Media Release 10/25/15 – An organization whose controversial tactics monitoring wolf & bear hunts in Wisconsin (which has led to the recent introduction of The Right to Hunt Act, a bill to outlaw their activities) has announced that it has been secretly monitoring Florida’s bear hunt. Wolf Patrol, operating as Florida Bear Patrol, is a group that advocates for “citizen monitoring” of controversial hunts that it believes caters to trophy hunting at the expense of apex predators and healthy ecosystems.
Florida Bear Patrol (FBP) members from Florida, Wisconsin and Michigan spent the weekend of the state’s first bear hunt monitoring hunting activities outside Altoona, FL in the Ocala National Forest. Where bear hunting tree stands were discovered, activists placed trail cameras to help ensure bear hunters were obeying the laws governing the hunt, most notably, whether illegal baiting was being employed.
FBP members also interviewed community members in Lake County, discovering that many residents were opposed to the hunt. “Our initial investigation revealed that the vast majority of bears reported killed weighed in at less than 140 lbs. that means they were either very young adult bears or second year cubs at best,” said FBP member, Rod Coronado. “While FWC (Florida’s Fish & Wildlife Commission) mandated that bear baiting would be illegal, it did not halt the legal baiting of deer with foods that also attract bears.”
FBP’s parent group, Wolf Patrol, is campaigning to halt the practice of bear baiting on national forest lands in Wisconsin where according to that state’s wildlife agency, over 4 million gallons of bear bait was dumped in the state in 2014 alone. In July and September of this year, while monitoring bear baiting and hunting, patrol members were questioned by county sheriff deputies investigating claims by bear hunters that the group was violating the state’s hunter harassment laws. “We operate 100% within the law monitoring questionable hunting tactics such as baiting and hound hunting. Our presence on public lands also helps wildlife officials rein in illegal activities and that’s what legislators in Wisconsin are being asked to stop.” concludes Coronado.
Coronado and his FBP crew will be on hand in Orlando Monday night to share their findings with bear hunt opponents who asked his organization to monitor the state’s first bear hunt in 21 years.