Mr. Wiley, executive director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is a ‘dolt’! Neither he, nor any of his fellow commissioners have any experience, training or education in fishery or wildlife management. They are political hacks, primarily land developers, appointed by the governor as part of his political patronage. Moreover, advancement and promotion within FWC is granted primarily through the efforts of writing more tickets, political butt kissing, and association with “connected” associates. friends and, relatives.

I had attended one of the local meetings in the old Carrabelle High School, after the St. Mary, Florida debacle, in which several FWC officers dispatched several bears – without cause. I recall an officer, at that meeting, relating his dismay at a bear trying repeatedly and, unsuccessfully to obtain peanuts the officer had in his pocket. Why, you might ask, would an FWC officer sent to dispatch a troublesome bear have peanuts in his pocket?  Why, would he let a bear come that close to him? Why was he not blowing his whistle, shouting shoo, shoo or shooting the bear with rubber bullets? It was later discovered, after investigation, that a local resident had been feeding the bears which the FWC dutifully dispatched.

As for “cutting edge” research – I don’t think that comparing the black bear management in Florida to that of New Jersey is peer-reviewed research. Moreover, it would seem more conducive to review states with bear populations as robust as Florida, and states which have much more knowledgeable bear management personnel. I also challenge the accuracy and veracity of the latest bear population estimates based on so called “research” conducted by untrained personnel. In fact, without violating the so-called anonymity of FWC officers, I challenge the FWC to make public the qualifications of their so called “bear experts.” For example, I question the statement of one of the bear experts that it is ok to shoot bear cubs or lactating mothers because they can both live well without each other.  Let me get this straight – ‘Mother Nature’ has caused black bears to evolve so that mother bears lactate for up to two years and cubs stay with their mothers for up two years but, the FWC bear expert says this is not true.

I also find it highly suspect that licenses to kill black bears have been and will be issued to FWC officers! And, further that the identity of these officers is kept secret from the public under the guise of protecting the anonymity of officers in the carrying out of their enforcement duty. Balderdash, everybody knows every FWC officer in their community. There is no anonymity!

Last but by no means least: Florida does not have a bear problem; it has a trash problem. As long as the Governor and those pimps and whores elected to our Legislature refuse to issue laws requiring Mandatory trash pick-up and Mandatory bear proof containers throughout the state, including restaurants and businesses, the FWC will continue to exacerbate any bear / human interactions.

John Hitron

Carrabelle