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harbison

To Hunt Or Not To Hunt Bear In Florida

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:huh:    

BEAR HUNTING
Many of us, myself included, were extremely disappointed with the FWC's decision not to have organized bear hunting this year.
As such, I contacted Mr. Nick Wiley, Executive Director FWC, regarding my, our, concerns. 
Mr. Wiley's response:
 
Hello Bob. I do know how much you support FWC and this is appreciated.  So when you express concerns like this, I listen.   I realize you and a lot of other good folks are disappointed about the decision to not have a bear hunt this year.  Please know this decision by our Commission was not easy for them or staff and involves some complexities much deeper than your conclusions suggest.  I promise you this was not about caving into anti hunters.  If you had been at our meeting and been able to hear how our Commissioner's explain their difficulty with this decision, you would understand better.   They listened to hours and hours of public testimony.  Yes some of the people who testified could be described as anti hunters, but many were people who really didn't have much opinion about hunting until they heard about this issue.  That is the part that concerned many of our Commissioners.  They came to the conclusion that going forward this year with so many people so concerned would likely cause more people to have a bad opinion of hunting.  They felt it would be best to take a year off and work to better explain why bear hunting is important and necessary and try harder to help people (not anti hunters) better understand and accept that bear hunting is a needed population management tool and what we need to do.  We believe it is better for all hunters and all types of hunting in Florida if we take a pause and let things calm down rather than continue forward in a manner that appears to be forcing the issue.     
 
I can tell you without hesitation that all of our Commissioners very much support hunting and are thinking about the longer term future of hunting.  I also know for sure that our Governor is a strong supporter of hunting so I believe we will get to a better place as we work through this challenge with bear hunting.  Please be patient with us and hang on to your faith in our agency and our Commissioners.  Take care.  Nick

Nick Wiley
Executive Director
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
 
My response:
Nick, thank you so very much for your in depth response. I fully understand that to hunt, or not to hunt, bear is a very controversial subject. As a native Floridian and life long hunter I see hunting, when properly managed, as a valuable control means. I personally have seen the  destruction caused by the ever increasing bear population. How better to control than through highly regulated hunting.
Hopefully, come 2017, control, rather than over-population, will become a reality.
 Thanks again!   Bob Harbison

 

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