Do You Remember The 2015 Florida Black Bear Hunt? We Will Never Forget.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved the state-sanctioned slaughter of Florida's black bears in 2015.
Thousands of people across the state united to stop the hunt. Despite public outcry, the FWC Commissioners voted to move forward with the hunt, which took place on October 24, 2015. It was the first bear hunt in over 21 years. The FWC set the bear hunting quota at 320 bears. At the time, the estimated black bear population in Florida was 3,000. They sold a total of 3,778 permits to kill 320 bears. That is over ten hunters to one bear.
The bear hunt was scheduled to last a week but was ended after just two days due to the alarming number of bears killed in such a short period of time. In the aftermath, a total number of 302 bears were killed, but that doesn't account for the bears that weren't brought into one of the 33 check stations statewide, or the orphaned cubs left behind. Among the 302 bears killed were 36 nursing mother bears and a 42-pound cub. 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 and unite a state determined to protect the bears.
Through a collective effort, we were able to stop the hunt in 2016. In 2017, the Commission voted not to have a hunt through to 2019. The FWC's reason for calling off the hunt was due to the overwhelming public pressure they received.
"A hunt is consuming, it is consuming to this agency all the way around," Chairman Brian Yablonski said. "And the benefit that we get with this species at this moment in time, I don't know if it's worth the consumption that our team is going to go through, and we're all going to go through."
The FWC Commissioners will be presented with the new Bear Management Plan on Wednesday, December 11, 2019. The plan includes hunting as a bear management tool. If the plan is approved with bear hunting as a form of management, it will be locked into place for ten years. The Commissioners need to know that Floridians will never support bear hunting.
Email the FWC Commissioners now.
(State your name and that you oppose bear hunting).