The Panhandle lost another great steward of our environment on Jan. 4 when Mr. Bill Davis was taken by the river that he loved.
Mr. Bill had more houseboats than anyone I knew, and he could normally be found somewhere on his beloved River Swamp (or Lake Wimico if the Shellcracker were biting.) Mr. Bill never missed a chance to visit us at our annual Thanksgiving camp on Cutoff Island at Piney Reach slough, and he was always willing to share with us kids exactly where the Squirrels were and his techniques for getting them.
Mr. Bill was a founding member of the Panhandle High Water Hunting Group, a collection of over 400 sportsmen and women in three counties who are trying to convince the State of Florida to regulate hunting when the Apalachicola River exceeds flood stage of 16 feet. Mr. Bill was passionate about this cause, and I worked with him extensively on this issue, including presenting our petition to the Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission Meeting in Sept. 2018. We all know what happened on Oct. 10, 2018, and unfortunately this issue, and many others, have been put on the back burner by the FWC since the storm.
With the passing of Herman Jones in Nov. 2018 and now Mr. Bill Davis, we have lost two of the people who loved our natural resources most, and who had seen and experienced them before much of the damage we now suffer was done. While the State of Florida still allows the unsportsmanlike slaughter of animals during High Water events on the Apalachicola River Swamp, we want to assure Mr. Bill that we will not stop fighting for his cause of regulating hunting during these floods.
Mr. Bill, we thank you for your love of the river and its dwamps, and Lake Wimico. Your passion for these unique and valuable ecosystems will be honored and remembered, and you will be missed!
Sincerely and respectfully,
Panhandle High Water Hunting Group
This article originally appeared on The Star: Letters: Another loss to our people and environment