Sportsmen Successful in Bid to Protect Black Bear Hunt in Florida

March 5, 2008 (National)


(Columbus) - The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation was victorious in its representation of hunters’ interests in a lawsuit brought by anti’s to make black bears in Florida off-limits to sportsmen forever. 

The case contended that the black bear in Florida is in deep trouble and is an endangered  sub-species of the North American black bear, entitling Florida bears to protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA)., It was brought by the Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife, the Sierra Club and other anti-hunters. United States District Judge Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. presided over the case.

“The Court found the Defenders of Wildlife case to be wholly baseless,” said Rick Story, senior vice president of USSAF.  “The judge wisely deferred to the scientific conclusion of the agency with statutory responsibility for the health and well-being of the bears.  The bottom line is that the black bear is healthy and abundant, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is doing a fine job of managing them and the court completely ignored the anti-hunters’ nonsensical argument that the Florida bear is an endangered subspecies of the North American black bear.”

A dangerous precedent would have been set if the black bears in Florida had been classified as a sub-species and categorized as endangered.  It would have allowed anti-hunters to bring similar lawsuits to challenge the classification of deer, quail and other game animals that have numerous populations throughout the country.

“It’s great to see that the judge saw this the way sportsmen do,” said Brad McNaughton, president of the Central Florida Bear Hunter’s Association.  “These groups call themselves advocates, but hunters are the ones that care about the well-being of these species.  Our hats are off to the Sportsmen’s Alliance – without them, none of this would have been possible.”

Anti’s have tried for years to list Florida’s bears under the ESA, but extensive research by the USFWS has determined that the listing is not warranted.  Studies show that healthy bear populations occur in secure habitats throughout Florida.

The USSAF joined with Central Florida Bear Hunters Association, Safari Club International and Mark Roden of St. Augustine to intervene in the case.

The SLDF is the nation’s only litigation force that exclusively represents sportsmen’s interests in the courts.  It defends wildlife management and sportsmen’s rights in local, state and federal courts, representing the interests of sportsmen.  It also assists government lawyers who have little or no background in wildlife law.  For more information, e-mail

The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation protects and defends America’s wildlife conservation programs and the pursuits – hunting, fishing and trapping – that generate the money to pay for them.  The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation is responsible for public education, legal defense and research.  Its mission is accomplished through several distinct programs coordinated to provide the most complete defense capability possible. For more information about the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance Foundation and its work, call (614) 888-4868 or visit its website,


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