Friday, October 23, 2015

Hunting All 3300 Florida Black Bear

Florida black bear cubs. Click for photo credit.
There are only 3300 Florida black bear, a subspecies of the North American black bear, in existence and according to the Tampa Bay Times, Florida just gave hunting licenses for the Florida black bear to 3217 hunters. What could go wrong?

The hunt was the brainchild (ahem) of the Florida Wildlife Commissioners who have made many controversial decisions in recent months, including new Florida panther rules.

Anyone who reads this blog regularly knows that I have no problem with hunting when it makes sense. Yet it was just two years ago that the Florida black bear was on the imperiled species list. Although numbers have improved, the population is hardly stable.

Many hunters who understand environmental conservation are sitting out this hunt for good reason. Individuals like Ted Nugent, wealthy business owners, and politicians are the ones taking part in it. This is hardly a hunt. It is a stunt.

It is unfortunate that wise conservation, a cornerstone of so many hunting organizations, was discarded in making the decision to give a hunting license for every bear that lives in the state.

One day, Florida will return to sound environmental management. I just hope that we still have the Florida black bear around when this happens.

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