Hunting and Outdoors

Antis’ Efforts to Stop Black Bear Hunt in Florida Halted Thanks to SCI

Dave Dolbee with Marlin X7 rifle and Black Bear

The overarching mandate of Game & Fish departments is to manage species populations. This means ensuring proper habitat, managing disease and controlling populations. The nation is full of success stories. In fact, I am pretty sure it is still true, but last I knew, there wasn’t a species of (huntable) game animal in the U.S. that couldn’t boast numbers well over the population a century ago.

Dave Dolbee with Marlin X7 rifle and Black Bear
Sights such as these will soon be seen in the Sunshine state thanks to the support of Safari Club International.

The reason is solid game management. This entails curtailing hunting on species or in areas where populations decline. It also means ensuring the habitat and food sources in a given area will support the local population. Public lands, game preserves, conservation organizations, and hunters all play a vital role in proper game management.

Floridians have experienced more than a few problems related to black bears over the years. The population of black bears has surged over the last decade, but black bears in Florida have no natural enemies. Unfortunately, many bears have lost the fear of man as well.

Recently, it looked as though a season would not happen when Speak Up Wekiva filed a lawsuit to stop the proposed black bear hunting season. The group boasts being an environmental protection group. Its website’s navigation shows nothing more than stopping black bear hunting though.

Fortunately, for hunters, Safari Club International (SCI) came to the rescue as the only hunting group to assist the State of Florida in protecting the state’s black bear season against the challenge from the anti-hunters.

On Thursday, October 1, 2015, after a five-hour hearing, a Florida state court denied a request filed by Speak Up Wekiva to shut down Florida’s first black bear hunt in decades. As a result of the ruling, the hunt is set to commence as planned on October 24th. Deserving most of the credit for the victory is Florida’s state attorneys and biologists, who aggressively defended the hunt in court.

Young black bear in woods.
This is a younger bear and would be a fine harvest, but not a trophy. Notice the size of the ears in relation to the head.

SCI assisted in defending the hunt by submitting a powerful amicus brief that explained to the court how stopping the hunt would harm SCI members and the general Florida hunting community. SCI’s brief also provided concrete data from SCI’s past involvement with black bear litigation in New Jersey. The data refuted the Plaintiffs’ claims that the hunt would harm Florida’s black bear population. An SCI attorney appeared at the hearing to offer assistance as needed. SCI’s local counsel in Florida, attorney Ethan Way—a member of SCI’s Tallahassee Chapter—assisted SCI’s in-house litigation attorneys in filing the brief and appearing in court.

SCI is proud to be a part of this latest victory and hunters should be proud of SCI. SCI has a long history of conserving Florida black bears through sustainable use. Almost 10 years ago, SCI helped the federal government defend a lawsuit seeking to force a listing of the Florida black bear under the Endangered Species Act, which would have prevented Florida’s current hunt. If anti-hunting groups decide to continue to try to stop the hunt, SCI will continue to help Florida defend against any challenge.

Much like the assault on the Second Amendment, there is an effort by the antis to strip Americans of their right to sustainable resources.

Perhaps you are not a hunter, but do you support hunters’ rights? Share your perspectives or opinions on SCI’s victory to open managed bear hunting in Florida in the comment section.


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Comments (15)

  1. If we need to kill black bears or any animals for that matter, and conservation is the real issue…why not kill them humanely?? Hunters know how to bait animals. Why not bait them with meat, or anything edible, infused with a drug that can merely “put them to sleep?” Why kill them with a bow and arrow or rifle. Seems to me if the goal is strictly conservation, this method would be more humane. Wouldn’t this approach be satisfactory to all those hunters preaching conservation??

  2. Hopefully, the bear hunt will be shut down. Hunters LOVE to cause fear, pain, suffering, maiming, terror and death. Trophy hunting is done by mentally ill people…there is NO reason to do this, other than to hurt or kill animals…so disgusting…so seriously disgusting…that a small percentage of the population gets such pleasure by causing so much pain and death. Go away hunters…no one wants you here.

  3. Something similar happened in California, years ago. Some tree hugger group got Mountain Lion hunting stopped. A few years later, Mountain Lions were wandering down the streets of population centers, into the back yards, killing pets, and in one case, if I remember correctly a toddler.Instead of instituting a renewal of Mountain Lion hunting, the brought in government hunters at the cost of several thousand dollar to kill the lions that hunters would have killed and the state would have gotten the extra revenue from permit sales. As it is Mountain Lions still menace the public as their population increases, yet CA. being CA., still doesn’t allow hunting these lions.

    1. @Roy:

      In 2004 I was living in Orange County and was a mountain biker and hiker in eastern Orange County. Mountain Lions killed 2 mountain bikers while I was there, and I realized just how messed up California was, since we couldn’t even carry a gun to protect ourselves. Yet I’m not sure if the gun could have helped since they like to ambush from behind and jump on your back and attack the neck. That’s what happened with the bikers.

    2. @Beau:

      Thanks for your correction. That’s a nifty website link.

      I wasn’t totally sure about 1 versus 2 deaths when I was typing yesterday, but now I clearly remember the story of how someone came to the aid of the woman who got attacked. It took your website to jog my memory.

      This was a big deal to me back then. I was riding my bike all around Irvine Regional Park, and I was also hiking deep into Trabuco Canyon. Both of those surround the park where the bikers were attacked. Looking back on it now, I was really dumb to hike Trabuco Canyon alone. In Arizona, where I live now, it’s a whole different thing when you can carry a gun.

      But 90% of my biking and hiking was near the beach, inside El Moro Canyon, Crystal Cove State Park. There were no mountain lions there.

    3. Any responsible hunter would consider the population of the species being hunted. The Florida black bears have a low genetic diversity. They are already developing mutations with reproductive organs as a result to inbreeding caused by habitat fragmentation. The only reason there were so many complaints is because of the harvesting of saw palmetto berries, their primary food source. These bears were only seeking out food from other sources. This isn’t about hunters and anti-hunters. It’s about trophy hunters vs actual scientific evidence. Responsible hunters do not want this.

  4. Florida black bears just got off the endangered species list recently, and Florida has sold almost 2,000 permits for hunters to kill 320 bears – roughly six times the number of permits over bears allowed. Every hunter knows that unless he kills a bear quickly, he may have just thrown away a hundred dollars.

    Anyone who wants to hunt black bears in Florida needs to remember we took away their habitat to build our own.

    Florida black bears are not a nuisance, nor are they dangerous to the population. Out west, we learn to deal with them. Here in Florida, just shoot em’ up!

    Whats next? The still endangered Florida panther?

    1. Tom, Tom, Tom.
      We all know by now most big-time morons are either Republicans or tea baggers. It’s so bad now, Republicans don’t even trust Republicans.

      That’s why Trump, Carson and Fiorina are leading your party now. They’re all outsiders who haven’t yet burned their own members with years of lies and BS. The CLOWN CAR of Republicans is full this season, with every candidate trying to go farther to the right with every sentence they utter. The ONLY good and smart one was John Kasich and he sounded too normal and not angry enough, so he’s out!

      And, in the end, the best GOP clown will end up losing to Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton – GUARANTEED! Al la Romney/Ryan and the disastrous McCain-Palin ticket. What a hoot that was! Stupid went everywhere!

      The bottom line? Republicans cannot be trusted. They start wars, run up massive debts and crash the global economy, all while towing a purely CORPORATE line which screws Republicans, the middle class, and the environment mostly.

      Need proof?
      SEE: George W. Bush and Dick (deficits don’t matter) Cheney

      Wanna feel better? Just walk up to any animal in the woods, just standing there and shoot it for ‘sport’, and then lie to everyone about how you went ‘HUNTING’. What a joke. They should only allow bow hunters, or spear hunters. using a rifle to shoot a standing Florida black bear, a nearly endangered animal, is cowardly, senseless and foolish.

      But you go ahead – republican.

    2. I’m sorry but your comment just doesn’t make any sense .Perhaps if you cut back on those funny ciggies before you write……..9

    3. “And, in the end, the best GOP clown will end up losing to Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton – GUARANTEED! Al la Romney/Ryan and the disastrous McCain-Palin ticket. What a hoot that was! Stupid went everywhere”…..

      I bet you feel foolish now….

    4. Of course game and fish agencies sell many times the number of permits over the desired population of ANY game animal to be culled! If you think hunter success rates approach 100% for each big game permit sold you have obviously never been hunting. For Florida to sell 2000 permits when 320 animals are to be harveste they must expect a hunter success rate of approaxiately 16% which sounds reasonable to me

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