If the situation continues to evolve as it is now, there will be less bears in Florida than bear-hunters in the near future. It is precisely the concern of animal rights activists and groups protesting against the bear hunt to occur this fall in the Sunshine State and avid hunters have voice out their own rebuttals.
The words “trophy hunt” are used to condemn those eager to take out their rifles, night goggles, camouflage equipment and several packs of beer before wandering through the forests of Florida in order to shoot down black bears. The term has seen great popularity in social media, criticizing all that would take part of the hunt.
The problem is still fresh in the minds of animal rights activists and the Humane Society, as not so long ago, a 55-year old dentist named Walter J. Palmer lured a lion out of a national park with bait and killed it. The illegal hunt has seen to the man receiving serious backlash, smearing of his name across the media and vandalizing his house.
Now, most Florida black bear hunters are trying to keep to the shadows of anonymity in order to avoid similar treatment. A number of 1,430 licenses have been sold in the first week for the hunt starting on October 24th, in spite of the protests from several animal rights groups who call the decision from the Fish and Wildlife that permitted such a thing as not being in the interest of the state, science or bears.
However, hunters are backed by recent numbers and statistics, with more bears venturing out onto people’s properties and causing car accidents. Since 1994, hunting black bears has been banned and now the rectification has come in order to trim down the population.
It’s expected that the matter will see viciously conflicting opinions. The activists do have at least one solid argument that has garnered attention. Currently there are a number of 3,000 bears in Florida and if hunts persist, they might soon be too low for preserving the species.
However the Fish and Wildlife Community (FWC) intends to lower the population by just a more manageable 20%. The limit has been set to have only 320 bears killed during the hunt, including 100 in Central Florida, which means that out of the over 1,400 hunters, most will go home with empty hands.
The effort is set to trim the risk of overpopulating black bears, who have been wandering too often into suburban neighborhoods lately, by providing a classic American rifle-hunt, with no bait or dogs allowed. It will last between 2 and 7 days, depending on how fast the limit is reached.
Hunting licenses will be available until October 23rd, at $100 for Florida residents and $300 for avid hunters that come from out of state.
For some, it’s the thrill of the hunt, for others is the glory, and for some, such as Carmen Payne, is the very essence of the hunt that drives them forward, who has claimed that nothing will go to waste, not the fur nor the meat, because doing otherwise will violate the very true definition of a hunter.
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