Friday, June 28, 2024

FL: DeSantis Signs Bill Restoring Ability of People to Defend Themselves, Pets and Homes from Bears

Image from Winter Springs, Florida, Police Department

In spite of intense pressure by deep green "environmentalist" and "animal rights" groups, Florida Governor DeSantis has signed HB 87 on June 21, 2024. If Governor DeSantis had not signed the bill, it would have become law on June 22. HB 87 restores the right of people to protect themselves, their pets, and their homes from destructive, rogue black bears.

The animal rights groups wanted to continue a failed policy which demanded people ask permission from a bureaucratic agency before they be "allowed" to shoot a destructive bear. Note how characterizes the bill. From

DeSantis signed HB 87, Taking of Bears, which allows people to claim self defense in shooting a bear on their property.

 Shooters will have to notify the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission of bears being killed within 24 hours of the shooting, and they cannot keep or sell bear carcasses.

The bill does not "allow" people to claim self-defense. People could always claim self-defense. The bill restores the right to defend self, others, pets, and dwellings without first obtaining authority to do so from the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission (FWC). The FWC siezed the power to demand people ask them for permission in 2012. The FWC unilaterally created a regulation which required people to apply to them before taking a bear which was destroying livestock or property.  68A-4.009 Florida Black Bear Conservation:

  1. No person shall take, possess, injure, shoot, collect, or sell black bears or their parts or to attempt to engage in such conduct except as authorized by Commission rule or by permit from the Commission.

The legislature never voted on the rule change. It was a major change in the law. People with property and assets follow the law for fear of losing both. People were calling the Sheriffs' offices to determine if they were allowed to shoot a bear which had invaded their home. Pets were being attacked. People were attacked. Legislators from North Florida, where the problem was most acute, responded. HB 87 does not fully restore the rights of people to protect their property from destructive pests. People who have bears which are destroying property and livestock must still apply for depredation permits, after attempting "non lethal" methods. All bears which are taken under this measure have to be reported to the FWC within 24 hours.

Legislators and sheriffs, which depend on voters to keep their jobs, are far more responsive than bureaucrats. Bureaucrats often cater to special interest groups. Regulatory agencies are often captured by activists with an agenda.

The bill goes into effect on July 1, 2024. In a year, we will know how many rogue bears, who have learned to raid human property with no consequences, will be removed.

Prediction: The number of black bears removed will be less than 50 in a year. The number will decrease over the years as black bears learn to avoid humans.

Several hundred bear cubs are killed and eaten by adult male bears each year in Florida. About 300 black bears die in vehicle accidents each year in Florida. The level of illegal killing of black bears in Florida is usually less than 20 a year. That number should decrease as people have the legal right to deal with destructive bears.

Black bears in Florida started with a population of about 300 in 1976. by 2015, the population was over 4,300. With the natural increase of about 15% after cannibalism by adult male bears and vehicle accidents, the population in 2024 is expect to be above 7,000.  Black bears were removed from the "threatened" list by the FWC several years ago.


©2024 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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