the long-term well-being of their populations and for the benefit of the people of Florida. Today, they continued that trend. Previously, Florida was the only state with more than 600 bears that did not have some sort of bear hunting season. With estimates as high as 3-6,000 bears and over 4,000 bear-related calls to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in 2010, it was easy to see that the problems associated with overpopulation were on the rise and it was time for a change. There have been huge increases in maulings, bear presence in urban areas, and car accidents caused by bears. The issue goes beyond just impacting humans, part of conservation is maintaining an appropriate management level that the area can sustain. If one population gets too large, the whole balance is thrown off. If we do not do anything to limit the bear population, than we are perpetuating the imbalance and making life harder for all animals and citizens in the long run. What the FWC showed is that there are still individuals willing to put aside emotional and logically unfounded arguments to do what is best for the people. The arguments of HSUS and the protestors are comprised of short-sided passion for something that they don’t understand. One protester named Haili Alcorn, a self-described animal lover, stated:
“Like people who enjoy killing things -- taking life and wanting a trophy -- this is about giving hunters more animals – more options to kill … [the bears] were here first.”
She also advocated the pipe dream of animal sterilization, saying we should focus on "Birth control, sterilization, trap and release that kind of thing." This statement and Ms. Alcorn are perfect examples of quite a few things:
- A chronic misunderstanding, intentional or otherwise, of the law being passed. This does not allow for the sadistic or sociopathic to get their fill of killing with bears. It is a meticulous and well-calculated conservationist effort to manage the population of bears through hunting.
- Being an “animal lover” with no actual attachment to wild animals and no knowledge of their needs, their patterns, or threats, allows for passionate but illogical arguments to fester.
- Although birth control of animals may sound appealing to some, the high cost, lack of immediate results, difficulty to administer, and possibility of ineffectiveness make it a poor choice.
Bottom line - there are many arguments against that illogical line of thinking, but there are no reasonable arguments to be made against a well-regulated bear hunting season. Most rational people will agree with Thomas Eason, director of the commission’s Division of Habitat and Species Conservation, who had this to say of the bear hunt:
“The take-home message is Florida has been successful at recovering black bears from historic lows. We now have healthy populations, expanding populations of bears in most parts of the state. We’re now having to figure out how to manage that success, which is where hunting and other measure come into play for use.”
Floridians can only effectively sustain a limited number of bears. The FWC decided to use the best and most feasible tool to limit the populations to those numbers – a small and restricted hunting season. The commission’s board recognized that the issue is not killing bears, but sustaining a population as to best help them in the long-term, the environment that they will be in, and the citizens of Florida. That sounds a lot like the FWC mission statement, don’t you think? Do you think that the FWC was correct in reopening a limited hunting season?