Update, 11 a.m.: Sims said this morning that he has decided not to hunt bears because he can't get off work and also because he has come to learn that the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's bear estimates are based on old data. "That definitely concerns me."
Original story, 9 a.m.:
Cooper City Commissioner John Sims was among those who applied for a permit to hunt a Florida black bear beginning this weekend — a controversial topic that is explored in our cover story this week.
Reached by phone, he told New Times, "It's allowed and that's it... There's a process in place, and it's a legal process."
Sims said that he would probably venture into the woods by himself and that he hadn't yet decided whether he would use a crossbow or a gun.
Bears had "become a nuisance," he said. "In Weston, they come into people's backyards."
The matter brought up some of Sims' conflicting ideas about government regulation. He said that if people were upset that homes had been allowed in bear territory, "they should blame the government for that, not the bears. They allow people to build on every square inch."
Then he said: "Government, in my opinion, is overregulating people. This about this: There are more laws – 200 new bills were enacted in the past legislative session, and the Legislature didn't even finish – they quit before they were done! It's easier to know what you're not allowed to do than what you are allowed to do. Nobody can keep up with it."
Back to the bear hunt. He said, "I believe in God, and I was raised in the church." He learned that "man shall have dominion over all the animals of the earth."
"That doesn't mean you should kill everything — but you should manage it."