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Old 05-19-2006, 05:59 PM   #1
FWC Extends Gator Hunting Season

I think this line is way too funny "...but officials say the decision is not related to the series of deadly alligator attacks across Florida this last week" Then the second article's header leads the reader to believe the deaths are the reason why the extension was allowed.


FWC extends gator hunting season, but not because of recent attacks

Tallahassee, Florida (AP) The state is extending alligator hunting season, but officials say the decision is not related to the series of deadly alligator attacks across Florida this last week.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission spokesman Willie Puz says the agency decided in February that the alligator population is stable enough to extend alligator hunting season from five to ten weeks.

The season will run from August 15th to November first.

Puz says the extension is intended to give people a chance to experience Florida's hunting tradition and it's not a deliberate effort to reduce the number of alligators.

There are about one and a half million alligators in Florida.

The FWC is investigating the deaths.

Link to Article

With 3 people dead, state expands annual hunting season for alligators

By Sarah Lundy, Nin-Hai Tseng & Erin Cox
Orlando Sentinel
Posted May 16 2006, 12:50 PM EDT

With more alligators on the prowl in certain areas of Florida, officials said Monday they are lengthening the state's annual gator hunt in an effort to further thin the reptiles' numbers.

Wildlife officials had made the decision recently, but it drew attention Monday, a day after two more victims of fatal alligator attacks were found, marking three deadly encounters in less than a week.

"Some people think there are too many alligators out there, and we have decided to address that," said Arnold Brunell, wildlife biologist with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The news came as trappers searched Juniper Run in Marion County for a 7- to 9-foot gator that killed Annmarie Campbell a day earlier while she was snorkeling in the shallow creek.

Officials also hunted and found a second alligator responsible for killing a homeless woman whose dismembered body was spotted Sunday in a canal behind a home in Pinellas County.

Their deaths followed that of a woman who went missing while jogging May 9 in Broward County. Her body was found the next day, and the attacking alligator was captured and killed Saturday, parts of the woman's body still in its digestive tract.

The commission's recent decision to expand trapping season this year from five to 11 weeks is to make it more attractive to hunters and winnow gators' growing numbers in certain areas of the state, such as along the St. Johns River, officials said.

Last year, the state made available about 4,300 permits, each of which allowed the holder to take up to two gators. However, only about 2,700 permits were sold, resulting in 3,436 gators harvested. Officials want to significantly increase that number this year by adding six weeks to the 2006 gator-hunting season -- stretching from Aug. 15 to Nov. 1 -- and allowing people to obtain more than one permit.

Hunters can buy permits starting June 15.

In Monday's search in Ocala National Forest, trappers had seen just one gator about 18 inches long by Monday afternoon in the vicinity of Juniper Run, where budding artist Campbell, 23, was attacked. Two of Campbell's friends pulled the 5-foot-2, 110-pound woman from the gator's jaws but couldn't save her.

Campbell died the same day the body of Judy Cooper, 43, of Dunedin, was found in a Pinellas County canal, although officials think Cooper may been killed up to three days earlier.

Shortly before 7 p.m. Monday, trappers found an 8-foot, 5-inch gator near where Cooper's body was found, Fish and Wildlife spokesman Gary Morse said. The gator was killed and a necropsy revealed parts of Cooper's body, Morse said. .

Morse said it was an aggressive gator: "It was not afraid of people at all."

Trappers last week captured the reptile that killed Yovy Suarez Jimenez, 28, whose body was found last Wednesday floating in a Sunrise canal by construction workers. Kent Vliet, alligator biologist at the University of Florida, called the three deaths in one week a phenomenon but added, "I don't think alligators have decided they're suddenly taking the state back from us. It's not gators gone wild."

Statewide, the gator population of about 1.5 million has been generally stable, officials said. However, the number of gators in certain areas, including the St. Johns and Ocklawaha river basins, has risen substantially.

Although Fish and Wildlife plans to extend the hunting season, officials expect to offer the same number of permits this year, but giving hunters a longer time to harvest the beasts.

Alligators were listed as an endangered species until 1977. When the population rebounded enough, the state allowed the public to hunt them beginning in 1988.

At first, the sport was hugely popular and the state even had to create a lottery system. In recent years, however, it has declined as the alligator hunting program changed from a commercial harvest to a more recreational hunt. At one time, people could take up to 15 gators per permit.

At Juniper Run on Monday, gator trappers Curtis Lucas, 45, and Gary Parks, 50, both of Pierson, used beef lung as bait to try and catch the gator that killed Campbell. The bait was on large hooks tied to tree limbs.

Lucas and Parks concentrated their search along a stretch of Juniper Creek that runs from a bridge at State Road 19 west about 1.5 miles. If they found the gator, they planned to kill it with a .44-caliber bullet in the skull. But the gator remained elusive.

"We saw fish, deer, bears, turtles -- everything but alligators," Lucas said. "He is a wild animal and doesn't have a boss. He does what he wants."

On Monday afternoon, James Earwood, 40, of Satellite Beach, who helped fight off the gator that killed Campbell, briefly returned to the cabin he and three friends had rented for a week and then left.

"He is truly traumatized," said Fish and Wildlife spokeswoman Kat Kelley, who was inside the cabin with Earwood. The group also included Jackie Barrett, 57, of Silver Springs and Barrett's husband, Mark Barrett, 51, who is Campbell's former stepfather.

The four were snorkeling when Jackie Barrett yelled to the others after she couldn't find Campbell. After seeing Campbell in the gator's grasp, Earwood and Mark Barrett gouged its eyes and pounded on its snout.

The area where Campbell was killed is a popular canoeing destination, but swimming and tubing have not been allowed for more than a decade to protect vegetation, said Mark Warren, a national forest official in Florida. Campbell and the others might not have known it because there are no signs.

Campbell, after graduating in December from Murray State University in Kentucky, left behind an art community enamored with what former professor Nicole Hand described as her "spark." She moved to Paris, Tenn., to transform a vintage shop called Fancy That into an art venue.

Her art, like her personality, was striking and surprising, Hand said. Campbell made friends easily with her contagious creativity and eccentric taste.

In the apartment she shared with her best friend Claudia Dishon, Campbell would stay up all night making gifts or selecting the perfect haiku to reflect a friend's personality. She cooked gourmet meals for her friends, who described her as a connoisseur of life.

"She was enthusiastic about adventures that would scare normal people," said Dishon, 22. "Even if something went bad, there was no sense of regret."

Campbell was preparing her first art show for Fancy That before she left for Florida. Her friends gathered at the store Monday to mourn. They plan to hang her show for her -- all the finished pieces and those left undone.

Link to Article
Old 05-20-2006, 11:01 AM   #2
So the state of Fla. is finally waking up. I do have a question regarding this activity as of late.
Do you thing that the 90% of people that live in Fla. from elsewhere are now aware of the Alligators living in Fla. and will keep their selves and their dangling feet out of the waterways?
Old 05-20-2006, 09:24 PM   #3
Chameleon Company
Maybe when the folks in Colorado learn a thing or two about avalanches and mountain lions ! All due respect FZ, and I lived in Colorado, but I don't think that the sarcasm was representative or in good taste.

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