Florida Hunting and Fishing Laws


turkeypageThere has to be a balance between animals and nature to allow us to coexist. The way this balance is achieved is through regulated hunting during specific times of the year. Florida has an abundance of wildlife and is the perfect example of how to preserve a species without allowing their populations explode beyond control. Take a look at 5 of the most common fishing and hunting laws in Florida.

I am not a supporter of Florida’s allowance to harvest any species of shark, mostly because I was very involved with shark studies as a student (even though I was working a part-time job). Shark species are often far less abundant than we realize and I feel that they should be preserved. Thankfully most sharks are on the prohibited list, but for the few species not on the prohibited species list, very specific guidelines must be met. A hook and line are the only allowable gear to be used for harvesting sharks and multiple hooks are not allowed. A minimum fork length of 54 inches for all sharks is required as well. A maximum of 1 shark per harvester per day or 2 per vessel, whichever is less is allowed and sharks are to be landed intact this includes their heads and tails.

It wouldn’t be Florida without alligators and since 1988 the state has allowed a statewide alligator harvest to control the population. It is a nationally recognized model program that helps to sustain the balance of the alligator population. The harvest is open to both Florida residents and non-residents that are at least 18 years old. The Statewide Alligator Harvest Permit must be obtained, payment of two CITES tags and an Alligator Trapping License must be obtained in order to participate in the harvest. There are true benefits to these regulations and I feel that the limitation of no more than 2 approved alligators is reasonable for the purpose of population control.

Florida regulates the capture of spiny lobster by breaking lobster season up into two seasons. The mini season is only a two day event during the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July each year. The regular spiny lobster season is from August 6 to March 31 of every year.  During mini season each person is limited to 12 lobsters in all counties with the exception of Monroe County and Biscayne National Park that has a limit of 6 per person. There is a bag limit of no more than 6 allowed during regular season. The possession limit stands for all land and water catches and is strictly enforced. A lobster with a carapace larger than 3” is the minimum acceptable size and must be measured in the water. Measuring devices must be used at all times and presented to authorities if requested. These regulations have been in place for a very long time and have proven successful for the lobster population and season participants.

 The Intrastate Movement of Feral Swine was created to control the number of wild hogs living and thriving in Florida. There are estimated to be over 1 million wild hogs in Florida currently and many of these hogs carry many dangerous, transmittable diseases. There are many cases of disease being spread to humans and livestock. In order to control the spread of disease the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services allows individual trappers to become registered with the Department as a Feral Swine Dealer (FSD). A registered FSD must carry an identification card while transporting live swine, keep accurate records of all trapped animals, relocation dates and final destinations. The FSD is only permitted to complete the following actions: Movement to slaughter, Movement to an approved Game Reserve or Movement to an approved swine holding facility. These regulations are proving to be successful as well since Florida currently has not had any outbreaks of diseases transmitted by feral swine in many years.

Turkey hunting is surprisingly popular in Florida since we have a healthy and sustainable turkey population. I love it too. There’s just something about grabbing a bow, a good wilderness tool and the best survival knife money can buy, and going out to get dinner. The Osceola turkey is one of five subspecies of wild turkey in North America and it resides on the Florida peninsula. The Osceola turkey is one of the most desired wild game species in Florida. Turkey season is only open to Florida residents that have met hunter safety requirements and paid fees to obtain either an annual or 5 year license hunting license as well as a turkey hunting permit. There is a bag limit of one per day and two per season. Spring turkey season begins in February and fall season begins in august. Dates will vary based upon location in the state.

Why Politicians Should Get Fit


downloadIt is very important for politicians to stay healthy and in shape before they run for office, during election periods and throughout the duration of their time in office. A lot of the public’s opinion of politicians is based upon what they see in conjunction with what they are hearing. In order to receive a positive opinion from the public a politician needs to keep their health in mind just as much as their campaign platforms. A healthy, active politician that seems ready to go to battle for an important issue is much more appealing than one that is overweight, seems tired and looks unwell.

It is important for a politician to maintain a healthy weight at all times. A healthy weight helps to avoid many diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease just to name a few. The first key to maintaining a healthy weight is by establishing a nutritious diet that is rich in lean protein, iron rich vegetables and fruit. The second element to staying at a healthy weight is to be as active as possible. This may be a bit difficult for a busy politician, especially during campaign or election time though, but even a 20 minute run a day is better than nothing.

Politicians should try to establish a good exercise routine to keep in shape. Running is a great exercise for its obvious health benefits, but it also promotes a sense that the politician is just like the average citizen. He or she put on their tennis shoes (or best crossfit shoes) one foot at a time too. Taking a run through a popular local park will kill two birds with one stone. The politician can get in a quick workout and maybe shake a few hands with voters along the way.

The most important reason that a politicians needs to remain in shape is to increase their life span, which will promote a sense of trust in voters. A healthy politician that seems vibrant and full of life will receive more votes than a politician that does not seem to take care of him or herself. The public wants to feel confident that the person they are electing into office will be able to serve their term to the best of their ability and that doesn’t appear to be in ill health.

The healthier the politician is, the better they feel and the clearer minded they tend to be. A focused, alert and healthy politician is able to tackle difficult issues and the long hours that may need to be spent hammering away at important issues. This again cycles back around to the view of the public when they see a physically fit politician it gives them a sense of security and trust. They won’t worry that he or she won’t have the fight in them to get a bill or legislation passed.

Of equal importance to the above referenced reasons for a politician to stay in shape is the impact it will have on the public. Being healthy, active and in shape will provide a positive image and example for others. Other people will look up to the politician and use him or her as an inspiration of what can be down with a little hard work and dedication.

How to Schedule a Protest


07protest.spanThe right to protest is guaranteed under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution as part of our right to Free Speech and it is up to us to use the voice we have been granted to make a difference. Protests are an excellent way to spread the word about social issues that affect many people and are often used as a catalyst for change. Scheduling a protest is easier than one might think, so if you have an issue that you feel strongly about, get ready to take some notes. After reading these simple steps you will be ready to grab your signs and bullhorn in no time.

The first thing you must do before scheduling your protest is to contact your local police department to obtain a protest permit and to coordinate crowd control measures well in advance of your actual event date. It is possible that your city may not require a permit to protest, but it is always good to get that issue cleared up well in advance to avoid scheduling issues due to paperwork processing time. Once you get the go ahead from your local police department you can notify all your fellow activists and get planning

The most effective protests are those that have their target present with a front seat to all of the signs, activists and so they can clearly hear your message. It is important to keep in mind the hours and days that people are present inside the building you will be protesting outside of. It will do your cause a disservice if you are outside with your signs, pamphlets, petitions and group of supporters without the people that need to hear your voice present

Strength really is in numbers when scheduling a protest, so try to gather as many supports as possible. The larger your group is the more attention from the media, passers-by and ultimately your target will receive. Try to synchronize watches (we have some of the best watch brands) with each of your activist to help coordinate such a large amount of people that will hopefully be attending your protest. This is made especially easy with the new smart watches under $200 that are gaining popularity.

One of the most crucial elements of scheduling a scheduling a protest is getting your message out to as many sources as possible before the protest takes place. There are many ways to get the word out and it is best to use any and all means possible. You can send out press releases to your local media outlets the day before to make sure they attend your protest, make signs/posters to place in noticeable, well trafficked areas and print fliers for your fellow activists to disperse. One of the greatest means of spreading your message and generating buzz for your protest is going to be the use of social media networks. With one post to one of these sites you can easily get the word out to tons of people.

After you’ve gotten your message out you will want to use your local media to keep the community buzzing about your protest and cause. The media is going to be a very important tool that you’ll want to use as much as possible. They are the perfect source to get your message out loud and clear to a much larger listening pool.

When you are selecting a time for your protest try to make it for earlier in the day so that local media crews can come and cover the action since making it earlier in the day will allow the footage to be edited and aired on the nightly news that very day. If you schedule your protest too close to the nightly news there is a good chance that you may miss your chance of a prime airing spot. It is also important to consider the day of the week you intend to schedule your protest. Studies show that the Sunday paper is the most read addition of the week, so a Saturday protest would garner you a spot in this addition. Just as Sunday’s paper is the most read, the Saturday paper is the least read edition. In this case a Friday paper wouldn’t receive as much coverage or be read by as many people. Obviously there will be times when you cannot work around these days, but it is something to keep in mind when scheduling your protest.

A Campaign Rally Adventure


carpoolI love a good campaign rally and most recently attended a rally for the re-election of our current president. This time I chose to carpool with some of my friends to make the trip and experience a bit more fun. It was a memorable experience for sure.

The day we left for the campaign rally began with much barely contained excitement and we each were bursting with energy. We all knew what this election meant for our country and we were so excited to be a part of it. With a playlist set and snacks in hand, everyone piled into my car (I spent good money to get one of the best 7 passenger vehicles I could find, although I did look at some nice 9 passenger vehicles) we and we hit the road. There was much discussion of the President’s re-election, issues we were passionate about and plenty of healthy debates to help pass the time. Nothing could dampen this experience for us; well that is what we thought until we hit a major bump in the road. It was a bump that nearly ruined our road trip to the re-election campaign.

Roughly four hours into our trip my car’s engine starting smoking, sputtering and suddenly came to a complete stop on the side of a lonely stretch of highway. My initial thought was that it wasn’t that big of a deal because I had roadside assistance and could call for help. I figured we would be back on the road in no time. Well my hopes were quickly dashed when I pulled out my phone to make the call only to see that I didn’t have a single bar of reception. I had each one of my friends check their phones as well and was crushed to find they had the same issue I had. Feeling defeated, I did the most logical thing that anyone would do in this situation…I kicked my rear tire, maybe shouted a few not so lady like phrases and set off down the road in search of help in any form.

It felt like I had walked for ages (it was really only a quarter of a mile, but I have a slight flare for the dramatic in case you couldn’t tell) before a random tow truck just happened to be headed in the direction of my defeated and weary crew of friends. I eagerly flagged down the truck driver and much to my relief he stopped to help us. Within minutes my car was hooked ( up to his rig and we were all piled into any available space available in the bed of the truck. We sure got lucky that the tow truck owner also owned a repair shop nearby. He was also willing and able to fix my car as quickly as possible. We quickly arrived at the repair shop and my car was fixed with a few hours. Things were really looking up and we still had a shot to get to the campaign rally in time.

Finally after a seven hour detour we were on the road again and the excitement that we all felt at the start of our trip was building again. We were tired, hungry and a little dirty, but none of us cared at this point. We just wanted to make it to the campaign rally in time and we did, with mere minutes to spare. The campaign rally was everything we could have expected and hoped it would be. It was a truly memorable experience from start to finish.

2016 Could Be a Crazy Primary for the GOP


gop-redAs we get closer and closer to 2016, it’s becoming more and more apparent that the political blogosphere is preparing for a near shoe-in Hilary Clinton candidacy. And even if they aren’t, they’re probably preparing for other democratic super stars to break onto the scene with guns blazing.

This is especially true when considering the likes of Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders running. Although neither seem like they have a real chance at competing with Hilary, both are sure to make a splash. In fact, Sanders has explicitly stated that if he does run, it would be for the sole purpose of pulling all of the rest of the candidates further to the left.

The point is: with all of this attention on what is sure to be a firework-filled democratic primary, lots of people are left puzzled at the potential republican primary, which, at least right now, looks to be a totally open field with no real superstars looking to sweep the competition.

Of course, there are a few who are almost certainly going to run. We have Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and Scott Walker all looking to make an appearance. But, of those, Chris Christie (and perhaps Paul Ryan) are the only ones who’ve enjoyed the kind of superstar status needed to compete with Hilary, and, in both cases, their gravitas has waned considerably.

Chris Christie, for example, took a lot of flak from his own party when he worked with President Obama to accept and distribute federal aid after Hurricane Sandy. He took further flak when it was brought to the public’s attention that less than one third of that aid actually made it to the people who needed it. Ryan, on the other hand, seems to be suffering from a dwindling number of people willing to get on board with a platform that conservative.

In any case, it should be a very interesting 2016.

Journalists are Overwhelmingly Democrats


Democrat-PartyOnly a few years ago, journalists identified much more heavily as republicans than democrats. Those days are quickly coming to a close.

As recently as 2002, 18% of all journalists polled identified as republican. Back in the early 1970s, that number was as high as 25%. Now, however, that number is at a record low: just seven percent.

There could be a lot of reasons for this. First, we all know that polling is often more of an art than a science. And it could very well be the case that the polling methods have changed over the years, especially since the staff taking the polls have changed since 1971, which is the first year in which the poll was conducted.

It could also be the case that the major media companies have been hiring increasingly liberal employees. We have all certainly heard enough rantings and ravings about the “liberal media” to have at least thought about it, right? However, the obvious problem with this idea is that the media moguls who control most of the major networks are decidedly conservative. Still, do these moguls typically concern themselves with what HR is doing? Probably not.

So what is it? In my very humble opinion, the most likely case is that the American populace, as a whole, is trending liberal. In other words, when you consider the whole of all American citizens, more and more of them are becoming democrats. This could be reflected in both the hiring pool for major media outlets as well as in the public opinion, which is inevitably reflected in the opinion of the media.

In reality, there’s no real way to tell why this is occurring outside of a major study – or at least another major poll. For now, it’s simply interesting to think about and a trend to be aware of as we watch, read and otherwise consume the news.

Climate Change Denial Continues to Be Political Strategy for Some


climate-changeThis is one that I honestly have been unable to figure out for a very long time. The conservative right has a really weird stance on this issue. I do understand that it’s part of the collective psyche of many Americans, but it doesn’t seem to even be a real position at this point; rather, it seems to be a bad symptom of the growing anti-intellectual sentiment of right-leaning folks everywhere.

It’s like the acid reflux after a burrito. It’s just a symptom of a bad (probably accidental) occurrence, and now, leaders have so vehemently attached themselves to the idea that they risk appearing a hypocrite if they change their minds.

What I understand least about this position is this: it should be clear to almost all conservative politicians that the collective American populace is getting a lot smarter. Moreover, they are getting a lot less tolerant of obviously crazy positions. Or, if you’d like get more nuanced, they are getting a lot less tolerant of anti-intellectual positions.

The mantra of “Don’t trust those liberal scientists” just isn’t holding up any more, and, as a whole, American voters are trending toward the opposite. There are very few anti-scientific claims that are making it through the legislative process, and climate change denial is no exception.

People understand pollution. They understand that things are getting worse. They’ve seen pictures of the air pollution in Beijing and Bangkok. They understand what carbon dioxide is, and they understand that it’s us – people of the earth – who are creating it.

And they are becoming much, much less willing to adopt a position that says otherwise. Why? Because it’s silly. More importantly, they are becoming much less willing to follow those who hold that position. Here’s hoping that trend continues – because it’s looking good so far.