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THE FLORIDA BEAR HUNT: FACT VERSUS FICTION

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North Florida Writer Live

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TONIGHT WE WILL DISCUSS A SUBJECT WHICH HAS SPARKED GREAT CONTROVERSY IN FLORIDA IN RECENT WEEKS.  THIS PAST SATURDAY MARKED THE OPENING DAY OF THE FIRST LEGAL BEAR HUNT IN FLORIDA IN 21 YEARS AND THE HUNT SPARKED STRONG VIEWS ON BOTH SIDES AS HUNTING USUALLY DOES WITH RUMORS FLYING ABOUT ALL WEEKEND.  WITH A LIMIT OF 315 BEAR WHICH COULD BE TAKEN OVER A ONE WEEK PERIOD, THE HUNT WAS ENDED LATE SUNDAY AFTERNOON WHEN A TOTAL OF 295 ANIMALS HAD BEEN CHECKED IN AT HUNTING STATIONS.  

THE FLORIDA WILDLIFE COMMISSION (FWC)  MANAGED THE HUNT AND DECIDED TO HALT IT SUNDAY SINCE PARTICIPANTS HAD UNTIL NOON THE NEXT DAY TO BRING ANIMALS IN.  THEY THOUGHT THE LIMIT WAS LIKELY TO BE EXCEEDED BASED UPON PROJECTIONS, BUT ON MONDAY THE FINAL TOTAL WAS 298.  NOW THE "AFTER THE HUNT" ANALYSIS, BOTH PRO AND CON WILL CONTINUE AS THE FWC PLANS ANOTHER HUNT NEXT YEAR.

ESTIMATES PRIOR TO THE HUNT WERE THAT BETWEEN 3300-3500 NATIVE BLACK BEAR WERE ACTIVE IN FLORIDA. IN THE PAST YEAR 5 ATTACKS ON HUMANS BY THE BEAR HAVE BEEN NOTED AND 2 SERIOUS CAR WRECKS ON FLORIDA ROADS INVOLVED BLACK BEAR.  WHILE THIS CONTRIBUTED TO THE SUPPORT FOR THE HUNT, I SUSPECT THAT ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DESIRES PROBABLY WERE MORE OF A JUSTIFICATION.  THE POINT IS THAT YOU CAN'T BLAME THE HUNTERS AND YOU CAN'T BLAME THE BEARS BUT YOU CAN LOOK VERY CAREFULLY AT THE USE OF LAND FOR THE WRONG REASONS IN MANY PLACES.

TONIGHT'S NORTH FLORIDA WRITER LIVE AT 9:30 TONIGHT WILL DISCUSS THIS AND THE PROS AND CONS OF THE HUNT. IF YOU LOVE OR HATE HUNTING, THERE IS SOMETHING IN THE SHOW TONIGHT FOR EVERYONE.  I'LL TRY TO ADDRESS THIS TOPIC FROM THE STANDPOINT OF GOD'S GRANTING DOMINION TO MAN FOR ALL LIVING THINGS AND WHAT THAT MEANS IN THIS INSTANCE.

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