June 22, 2017

Florida: Bear Hunting Is Essential to Management….Er, Except When Politics Rule

During the deliberation portion of their June 2016 meeting that resulted in the postponement of a bear hunt that year, dissenting FWC Commissioners claimed their wish was to polish the scientific data supporting a hunt which was to be presented this year. They had no desire to “kick the can down the road” or “study the issue to death.”

What did they do at the meeting last Wednesday? They decided to revise the bear management plan to incorporate the new data and hunting as a management tool. This updated plan will be presented to the Commission in two years. To the best of my understanding, 2019 will be the earliest bear hunting is considered again.

Can kicked. Issue studied and dead. For now.<<<Read More>>>

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Endangered Species Act Petitions for Florida Black Bear and Mojave Desert Tortoise do not Warrant Further Action

Press Release from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service:

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has completed reviews of petitions to list the Florida black bear and uplist the Mojave population of desert tortoise from threatened to endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service found that neither petition presented substantial information that the requested action may be warranted and so no further action will be taken.

Due to conservation efforts by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, private landowners, conservation groups and others, Florida black bear numbers have rebounded from approximately 300 individuals in the 1970s to some 4,350 today. Conservation efforts will continue for the Mojave population of desert tortoise, which will remain listed as threatened under the ESA.

The Federal Register docket numbers and links for the two findings are:

Species Range Docket Number and Link
Florida black bear AL, FL, GA, MS FWS­–R4–ES–2017–0015
Mojave population of desert tortoise AZ, CA, NV, UT FWS­–R8–ES–2017–0009

The notice for the above findings is available here: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection.

The Service is actively engaged with conservation partners and the public in the search for improved and innovative ways to conserve and recover imperiled species. For more information on the ESA listing process, including 90-day findings and status reviews, please visit: www.fws.gov/endangered/esa-library/pdf/listing.pdf.

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Florida Representative Proposes Ten Year Ban on Bear Hunting

*Editor’s Note* – As we continue to see such legislation that strips wildlife managers of necessary tools to do the jobs they are commissioned to do, is there any wonder that other states, sick and tired of ignorant animal rights perverts and environmentalists crafting legislation to rule out science over emotional clap-trap, crafting some of their own bills that would prohibit any legislation of this kind pertaining to wildlife management. Where will this nonsense end? 

Press Release from the Sportsmen’s Alliance:

Take Action! Currently House Bill 491 is in House Natural Resources & Public Lands Subcommittee. Florida sportsmen should contact their state representatives and ask them to vote NO on House Bill 491. Members can use the Sportsmen’s Alliance Legislative Action Center to contact their state representative.

In Florida, Rep. Amy Mercado (D-Orlando) has proposed legislation that would place a ten-year ban on black bear hunting in Florida. House Bill 491 also requires bear-proof garbage cans, and restricts burning in habitats that could impact bears. The bill also would commission a study on the effectiveness of non-lethal means for the management of bears.

In 2016, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission paused plans to have a hunting season for bears after anti-hunting groups pressured both commissioners and legislators.

“HB 491 would set a terrible precedent by removing the management authority from the commission altogether and instead establishing an arbitrary timeline,” said Luke Houghton, the Sportsmen’s Alliance associate director of state services. “The Commission was created to make scientific decisions regarding wildlife, and House Bill 491 undermines that process and politicizes wildlife decision making.”

Taxpayers would also be on the hook for at least $1 million to pay for bear-proof trash cans, which local governments would then apply for funding from. HB 491 also mandates an end to any timbering of palmetto and oak trees in state forests. Rep. Mercado claims that bears will avoid garbage if there are more food sources available naturally.

“HB 491 substitute’s politics for science, ignoring the advice of Florida’s wildlife experts,” continued Houghton. “It sets a precedent that politicians can step on sound scientific wildlife management decisions when opponents of hunting become upset. HB 491 also poses a serious public safety risk, as Florida’s growing bear population expands unchecked.”

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Florida’s Gun-Free Businesses May Soon Be Held Liable for Violence on Their Premises

“A new proposal would hold store owners responsible for the mayhem that results when they decide to ban guns on their premises.”<<<Read More>>>

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Hurricane Hermine

We weathered the storm, it seems, better this time than back in the Spring with Tropical Storm Collin – we haven’t lost our power.

The worst day, so far, for us seemed to come on Wednesday, long before the storm arrived. The early morning began with thunderstorms and torrential downpours that lasted all morning, leaving us with around 9 or 10 inches of rain. There was some localized flooding but not too bad.

Yesterday, as the storm approached, eventually reaching hurricane status before making landfall north of us, in the Big Bend region of Florida, we experienced a few rain bands spiraling out from the storm center. At times these rain bands would have pretty gusty winds. About 3 miles, as the crow flies, at the beach, a wind gust was officially reported at 78 m.p.h. We saw nothing like that here.

The afternoon and most of the evening into the night, was pretty quiet – just occasional gusty winds. I went outside around 9 p.m. last night and the stars were out.

Around 4 a.m. today, I awoke to thunder and rain squalls with gusty winds. These were almost nonstop until around 6:30 a.m. or 7:00 a.m. There are breaks in the clouds and I expect the sun to pop out through the broken clouds. The forecast is for the risk of thunderstorms throughout the day.

I am going to guess that including Wednesday’s rains, we have had around 12 – 15 inches of rain right here at my house.

I’m actually hoping what is left of this storm will churn its way up the eastern seaboard and dump some much needed rain onto Maine and all of New England. My well at camp is drying up.

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Is Florida Becoming Large Predator Save Zone?

*Scroll for Updates*

One has to wonder, with increasing reports of encounters in Florida between humans and black bears and mountain lions, whether, like in most places where animal perverts think there should be more than one in everyone’s back yard, there are too many, with plans to grow even more.

Recently, captured on video, was someone walking on the elevated wooden walkways of Corkscrew Swamp in southern Florida, who encountered a mountain lion walking, mostly unconcerned, and coming straight at them. The “panther,” as those who have swallowed the myth that it’s a “distinct” subspecies of the mountain lion, became a bit nervous but hurried right on by, fortunately, without stopping for a better look or a taste of some human flesh.

I recall visiting one of these Florida “parks” and asking an attendant if these elevated trails, often winding through dense forest, and in particular mangroves, became a convenient “game trail” for critters of the forest. I was looked at like I had mountain lion dung in my mouth.

I know from the many, many years of being in the woods that animals create their own trails. Why? Other than what might be somewhat obvious to some, (some don’t even suspect) animals like and choose the path of least resistance. Duh? While in the middle of a dense forest, what better way for a mountain lion to get from point A to point B than to take I-95 (a made-up name for the boardwalk – keep up) that crosses the swamp and forest.

But don’t go look.

We are now getting reports of the “YUGE” success of the “conservation” (overprotection) of the black bear. Official estimates (which means this is the only number officials are willing to make public) are Florida now has 4,350 bears (probably at least 6,000). Granted, Florida is a large state encompassing about 65,750 square miles. But, the state also has close to 20,000,000 residents and far more than that when the “Snowbirds” arrive. As bear populations grow, along with human population growth, Florida residents should expect to have increased encounters with bears and mountain lions.

Just this week, an elementary school in Lee County went into “lockdown” because of a bear roaming the neighborhood.

Expect more!

*Update*

Get More!

A Fort Myers, Florida man discovers a “panther” sitting on his porch. Nice!

 

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1,200 Florida Bear Hunting Permits Sold in Two Days, Tensions Escalate

Despite efforts to stop Florida’s first bear hunt in more than 20 years, wildlife officials say the state sold nearly 1,200 bear hunting licenses in just the first two days of availability. According to a story from the Daytona Beach News Journal, because there’s no limit on the number of available licenses, Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) officials expect sales will continue to climb right up to the opening of the state’s first seven-day bear-hunting season, on October 24.

Source: 1,200 Florida Bear Hunting Permits Sold in Two Days, Tensions Escalate | Field & Stream

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Welcome To The Guntry Club, Where There’s A Boardroom And A Shooting Range

A couple weeks ago, I walked into The Alamo in Naples, Florida, a state-of-the-art, self-described “shooting destination.” The newly-constructed, 26,000-square-foot facility into which its owner has invested over $10M is bright, airy, and modern. It was built from the ground up on what was once a dirt lot; it opened in early May. Kevin Creighton, The Alamo’s marketing manager, describes the opening as more of a “squishy” launch than a soft launch because this is the area’s off season; “snowbirds” from the East Coast and the Midwest will flock down here en masse come winter.

Source: Welcome To The Guntry Club, Where There’s A Boardroom And A Shooting Range

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Black bear falls asleep on lawn after eating 20 pounds of dog food

*Editor’s Note* – They say black bears can become “habituated” to the ways of humans. Perhaps this is the result of some of that habituation as it appears this bear is acting like many humans do, when they gorge themselves on Fast Food and the like and then fall asleep; where they spend most of their time, waking occasionally to fuss with their cell phones.

A huge black bear in Seminole County had quite the weekend when a homeowner found it fast asleep in his backyard.

Source: Black bear falls asleep on lawn after eating 20 pounds of dog… | www.wftv.com

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No taste for bear hunting

The head of the FWC says a hunt is the only way to manage the population and keep the bears in check.

The anti-hunting group, who spearheaded a failed effort past year to curtail bear hunts in Maine, terms the potential Florida season a “trophy hunt” and has vowed to stop its implementation.

Protests are expected to take place Monday, in Ocala, and all around the state, ahead of this week’s bear hunting vote by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Opponents to hunting have advocated non-lethal means to reduce human-bear conflicts such as attacks and traffic collisions.

Source: No taste for bear hunting | Rapid News Network

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