Tuesday, December 5, 2017

(Ursus americanus floridanus)Florida Black Bear

Nature’s Reflections – Florida’s Black Bear

November 02, 2017

Has A Den, But Does Not Truly Hibernate

Our largest native land mammal, the Florida black bear (Ursus americanus floridanus), has come back from only several hundred bears in the 1970s to more than 4,000 today. This subspecies of the American black bear is one of Florida’s biggest conservation success stories. It has a shiny, black coat of fur with a light brown nose and snout. Its long, razor sharp claws do not retract.

It is a powerful climber and swimmer and can run up to 30 mph for short distances. It has an excellent sense of smell, acute hearing, good eyesight, and sees in color. When a black bear sees a human, it will often do a lot of sniffing, and may stand up.
This is not a sign of aggression;
it helps the curious bear
to catch the scent and to get a better look.
The black bear is a very shy animal,
whose normal nature is to flee human encounters.
Adult males normally weigh 250 to 350 lbs., and adult females 130 to 180 lbs. The largest male bear on record in Florida weighed 760 lbs.; the largest female weighed 400 lbs. Except during mating season from June to August, these bears are solitary by nature. Adult females typically breed every other year, producing one to three cubs in January/February, each weighing about a half pound. Cubs stay with their mother for about 18 months.
Half die before a year of age.
In Florida, male bears typically have a home range of 60 square miles; females just 15 square miles. black bears prefer forests of sand-pine scrub, oak scrub, forested wetlands and upland hardwoods like the Ocala National Forest.

The black bear is an omnivore, which means it eats both plants and other animals.
It’ll eat just about anything, including fruits, berries, acorns, the hearts of the sabal palm or saw palmetto, honey, bees, walking sticks (a favorite insect), armadillos, wild pigs, fawns and garbage.

Loss of habitat due to development
has increased the potential for more encounters
between bears and people.
The presence of a black bear does not necessarily represent a problem.
Many residents living in black bear country
enjoy observing
them from a distance, of course.
Never offer a bear food!
Keep food sources like pet food and garbage
away from them
by securing
removing the temptations.

Column & photos by Sandi Staton –

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Women to Stop Donald Trump

Women to Stop Donald Trump
"Republican Women for Hillary."

Republican women organize to support Clinton
Chris Moody
By Chris Moody, CNN Senior Digital Correspondent
Sun July 3, 2016

"Republican Women for Hillary."
Their motivation? Stop Donald Trump.

"It's really important that Republican leaders, especially Republican women leaders, stand up right now and say we're not OK with Trump representing our party,"
said Jennifer Lim,
a group founder
who works at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
and has spent much of her life volunteering
for Republican causes and campaigns.
"This is not a position I ever wanted to find myself in.

But it's important that when things like this happen that people speak up."

Over the next several months, members of Republican Women for Hillary plan to provide cover for Republicans looking to speak out against Trump, whose surprising rise has torn the party apart.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
the Chamber clashed with Trump over his embrace of protectionist trade policies,

Over the next several months, members of Republican Women for Hillary plan to provide cover for Republicans looking to speak out against Trump, whose surprising rise has torn the party apart.

Faced with a choice between Clinton and Trump, some Republicans have begrudgingly agreed to support him while others are simply opting out of the election. But for these women who founded the group, (and one man who has joined in solidarity), Trump's bombastic style, offensive rhetoric toward women and minorities, slapdash policy "suggestions" risk destroying the party.

This is the post-primary Never Trump movement in action. Their new organization, which is not affiliated with the Clinton campaign, is part support group and part activist hub: They intend to host off-the-record social events for like-minded conservatives and sponsor get-out-the-vote efforts for Clinton. They started in May by launching accounts on Facebook and Twitter and are planning to make an appearance at the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia next month.

The United States Chamber of Commerce is a business-oriented American lobbying group.
It is not an agency of the United States government.
the Chamber is generally considered to be a conservative organization

Sunday, June 5, 2016

What does the NRA have to do with laws

What does the NRA have to do with laws
and by-laws in this country let alone Florida?

And lots of it!

Wave money at any Florida Government Official
(Senator Bill Nelson) is the only exception,

and they will give you their; first born, wife, right arm, county, town, city, state and country.

I count 'Old Baldy' as the greediest!

NRA Calls for Renewed and Extended Hunt of Florida Bears that “Terrorize Homeowners”

June 1, 2016

11 Responses for “NRA Calls for Renewed and Extended Hunt Of Florida Bears that

“Terrorize Homeowners””

RESPONSE # 3 gets my vote!

Geezer says:

June 1, 2016 at 5:38 pm   

Back in 1999, there was a black bear in Ocala that ate
a whole family while they slept.
That same damned bear later carjacked a church bus and drove it through a

7-11, and ripped out an ATM with his bare (not “bear”) paws.
He became enraged to find out that the 7-11 had no honey in stock.
“I bear you no ill will,” he said to the

terrified cashier. “Please don’t kill me,” he exclaimed to the big bear.

The bear replied: “don’t worry, I got a bellyache from the people I ate earlier.”

“Where can I get some honey?”
He called Boo-Boo on his cell phone, and told him the he just couldn’t bear it any more

and he was going to hitch a ride to Bear Mountain in NY state.

He’s a Yankee bear you know.
More later….

A terrorist, according to the NRA. (FWC)

As a renewed debate builds about the issue, the National Rifle Association and the Unified Sportsmen of Florida are urging the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to hold a bear hunt later this year.

The gun-rights organizations’ influential Tallahassee lobbyist, Marion Hammer, sent a letter Tuesday to the commission that also called for steps such as increasing the number of days to hunt.

“Bears continue to terrorize homeowners and prevent families from allowing children to play outside in

some areas,” Hammer, a past president of the NRA and the executive director of the Unified Sportsmen of Florida, wrote. “And while FWC is working to educate people about securing trash and is trying to move dangerous bears out of residential areas, those programs are helpful but cannot succeed without hunts to reduce the population.”

Commissioners, who approved a controversial bear hunt last year but have not made a decision about another hunt, are expected to receive a staff recommendation prior to a meeting June 22 in the Franklin County community of Eastpoint.

The October 2015 hunt — the first in the state in more than two decades — was scheduled for seven days, but ended after two days as hunters killed 304 bears. The state agency had put a 320-bear quota on the hunt and later acknowledged it “underestimated the hunter success for the first day.”

The state didn’t put a cap on the number of permits that could be issued in the 2015 hunt, charging state residents $100 to participate. Hunters from out of state had to pay $300.

Money raised from the permits helps pay for community efforts to manage the bear population through programs such as bear-proof trash containers.

Kate MacFall, Florida state director for The Humane Society, said while hunt opponents push for non-lethal means to reduce human-bear conflicts and see opposition growing against another hunt, they believe commissioners have already decided.

“It’s trophy hunting, which we certainly don’t support,” MacFall said. “Floridians love bears. Their (the bears) subpopulations are already fragmented. They’re already having a tough time with habitat destruction, huge developments, so many people moving to Florida … there are so many challenges that these bears already face.”

Commission staff members have been holding a series of webinars that recap the 2015 hunt, offer the latest estimates on the numbers of bears in Florida, summarize efforts to reduce incidents involving humans and bears and take public input. The final webinar is planned for Thursday night.

Harry Dutton, leader of the commission’s hunting and game management division, said last week that “for a possible future hunt” officials are looking at the length and time of year for the hunt and limiting the number of permits. Also, they are looking at how check stations are monitored, rules for hunting on wildlife management areas, the prohibition on baiting bears, the use of dogs to track bears and the minimum size of bears that could be killed.

In last year’s hunt, there was a 100-pound minimum as bears under that weight are considered cubs.

The agency estimates, based on recent surveys, 4,220 bears are in the state, up from 2,640 in 2002. The population growth has been called robust as the estimated bear count was as low as 300 to 500 in the 1970s, when bears were put on the state’s list of threatened species. Bears were removed from the list in 2012.

Local government officials from Seminole, Miami-Dade and Volusia counties have voiced opposition to a repeat of the 2015 hunt. Officials in Flagler County have been silent.

During a three-hour webinar Thursday, commission staff members were adamant that a hunt is among the various ways to manage the state’s growing bear population and to reduce human-bear interactions. Another webinar was scheduled for today.

“When we look at what FWC and partner agencies and others are doing, we’re throwing everything and the kitchen sink at bears right now,” Dave Telesco, commission bear-management program coordinator, said during the webinar. “We’re doing education. We’re trying for ordinances.

We’re trying to get voluntary compliance in securing trash. We’re hunting and we’re moving bears. And so we’re basically trying to do everything that we can to reduce those conflicts and to reduce the risks to public safety.”

Thomas Eason, director of the commission’s habitat and species conservation division, said the agency can’t just focus on educating people to secure trash and food when left outside and expect bears and humans not to cross paths.

“We’re looking at over 200 bears that are being hit by vehicles, that means people are in those vehicles,” Eason said during the webinar. “Part of the rationale behind the hunt is to help shift mortality away from things where it’s impacting people negatively.”

Harry Dutton, leader of the hunting and game management division, said “for a possible future hunt” officials are looking at the length and time of year for the hunt and limiting the number of permits. Also, they are looking at how check stations are monitored, rules for hunting on wildlife management areas, the prohibition on baiting bears, the use of dogs to track bears and the minimum size of bears that could be killed.

About 600 questions were submitted during last week’s live-chat session, most from a handful of bear-hunt critics, and many were redundant as some participants came in and out during the 150-minute question and answer portion.

The webinar opened with a brief outline on the growth of the bear population in the state, a recap of the 2015 bear hunt, the latest estimates on the numbers of bears in Florida and efforts to reduce incidents involving humans and bears.

The state agency currently estimates, based upon recent surveys, 4,220 bears are in the state, up from 2,640 in 2002. The population growth has been called robust as the estimated bear count was as low as 300 to 500 in the 1970s, when bears were put on the state’s list of threatened species. Bears were removed from the list in 2012.

Critics of bear hunting rattled off questions about issues such as why the state agency doesn’t provide free bear-proof trash cans in areas where nuisance calls are made. Also, they raised questions about whether nuisance bears should be relocated deeper into the wilderness and into less populated areas and if the state agency is “embarrassed about the worldwide media coverage they received last year opposing the hunt?”

“FWC claims that the science is there for a hunt, but that doesn’t mean that a bear hunt should or must take place,” wrote Laura Bevan, a webinar participant and the regional director of the Humane Society of the United States, which opposed last year’s hunt.

A few of the critics added that if another hunt is held, the state should limit bear-hunt permits to Florida residents or simply use professional hunters to manage the population and avoid a “free for all.”

“Why does FWC pander to the small few ‘problem people’ who hate or are intolerant to bears? Why does FWC push so hard for a trophy hunt?” asked webinar participant Lee Day.

Those posing questions that favored hunting bear pushed to allow baiting and to expand the role of dogs in the hunts on certain lands larger than 50,000 acres. Also, they raised ideas about holding the hunt in the spring, excluding from the state’s Sunshine Law the names of permit holders and having the hunt last longer.

This year, Florida lawmakers included $500,000 in the new state budget to reduce human-bear conflicts. A large part of the money is revenue from permits sold for the 2015 hunt. The money doesn’t become available until after the July 1 start of the new fiscal year.

–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Nature’s Reflections – Stinging Caterpillars

You might not hear this often.
We love our Power Company, as power companies go.
Yes, they are a power company and yes they 'Hate' Alternative Energy!
Well, as with all power companies,
they are OK with it,
as long as they can control it,
(alternative energy).
Still as power companies go,
we give them five stars,
because they truly care about their customers.

May 01, 2016

Category: Nature’s Reflections, SECO News, Uncategorized



Severe pain follows just a touch

Beware of beautiful caterpillars packing a powerful and painful sting.

Four of Florida’s seven stinging caterpillars are common to this area.

These caterpillars do not have stingers, but irritating hairs or bristled spines connected to poison glands that produce the stinging sensation, swelling and severe pain.

Reactions experienced are sometimes so severe that people often seek medical attention thinking they may be having a heart attack or life threatening event.

The Io moth caterpillar (Automeris io), photo above, is a light green caterpillar with yellow and red stripes.

It’s about two inches long.

The nettling spines are usually yellow with black tips.

They are often seen in groups raising the onlookers curiosity as to what it may be.

The Puss caterpillar (Megalopyge opercularis), inset photo gets its name from its resemblance to a pussycat.

At just one inch in length, it’s covered with light brown hairs.

When touched, these hairs, attached to poison glands, and break off in the skin causing severe pain.

It is commonly found in oaks and citrus trees, but may feed on a variety of broadleaf trees and shrubs.

The Saddleback caterpillar (Sabine stimulea) is brown and green with a brown oval on its back that looks like a saddle on a green horse blanket.

It is also about an inch long with a stout body. Stinging spines and hairs that inflict pain to the unwary.

The Hag caterpillar (Phobetron pithecium), is light-to dark-brown also with stinging hairs. Three less common stinging caterpillars in Florida

are the

Buck moth caterpillar (Hemileuca maia),


Spiny oak-slug caterpillar, (Euclea delphinii),

and the

Flannel moth caterpillar, (Norape ovina).

If stung, remain as calm and quiet as possible.

Notify a companion in case assistance becomes necessary.

According to the Poison Control Center,

apply adhesive tape over the affected area and pull off to remove the spines from the skin.

Ice packs, followed by a paste of baking soda

and water may help reduce the stinging, or burning.

If you suspect a serious reaction, then it is advisable to seek medical assistance right away.

Column & photo by: Sandi Staton

Thursday, May 26, 2016

State plans black bear webinars

State plans black bear webinars
Thursday, May 26, 2016 12:04 pm
State plans black bear webinars
Dinah Voyles Pulver Gatehouse Media | 0 comments

Floridians wanting to know more about black bear populations in the state and another possible

Officials in Seminole, Volusia and Miami-Dade counties all have passed resolutions asking the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

to leave them out of any future bear hunts.

The Eustis City Commission also recently approved a resolution asking the FWC to reinstate the ban on bear hunting.

The FWC in October held the state's first bear hunt in more than two decades.

The state commission is expected during a meeting June 22 and June 23 in Apalachicola

to discuss the possibility of holding another hunt.

The October hunt saw 298 bears killed in four areas of the state,

including 139 in the central area of Alachua, Bradford, Brevard, Clay, Flagler, Lake, Marion, Orange, Putnam, Seminole, St. Johns, Sumter and Volusia counties.

Marion had the most kills with 55,

followed by Lake with 36.

Sumter had none.

The FWC plans webinars on Thursday, on May 31

and June 2.

Wildlife officials will discuss the state's new bear population estimates,

updated bear ranges, results of the 2015 black bear hunt and another possible hunt this year.

The calls will also include information from the state's program for helping communities be "bear wise."

“These webinars give the public an opportunity to have their questions answered in real time,”

stated David Telesco, bear management coordinator.

“They also add to the FWC channels already in place for gathering public feedback including email, social media, phone, ASK FWC,

bear stakeholder group meetings and commission meetings.”

Registration is required for the webinar

and may be done by visiting

Each webinar begins at 6 p.m.

Fill out their form here.