The final Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) hearing to reopen the season will be held in Sarasota the week of June 23, 2015.
I have been working on this since I established the Tallahassee Chapter in 2005. I invited Diane Eggemont, the head of the FWCC Bear Management Project at that time, to come to our first Chapter meeting to discuss the process. It involved collecting hair samples in numerous locations, having their DNA analyzed, and their locations documented.
There were more than 3,000 bears documented in 2001 and this was used as the basis to start the science to prove that a season was viable. It is known that there are more bears than that now, but the quota is set at only 20 percent across four of the six statewide Bear Management Units (BMUs).
I was appointed to the Commission’s Black Bear Technical Assistance Group (TAG) and had an active part in establishing the guidelines and recommendations for the hunt.
We had three bear attacks on humans in the last 16 months and needed to get this done quickly before a life was lost. This is one of the great advantages I have of being located in the State Capitol.
I also coordinated our Statewide Chapter SCI response when we helped support and pass the rule denying importation of live cervids into the state to prevent the spread of CWD in our managed herds.
What is needed now is for all SCI Members, and any others who support this cause, to attend the June FWCC meeting in Sarasota and signup to speak for final acceptance of the Bear Hunt proposal that was approved on April 15.
All chapter members also need to email support for this to FWCC. The details are on their website.
As a point of information, one of the anti-groups generated over 37,000 emails prior to the April 15 meeting, but they had little standing because they were emotional and not biological in nature. Make all correspondence professional, factual and with respect for the great job our FWCC continually does for us.–Steve Greenwell Director-at-Large