Update: Florida's Black Bear hunt starts in less than 40 days. Over 2,000 hunters, including a Florida Wildlife Commissioner, are locked and loaded. But hunters are already bragging about their plans to kill way more bears than allowed. Click here to help support the Black Bear Legal Fund, and stop this bloodbath before it's too late.
Florida Black Bear hunters are slashing the days off of their calendars, cleaning their guns and getting ready to take out as many black bears as possible in less than 40 days. Despite assurances by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) that they'll stop the hunt when 300 bears are killed, their rules can't stop the hunt for two days, no matter what happens.1 And with a projection of 4,000 permits sold to hunt 300 bears, a ratio of 13:1, it's very likely more bears will be killed than planned.
If we don't act fast to stop the FWC plan in court, hundreds more bears could be killed before the they can stop the hunt. Even more troubling is the declaration from some hunters that they plan on killing bears illegally -- and are boasting about the plans on a Facebook page owned by an FWC Commissioner's ranch.2 Commissioner Liesa Priddy, who owns the JB Ranch in bear territory, not only purchased a permit for the hunt she approved, she's bragging about killing bears on social media and and other hunters are responding with brazen plans to kill more bears than the law Priddy is sworn to uphold.
With commissioners like Priddy, it's not surprising that trophy-seeking hunters think they have license to kill first and ask questions later. So we're asking the court for an immediate injunction to stop the hunt before Priddy's ambiguous rules destroy the fragile population of bears in Florida. But for our case to be successful, we're going to need a lot of help. Can you chip in to help save the Florida Black Bear before it's too late?
FWC's "rules" say they plan to "keep in touch with hunters via text and email," and that they'll use this instant communication to tell hunters when it's time to stop. But even the hunters are saying they don't bring laptops into the wilderness with them and cell service is minimal in the Apalachee forest. We've seen posts on social media where hunters brag they will use that lack of connectivity as an excuse to kill more bears.
Our injunction is really the last chance to save these bears. We can't count on FWC since they're already ignoring the voters' instruction "to conduct management, preservation and conservation decision-making based on sound science."4 They're not following science, they're not even following basic arithmetic. That's why we are joining our friends at Speak Up Wekiva and Center for Biological Diversity to mount a legal challenge against FWC that will stop this hunt dead in its tracks before it tracks a bunch of dead bears.
With only one month left to save the bears 2,000 trophy hunters are loading for Bear and preparing to follow Commissioner Priddy into the woods -- some may even pay Priddy to hunt bears on her ranch. The bears are literally surrounded and this lawsuit is all that stands in the way of potential Black Bear slaughter. Please click here and help support the bears' day in court.
Thanks for all you do,
Anthony and the Environmental Action Bear Brigade
1. Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission: Final Bear Hunting Rules.
2. Screenshot of FB Ranch Outfitters Facebook page
3. Turner, Jim. Lawsuit Seeks To Block Return Of Bear Hunting In Florida. Orlando Weekly. July 31, 2015.