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POINT OF VIEW Leave hunting decisions to experts, not public opinion


Do we “need” a bear hunt in Florida? Of course not. We also don’t need to catch sailfish and marlin for sport. We don’t even need to fish for food, as seafood is readily available in every restaurant and grocery store. In reality, we don’t even need to print newspapers, since we can read them online and save trees. Yet we do these things because we can and we enjoy doing them, all without threatening the natural resource.

However, every time a new hunting season is proposed anywhere in the United States, we can count on a flurry of protest from anti-hunting groups like The Humane Society of the United States. (“Point of View: Another Florida black bear hunt makes no sense,” Wednesday).

With few exceptions, hunting and fishing seasons are not based on need. They are based on the fact that a limited amount of animals or fish can be harvested without hurting the population of that species.

Groups like The Humane Society are simply opposed to hunting. Period. They could care less about whether there is an actual need or if a hunting season is biologically sound or not.

Along with claiming there is no need, groups like these use melodramatic statements like “…coupled with roadkill numbers, nuisance bears killed, and poaching, may well plunge multiple sub-populations into sharp decline.” These copy-and-paste statements are used in opposing any hunting anywhere in the United States, they simply change the name of the animal.

Finally, groups will claim that the public also agrees with them on whatever issue they are promoting. In this case, The Humane Society used a questionable group called Remington Research. Just last year, the Democrats were claiming this group was bogus and skewed its polls to favor Republicans.

However, regardless of some poll, when managing our natural resources, public opinion is a poor way of doing it. Consider some the past results of allowing public opinion to manage our resources. My favorite Florida example was draining the Everglades, because the public thought that is was just a useless mosquito-infested swamp. That certainly worked well.

Federal and state governments created departments to manage our natural resources. Instead of public opinion, these departments are staffed by biologists and people actually educated in wildlife and the environment.

So let’s leave the question of a bear hunt in Florida to people with actual knowledge and education on the subject.

JIM WEIX, PALM CITY

Editor’s note: The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission announced Wednesday that it would not hold a bear hunt for at least two years.



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