PENSACOLA, Fla., April 13, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Attorney Samuel W. Bearman (http://www.bearmanlaw.com/) wants to see Florida's bears allowed to live in peace – not gunned down by trophy hunters in an ill-considered strategy to manage the population and reduce human-bear encounters.
Making an obvious reference to the "Bear" in his last name, Bearman insists, "While I clearly have an affinity for bears, this is not about saving them simply because they are my namesake. This is about someone standing up for the large number of bears that might otherwise be needlessly targeted and killed. I'm taking it upon myself to be their voice; I'm ready to lead the fight on this."
Black bears were placed on Florida's threatened species list in 1974 and remained there until 2012. The number of bears living in the state today is estimated at 2,500 to 3,000; many conservationists worry that the species is not yet "out of the woods" and that a hunting season would needlessly stress the population.
The proposal in front of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) includes the annual killing of 275 black bears, with a limit of one bear per hunter. If the commission approves those rules, the season would begin in October and last a week or less. The hunt would be the first of its kind in the state in 20 years.
According to the proposal's authors, hunting would keep the bear population in check and limit the number of human-bear encounters. The text also includes new rules on garbage containers and other tactics aimed to reduce foraging in neighborhoods.
Opponents of the bear hunting proposal contend that the FWC is not giving equal time to all parties and points of view. Bearman and others have their own ideas about how to ensure bears and people can coexist peacefully.
In February, HSUS conducted a poll of more than 1,500 Florida voters to gauge public sentiment on the issue of bear hunting. The results were unambiguous. Eighty-four percent of respondents favored more investment in educational outreach programs, while 81% agreed with the notion of community-based programs to distribute bear-proof garbage containers. A vast majority – 87% – felt that people living adjacent to bear habitats have some responsibility to understand bear behavior and limit encounters. Specifically, that means being proactive about not attracting bears.
The Animal Rights Foundation of Florida points out that bear hunting would necessarily take place in wilderness areas rather than the borderlands where forest and pine scrub meets the suburbs – where most encounters actually happen. Meanwhile, Kate McFall, state director of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), has made a persuasive case that the bear hunting proposal would do nothing to solve the problems faced by residents. Instead, she advocates for bear hazing programs to chase problem animals away from neighborhoods and extensive public outreach programs in bear-affected areas.
The FWC is meeting to discuss the proposal in Tallahassee from April 14 through 16, with a public discussion on the 15th at Florida A&M University's Lawson Center; a final vote on the bear hunting measure is set for June.
About Bearman Law
A Northwest Florida practice specializing in personal injury, wrongful death, flood claims and nursing home abuse and neglect, the Law Office of Samuel W. Bearman, L.C. is located in Pensacola, Florida. Bearman serves clients throughout the state, especially those in the Panhandle area.
Mr. Bearman is a member of the Florida Bar and can practice in any State Court in Florida. He is admitted to practice in the Federal court for the Northern District of Florida and the Middle District of Florida. He is also admitted to the United States Supreme Court and Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. In addition, Bearman is a speaker and co-author of two books on personal injury and flood claims, and is frequently quoted in the media. He is a member of the American Trial Lawyers Association's Top 100 Florida Trial Lawyers.
Law Office of Samuel W. Bearman, L.C.
820 North 12th Avenue
Pensacola, Florida 32501
SOURCE Bearman Law