We are now less than three weeks away from the scheduled start of the Florida Black Bear hunt. While we escalate our lawsuit contesting the constitutionality of the hunt, its important that we prepare for the hunt should it proceed. Several things became clear about this hunt during the hearing on the motion for a temporary injunction:
1) The FWC does not have any way to effectively enforce that those hunting black bears have a permit to do so. There are no check-in stations where a hunter needs to show his/her permit before entering a wildlife management area.
2) The FWC does not have any way to insure that hunters bring their kill to a check station to be included in the count for the total "harvest objective."
3) Although the rules say no female should be killed in the presence of cubs, there is no feasible way of the FWC monitoring this. There are no provisions being made to locate orphaned cubs before they starve to death or are killed crossing a road.
4) Once the "harvest objective" is reached, there is no systematic way of spreading the word to hunters in the woods that the hunt has been called off.
5) There is no systematic way to insure that bears that are shot but not killed are included in the total of the "harvest objective."
As a result, we are asking members of the public who wish to volunteer as Bear Hunt Monitors to contact Speak Up Wekiva at www.SpeakUpWekiva.com . Without endangering yourself, we would like volunteers to help document the hunt by taking photographs of vehicles carrying dead bears during the hunt so that we can match license plates with the permit list. We would like volunteers to report numbers of bears brought into check stations along with license plates of the vehicles entering the stations. We would like volunteers willing to blow air horns in three successive blasts on the borders of wooded areas to alert hunters once the hunt has been called off.
Finally, after the hunt has been called off, we would like volunteers to enter wooded areas in the four Bear Management Units where the hunt will occur to locate orphaned cubs before they are killed or starve to death. We will have qualified wildlife experts on call to assist in the rehabilitation of cubs.
While we remain hopeful that this hunt will be stopped, we ask for volunteers to be prepared to minimize the damage done and protect the Florida Black Bear from the gross negligence of the FWC.
Please fill out the contact info form on the "Contact Us" page to volunteer as a Bear Hunt Monitor.