Florida Black Bear Hunt Represents Failure of Wildlife Management

Florida just held its first bear hunt in several decades, targeting 300 of the bruins for death. Just three years ago, the black bear was listed as threatened, and the state’s bears had not been hunted since 1994.

The proximate reason for the hunt is that bears, according to representatives of the Florida Wildlife Commission, is that a growing bear population is contributing to greater conflicts between humans and bears. Hunters and the Wildlife Commission like to portray the issue as “problem bears”, but the reality is that there are no problem bears, only problem humans.

Most of these conflicts are due to human negligence. People leaving food attractants like unsecured garbage cans which train bears to forage near humans.

Ironically, indiscriminate hunting is not likely to reduce conflicts. For one thing, most hunters do not hunt immediately next to subdivisions where most conflicts are occurring. Rather they are most likely to the larger parcels of public or private lands. So the animals that hunters are killing, are not likely to be the ones that are wandering the edges of communities.

The second problem with indiscriminate hunting is that it’s difficult for a hunter to determine the sex of a bear. Many females with cubs are killed, leaving the young bears orphaned. Orphaned bears are inexperienced at foraging and desperate to eat, are more likely to be attracted to human foods.

So in effect, hunting only exacerbates the problem that the Florida Wildlife Commission seeks to solve.

The worse part of the hunt is that it ignores the social ecology of predators. Fish and Game agency always talk about maintaining populations. The problem with this kind of management is that it ignores the demographics of wildlife. Hunting tends to skew populations towards younger animals. So even if you maintain the same “population” if the population consists of many young inexperienced animals, you automatically create conflicts. Young animals are less likely to know the location of natural food resources, and are less successful as hunters. As a consequence, they are the very animals most likely to seek out garbage, livestock, and other human food resources.

Whether it is hunting of black bears in Florida, or the recent announcement by Oregon’s Fish and Wildlife to increase cougar hunting, wildlife agencies across the country tend to ignore predator social ecology. In effect, by having indiscriminate hunting and trapping of predators, these state wildlife agencies create a self-reinforcing loop. Predators are killed, resulting in a younger population, which in turn is more likely to create human conflicts, that are then used as an additional justification for more killing.

I see no evidence anywhere that state wildlife agencies are using the latest ecological science in their attitude and management of predators. It suggests that wildlife agencies cannot be trusted to manage predators. Keep in mind, that predators numbers will not grow indefinitely. They are self-managing, primarily by the availability of prey and food, as well as social interaction. Except perhaps for very specific surgical removal of individual animals, there is no good justification for killing predators. Even the argument that “I’m feeding my family” used by some hunters seldom applies to most predators which are not usually consumed.

Predators serve an important ecological function. Bears, for instance, move seeds of some plants around—think of the huckleberry that may be deposited in their droppings. Cougar can thin elk and deer herds to reduce their herbivory on favor plants like aspen and willow. Wolves can remove the injured and sick from a population.

Hunting of predators makes no sense in today’s world.






  1. Yvette Avatar

    I didn’t see this when I posted in the open thread a few minuets ago. I’m glad you wrote this, George. This so called management that we’re doing with wildlife in the U.S. is a philosophy based to satisfy those who enjoy killing more than it is about managing wildlife based on science.

    I copied my post from the open thread.

    The black bear hunt in Florida ended after two days and over 300 bears killed. That included lactating females. It also included cubs, which were not supposed to be killed/”harvested”.

    “The more bears you have, the more likely you are to succeed,” she said.”

    A while I asked about or read somewhere about the quotas that South Dakota had set for mountain lions. My question was the success rate for the kill/harvest of those mountain lions was going down and did that mean the wildlife managers should reevaluate what they think was the population. Maybe there weren’t as many as they believed. I know it’s been a while and it’s a different species with different behavior but the response I got was something along the line of “just because a quota is set doesn’t mean they have to ‘meet’ that quota”. My train of thought was if it’s getting more difficult to kill/”harvest” then the population may not be as robust as the wildlife managers believe or say it is.

    Now, on the Nokose Lvste (black bear in our language) massacre that just happened in Florida, here is a quote in the Orlando Sentinal, “Diane Eggeman, FWC’s hunting director, admitted Sunday the wildlife agency had underestimated the rate of hunter success but pointed out the high harvest total also may suggest that the black bear population is larger than the current estimate of 3,500.

    “The more bears you have, the more likely you are to succeed,” she said.” (I added the bold). I think I agree with her. It makes sense with black bears in FL and it makes sense with mountain lions in SD.


    The Florida black bear hadn’t been hunted in 24 years and STILL some people baited them, which was illegal. They also killed lactating females and they killed cubs. How stupid are these hunters? I think awfully stupid if you have to bait the bear.

    The ethics of this black bear hunt is being questioned, as it should be.


    “I think there are two strong strains here that get confused in our society. There are people who are really committed to wildlife conservation,” conservation expert Will James tells the National Geographic last year. “And then there are animal rights advocates, who believe that every animal is ethically considerable and should have the right to live.”

    The latter group, James explains, doesn’t take into account that nature has its own way of culling when a specific region is overpopulated by a certain animal, and that the ways animals die under these circumstances may entail more suffering.

    “If wildlife managers don’t cull, then nature culls, and we will see animals starving [and] habitat types that used to be vibrant and beautiful consisting of highly reduced numbers of species.”

    One of the problems with James’ statement is he didn’t address the loss of habitat or the conflict of humans being encouraged to pick and harvest palmetto berries.

    How good is the science and what good is it good for if the only resolution is a bullet and the thrill to kill?

    1. Scott Slocum Avatar

      Yvette: another problem with that “quote of a quote” from Will James in the Christian Science Monitor is that it excludes what types of animal populations he was apparently talking about culling: overpopulated geese and deer. An odd twist of logic for an article about the Florida bear hunt.

    2. Nancy Avatar

      “Sometimes it seems as humans do think but do not deeply feel. It would be disturbing if a pig screamed ‘I am in terror! Don’t kill me!’
      This, of course, is exactly what a pig says as it’s being killed. It can’t speak English but neither can many people in France.

      Every other animal I’ve known seems as interested in living as any human. In fact, many humans seem less interested. Self-destructive behavior, for instance, seems distinctly human. Depression-related suicide appears nonexistent in free-living animals. Most animals do everything they can do to stay alive” Carl Safina/Beyond Words

      Started reading Safina’s book yesterday and finished it this morning. Couldn’t put it down for long. A must read. 10 stars. Carl Safina “feels deeply” and his book is a reflection of his feelings.

      The book is packed with interesting stories, scientific information of not only his 3 main, non human species – elephants, wolves and killer whales – and how they’ve interacted with their own species, for ions, he goes much further and relates stories that will give you a chill when you realize how other species, many of their numbers dwindling, are working hard to open mankind’s eyes before our numbers start dwindling……

      1. Ida Lupines Avatar
        Ida Lupines

        We need to face the fact that some people don’t think or deeply feel anything beyond the basic reptilian brain level (apologies to the real reptiles!)

        1. Ida Lupines Avatar
          Ida Lupines

          **These include pure survival instinct, direct stimulus-response, fight-or-flight response, competition, aggression, domination, repetition, ritual, and the desire to hoard resources.

      2. Mareks Vilkins Avatar
        Mareks Vilkins

        Self-destructive behavior, for instance, seems distinctly human


        Mass strandings of dolphins, whales, and other marine mammals date back to the time of Aristotle

      3. Louise Kane Avatar
        Louise Kane

        +1 Nancy
        humans recognize sadness, fear and pain in other human regardless of their spoken language. Acts of overt aggressive and killing of other humans is labeled as genocide, a highly frowned on despicable action. Yet, humans ignore clear signs of pain, fear, anxiety and terror in animals and set up agencies to “manage” aka kill them for human joy and entertainment (trophy hunting). For many like myself I can not comprehend the cruelty and self entitlement never mind that kind of shortsightedness. There are near 8 billion people on earth and many populations of wild animals are in the thousands, or even hundreds. In looking at humans from a biological perspective, we are an overpopulated plague. Imagine how states would manage humans if humans were ….well not human. How many would be allowed to live?

        1. Louise Kane Avatar
          Louise Kane

          Humans have so little tolerance for other species that they are often regarded as pests or nuisance animals when enough of them somehow manage to flourish. The animals that are seen out and about are perceived as being so numerous that they are labeled overpopulated. Here on Cape Cod just as we start to see wild turkeys the discussion turns to hunting. Predators that are seen during the day are thought to be ill or overpopulated. Imagine if other species, gobble dup land, killed other humans in competition for space or resources or went on organized murderous rampages against humans. That’s what we do to wildlife. The wonder is that there are any wild animals left, the ones that are have hard enough lives do humans really have the right to hunt them in the few places they find small refuges,such as in parks, wilderness refuges and public lands? I think not.

    3. Helen McGinnis Avatar
      Helen McGinnis

      South Dakota Game Fish & Parks is setting high “caps” (not quotas) because they are deliberately reducing the Black Hills cougar population by allowing overhunting. Part of the Black Hills are in Wyoming; the Wyoming Game Commission is cooperating in this endeavor. The reason for reducing the cougar population is “more deer–more elk.”

      1. Leslie Avatar

        Yes, last I looked the border there was unlimited hunt on cougars

    4. Louise Kane Avatar
      Louise Kane

      Yvette, the biggest problem with Jamee’s statement is that there was no evidence Florida bears were starving

      1. Joan Davis Avatar
        Joan Davis

        You are correct. The photos of our Florida black bears killed are of very healthy, shiny coated bears. The hunt was a highly controversial political decision by our governor, Rick Scott, and his appointed Florida Wildlife Commissioners (FWC) made up of developers, ranchers, hunters, non-conservation special interests for the benefit of trophy hunters. It was indeed a tragic massacre. As wildlife protection activists in Florida, we are in the process of legally and politically forcing change in the way wildlife conservation is handled in our state.

  2. Kathleen Avatar

    These protesters are, among other things, criticizing who serves on the FWC.

  3. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    From the CSM article:

    but for Central Florida and the eastern Panhandle, the hunting ended in just one day. In those areas, 112 bears were killed – three times the regional kill quota.

    “None of these numbers are worrying to us,” Thomas Eason, director of FWC’s division of habitat and species conservation, tells the Orlando Sentinel. “We have large, resilient, growing bear populations.”

    Well, it ought to be worrying to anyone in a civilized society that some cannot abide by hunting rules and kill way over the limit, and out of control.

    Nature’s culling is much preferable to mankind’s more torturous and species-destroying methods such as taking the biggest and best, and lactating mothers.

    1. Ida Lupines Avatar
      Ida Lupines

      Sorry, over-italicizing – this was my rant part:

      Well, it ought to be worrying to anyone in a civilized society that some cannot abide by hunting rules and kill way over the limit, and out of control.

      Nature’s culling is much preferable to mankind’s more torturous and species-destroying methods such as taking the biggest and best, and lactating mothers.

  4. Daily Kumquat Avatar

    For those who can stomach the graphic images, I have posted a personal account of Florida’s bloodbath at the following link:


  5. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    Most of the news titles have been somewhat restrained, but here’s the most accurate one I’ve seen:

    Florida Goes Bear Killing Crazy – Statewide Hunt Ends in Two Days With 300 Animals Dead

  6. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    Here’s an interesting article from the Miami Herald – nobody can kill just one I guess, this man has two that he’s crowing over.

    This really isn’t hunting, it’s more like extermination for ridiculous-sounding ‘nuisance’ complaints and modern-day annoyances. It makes Floridians sound overly-indulged and lazy. The handful of encounters people have had are easily remedied by just expending a little effort to ensure trash doesn’t attract wildlife, and keeping an eye on pets.

    Euphemistically (or not) FWC has said though the hunt was ‘successful’, there are things they will ‘do differently’ if there’s a hunt next year – probably so they won’t have to call an emergency halt after only one or two days before it gets totally out of control.

    Florida’s Week-Long Bear Hunt Ends in Just Two Days

  7. Leslie Avatar

    Bears are never the problem. ALways people with their food, livestock, etc.

  8. monty Avatar

    Florida now has about 18 million humans plus their breeding habits and in migration of new comers. It’s simple math folks, more human tonnage less bears. Plus more room is required for the feral pigs and pythons.

  9. James Avatar

    Wildlife agencies are charged with “conserving” the wildlife resources of the state. Conservation is all about wise and sustainable use of a resource.

    It is impossible for to make all citizens happy. If the science supports harvesting some bears for sport,without depleting the population, then they are justified in allowing limited hunting. Folks have been harvesting bears in other states for a long time and with proper management the populations are stable and many continue to grow.

    1. Norris Thomlinson Avatar

      That’s nice, but there doesn’t seem to be any science supporting this slaughter. The last population count occurred in 2002. The number of hunting licenses issued was significantly larger than the estimated number of bears.

      Even if you grant bureaucrats and scientists an unlikely level of competence at understanding how much humans can interfere with nature, this was set up as a slaughter, not a scientifically driven sustainable management program.

      Further, bears are not “resources”; they are beings with lives just as valuable to them as yours is to you. To treat them as numbers to be harvested for our profit is tragically consistent with how this culture sees all of nature. This culture can never be sustainable, and must be dismantled and replaced with cultures rooted in relationship with the land and all its inhabitants.

      1. Ida Lupine Avatar
        Ida Lupine

        That’s just it – FWC doesn’t even know how many bears the state actually has, and proceeded with an extermination anyway! They didn’t even wait for the count results!!!!!

        This is not hunting, no hunting language is in the articles.

        What is in the articles is how the bears are considered a ‘nuisance’, an annoyance, a danger, and in the way of human activities and development! That’s extermination, getting rid of them en masse like ‘vermin’.

        It was done cruelly and unintelligently. Despite what FWC mouthpieces say, it looks like they had to call an emergency halt because things were beginning to get out of control, and more bad PR.

        To say they had no idea the hunt would proceed that quickly is very disingenuous – it was and is the same with wolves, and will be the same with grizzlies.

        Triune brain characteristics – does not learn from past mistakes.

        I’m starting to see that wildlife is better off in extreme places where humans can’t live – Chernobyl or the far north! I don’t like it, but I can see it.

        In an overdeveloped state of 20 million, the third most populous in the nation, hunting is an anachronism. It no longer fits.

        Thanks George, Mareks and all for the great articles.

      2. Joan Davis Avatar
        Joan Davis

        Amen to that, Norris! Moral decay and sadistic depravity was on full display in the woods of Florida last weekend.

    2. Nancy Avatar

      James – Did you look at the like Daily Kumquat posted above? This wasn’t management, it was two days of slaughter.


      1. Louise Kane Avatar
        Louise Kane

        The bears were accustomed to not being molested so slaughter is an especially relevant word about this revolting hunting event. Much like wolves being hunted in 2010. Revolting slaughter

  10. Norris Thomlinson Avatar

    Reminds me of stories out of Chernobyl about flourishing wildlife populations. Catastrophic nuclear meltdown radiation zones are better for wildlife than is industrial civilization. The only way to stop the constant assault on nature is to dismantle civilization.

    1. Mareks Vilkins Avatar
      Mareks Vilkins

      not ‘civilization’ as such but peculiar ‘capitalist free-markets’

      compare sustainable cooperative movement which is florishing in the US and includes ~130 M members

      The Cooperative Economy

      1. Mareks Vilkins Avatar
        Mareks Vilkins

        nuclear meltdown radiation zones are better for wildlife than is industrial civilization.

        I guess the NRM wouldn’t qualify as industrial civilization in the Lower 48, but its wildlife management is as brutal
        for top predators as one could imagine

      2. Nancy Avatar

        Excellent article, Mareks. Thanks.

        1. Mareks Vilkins Avatar
          Mareks Vilkins


          one more bit:


          The idea of freedom is very frightening for those who have some degree of privilege and power and I think that shows up in the education system too. And in the workplace… for example, there’s a very good study by a faculty member here, who was denied tenure unfortunately, who studied very carefully the development of computer controlled machine tools – first developed in the 1950s under the military where almost everything is done…

          What is his name?

          David Noble. He has a couple of very good books – one of them is called Forces of Production. What he discovered was that as these methods were devised there was a choice – whether to design the methods so that control would be in the hands of skilled machinists or whether it would be controlled by management. They picked the second, although it was not more profitable – when they did studies they found there was no profit advantage to it but it’s just so important to keep workers under control than to have skilled machinists run the industrial process. One reason is that if that mentality spreads sooner or later workers are going to demand what seems obvious to them anyway – that they should just take over the factories and get rid of the bosses who don’t do anything but get in their way. That’s frightening. That’s pretty much what led to the New Deal. The New Deal measures were to some extent sparked by the fact that strikes were reaching the level of sit down strikes, and a sit down strike is just one millimetre away from saying, ‘Well why are we sitting here? Let’s run the place’.

          If you go back to the 19th century working class literature, by now there’s quite a lot of working class literature, there’s quite a lot of material on [these ideas]. This is mostly right around here where the industrial revolution first started in the United States. Working people were bitterly opposed to the industrial system, they said it was taking away their freedom, their independence, their rights as members of a free republic, that it was destroying their culture. They thought that workers should simply own the mills and run them themselves. In the 19th century here, without any influence of Marxism or any European thinking, it was pretty much assumed that wage labour is about the same as slavery – it’s different only in that it’s temporary. That was such a cliché that it was a slogan of the Republican Party. And for northern workers in the civil war that was the banner under which they fought – that wage slavery is as bad as slavery. That had to be beaten out of people’s heads.

          I don’t think it’s far under the surface, I think it could come back at any time. I think it could come back right now – Obama pretty much owns the auto industry and is closing down auto plants, meanwhile his government is making contracts with Spain and France to build high tech rail facilities which the US is very backward in – and using federal stimulus money to pay for it. Sooner or later it’s going to occur to working people in Detroit that ‘we can do those things – let’s take over the factory and do it’. It could lead to industrial revival here and that would be very frightening to the banks and the managerial class.

          1. Peter Kiermeir Avatar
            Peter Kiermeir

            “Obama pretty much owns the auto industry and is closing down auto plants….”


  11. rork Avatar

    Any evidence about the degree of alteration to age structure by bear hunting? What is the actual rate of people eating the meat? I’m asking because I can’t tell if those arguments are any good in fact (rather than in theory).
    I also question whether hunting increases problems in fact (rather than in theory). I’m used to hunting limiting the bear population in MI. In my theory, a doubling of the population (which I think is possible) might mean that more would find it necessary to try and use resources closer to human habitation – which they otherwise might try not to do, cause they really would rather not be around us. We have hunting while still having fairly high bear densities in wild areas up north.

  12. Mareks Vilkins Avatar
    Mareks Vilkins

    Most Dangerous Animals in Florida: Top 10


    most of these dangerous animals want nothing more than to be left alone and will not attack humans unless they are startled, feel threatened, or are trying to protect their young. If you respect them, they are very unlikely to attack you.

    Some animals, such as the Florida black bear and the Florida panther, have suffered from shrinking habitats due to human encroachment over the years and are now endangered species, meaning that in a very real sense, they are more threatened by us than the other way around!

    1. Yvette Avatar

      We have most of those in Oklahoma. Of course, we don’t have the marine animals and we don’t have the gators. We have a lot of brown recluse spiders and getting bit causes a severe problems if not properly treated within about 12 hours. (what I’ve been told) Most don’t because they don’t realize they were bitten. I’ve been repeatedly warned about the feral hogs but so far I’ve not crossed paths with them. Last week I was warned that there are a lot of snakes this year. They were right. Two days in a row I crossed ‘paths’ in a creek with snakes; one was a water moccasin and I am unsure of the species of the other one. He moved away from too fast. Both of the snakes quickly moved away from me. They wanted nothing to do with me.

      Mareks, it’s been a while back, but I read that the black bear ‘problem’ in FL is largely due to the continued increase in development and housing divisions. My opinion is FL should drastically limit the development and building. There are just too many people. I think you will enjoy the following short video from the Miccosukee Tribe of FL. This tribe is closely related to my own.

      These people are witnessing and living with the ecological devastation that could destroy cultural ways. Too much development and too many people.


      1. Ida Lupines Avatar
        Ida Lupines

        That was beautiful. It’s heartbreaking to many what is happening to the natural world. I hate that for native people, their culture is being lost to the dominant superficial and shallow culture. They are the only ethnic groups who aren’t allowed to own their own culture! Some of the more offensive sports team names really have to go.

        I’ve not seen big ‘gators, only the younger ones in Louisiana. It really is a beautiful, unique environment.

        Going over the bear hunting quota in the East Panhandle now is being attributed to mean possibly ‘more bears than we thought’. How I hate spin. How do they figure that? Could it possibly mean hunters who don’t and have no intention of following the rules, or overly zealous and trigger-happy?

        1. Elk375 Avatar

          Ida, all quota’s are set lower so that if they are exceeded the quota no harm will be done. Montana is the only state in the nation that sells big horn sheep tags over the counter and each district has a quota and that quota is set in case it is exceeded with no biological harm done to the population.

          1. Scott Slocum Avatar

            This terminology has rarely been fully defined (because it wouldn’t sound so good if it was), and as public awareness grows in a broad array of related areas, it’s enjoying less and less acceptance:

            “No harm done.”

            “No biological harm done to the population.”

            In most cases, and in this case, it seems to mean something like “no long-term effect on statewide numbers is expected (and that’s the only metric we’re going to measure or acknowledge).”

            1. Yvette Avatar

              Spot on, Scott. One of my biggest concerns in wildlife management/hunting is it’s still being managed from a numbers standpoint, and only looking at overall populations rather than individuals.

              It may take the remainder of my life but I think we will move away from managing animals as inanimate objects to be counted and tallied. The more we learn the more we see that individuals are important and far more than mere objects to tallied by overall populations.

    2. PuppyHugger Avatar

      Very upsetting to see Florida black bear in that list! No one has ever been killed by a Florida black bear and “forever”. Nearly every incident has involved people feeding bears or sows protecting cubs. The injuries were not severe and if a bear wanted to kill you, you would be very dead. The Florida panther is our state’s symbol but, with less than 200 in existence FWC wants to hunt them. When FWC commissioners are developers / hunters the animals are only a priority when mounted in their mansions.

  13. Ida Lupine Avatar
    Ida Lupine


    I thought this man did some wonderful things for the environment and Everglades when he was governor. 🙁

  14. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    I don’t know how it can be said that this thing was a success when one zone killed over quota by a factor of 3. Gun nuts gone wild.

    Here’s an opinion from the Orlando Sentinel that although he generally supports hunting, but does not like the way this one was (mis)managed.


    1. Ida Lupines Avatar
      Ida Lupines

      I can’t believe someone took this opportunity to kill a little cub either.

      There’s so much to love about Florida, it’s a shame to see it going politically downhill.

  15. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    And the hits just keep on comin’:

    Editorial: Bear Hunt Embarassing for Florida

    The case of the missing regulators:

    “We believe many more violations occurred but because of the vastness of the hunt area, wildlife officials couldn’t patrol the remote areas where the majority of bears are found.”

  16. Sverre Johanson Avatar
    Sverre Johanson

    Very successful Hunt. Poor Bears, “Looks like this State
    is not big enough for the both of us”. Wait until human
    population doubles and there is no space for growing wild animal populations? Is it better to eat animals that are enslaved and systematically murdered or eat animals that are wild free range and hunted under fair chase rule? All life is sacred. American Black Bears are so much like humans. I have spent many hours watching them in the forests where I live. They are beautiful and enchanting creatures. We should all be moved by the death of any such animal, wild or enslaved.

  17. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    I sincerely doubt there will be another one of these fiascos next year. Even a FWC official is concerned:

    You Call It Harvest, We Call It Killing – Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

    The Florida Bear Hunt Protest Facebook page has some really graphic photos. I won’t include it unless it’s ok. If anyone gets queasy looking at blood and entrails, and humans seemingly unaffected by it all, it won’t be for you. There’s also a copy of an email sent by a hunter to them after the massacre.

    1. Elk375 Avatar


      “The Florida Bear Hunt Protest Facebook page has some really graphic photos. I won’t include it unless it’s ok. If anyone gets queasy looking at blood and entrails, and humans seemingly unaffected by it all, it won’t be for you. ”

      I am leaving in 30 minutes to go elk hunting this afternoon and tomorrow morning. My friend should kill an elk, I only shoot 6 points this early in the season therefore I probably will not get an elk. After the elk is down there will be blood and guts, it brothers me less than a sink full of dirty dishes.

      1. Ida Lupines Avatar
        Ida Lupines

        I associate deer and elk hunting with people who eat the meat, if there can be a ‘noble’ purpose associated with hunting. Blood and guts associated with that is the same for any meat-eating creature. Not all hunters are this kind.

        I don’t begrudge anyone the right to eat if they choose to hunt for their food; all creatures who are carnivores/omnivores do. I don’t think many people, especially in modern times, eat bear meat.

        Florida’s complaints seem to be nothing more than considering the bears a ‘nuisance’, and there’s so much wrong with this thing – it was a rush job for political reasons – no official population count, no monitoring of quotas, no considering non-lethal measures first like education and proper trash disposal and personal safety measures (bear spray again), no respect for life, it seems completely a free-for-all.

        1. rork Avatar

          Here’s some MI hunters discussing if bear meat is any good:
          Maybe there are times and places where it is less than excellent though. And sure this is not many people – only about 1500 per year are tagged here, whereas it’s more like 400K for deer. I have a theory that older folks who report that this or that game animal did not taste very good, probably have something in common: butchers and cooks who didn’t know what they were doing.

  18. Helen McGinnis Avatar
    Helen McGinnis

    We know cougars self-regulate by driving competitors for habitat and mates from their territories. Males also self-regulate by killing competitors, mainly subadults. Do black bears self-regulate? In the absence of humans to “manage” them, how were black bear populations regulated? References?

    1. rork Avatar

      That first paper referred to work implying no better recruitment after bear population is lowered, but this paper sees better survival of young bears after artificially removing older males. So at higher densities, large bears are killing the smaller ones. As the first one pointed out, if food becomes limiting, bears grow slower, and females are considerably older before they can have cubs.

      1. Ida Lupines Avatar
        Ida Lupines

        Great information. Thanks!

  19. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    Here’s another article from Palm Beach, with a list of the incidents of bear conflicts. Apparently, there have been 7 bear-human conflicts since 2014; 20 going back to 2006. There’s probably more human-other human conflicts than that going on every hour in Florida:


  20. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    Oh I love this one:

    Editorial: Florida’s Bear Hunt A ‘Triumph’ of Shotguns Over Science

    I don’t know whether or not there will be another one of these things next year, with oafs running rampant in the woods, but I’m glad the entire state of Florida is protesting loudly.

  21. Connie A.Reppe Avatar
    Connie A.Reppe

    Mr. Wuerthner, Oct.25th Wisconsin Committee on Natural Resources & Sport Heritage conducted a public hearing for Assembly Bill 433 Interfering with Hunting,Fishing and Trapping and providing criminal penalties. By Representatives Jarchow,Allen,Ballweg,Born,Czaja, Edming,Gannon,Horlacher,Hutton,Jagler,Kleefisch,Knodl, Kulp,T.Larson,Murphy,Mursau,A.Ott,Petryk, Quinn,Tith and Sinicki,co-sponsored by Senators Moulton,Gudex, Harsdorf and Olsen. As another example of public, wildlife, ecological dysfunction in our political parties. Please view the video of the WI. legislation that supports Bill 433 at: wisceye.org

  22. Ryan Avatar

    I don’t get the outrage, I would guess that without the use of bait or dogs, bears were killed in a pretty representative slice of the population. They are not social creatures that live in a herd.

    More hunters than not eat black bear, it is a delicious meat and in reality a hunter killed black bear lived a much better existence than your cheese burger, bacon, or chicken did.


    Cougars do not self regulate their populations. Young cougars are typically driven out of the range of Mature Toms and end up in many cases having negative interactions with humans.

  23. Ida Lupines Avatar
    Ida Lupines

    Though he admitted some cubs were likely orphaned, he said that because cubs are born in the winter, most would be 30 to 80 pounds by now and “have learned everything they need to live on their own.”

    Now there’s covering both sides of the street for PR purposes.

    Twenty-one percent of the bears killed were lactating females. Hunters were not supposed to kill female adults if cubs were present. “We think hunters followed our rules, and our rules did a good job,” Eason said.

    We think they followed the rules? Nice.

    Florida Bear Hunt: Death Toll Rises to 304

    And what kind of person would kill a 42 lb. cub?

George Wuerthner is an ecologist and writer who has published 38 books on various topics related to environmental and natural history. He has visited over 400 designated wilderness areas and over 200 national park units.

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George Wuerthner