Techniques to manage Florida’s black bear population over the next decade, including the possibility of regulated hunting, are outlined in the draft of an updated 10-year plan released Tuesday. The 209-page draft from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission offers ways to keep the state’s bear population of about 4,000 above the 3,000 mark.
The draft is now open for public comment and will go before the commission in December. The draft summarizes several population-management techniques that could be expanded or used, including contracted shooting and trapping; fertility control; manipulating habitats by reducing vegetation near suburban and urban areas; regulated hunts; and relocating adult female bears and their 3- to 4-month-old cubs.
The staff report doesn’t recommend the commission implement any of the management practices. Still, the draft says, “If the management practices outlined in this plan are not implemented, there is a high likelihood of increasing negative interactions between bears and people.” Florida has had 13 incidents since 2006 of people requiring medical treatment because of encounters with bears, including eight since 2012.
Management options also include continuing use of the BearWise program, which started in 2016 and has used proceeds from sales of Conserve Wildlife license plates and legislative funding to assist local governments in providing residents and businesses with bear-resistant trash containers. Another suggested technique involves working with the Florida Department of Transportation to reduce the chances of collisions between vehicles and bears. In 2018, the commission requested the transportation agency modify 20 bridges with fencing to guide wildlife, including bears, under roadways.
The commission will take public comment through Nov. 6 via an online survey and will hold webinars Oct. 24 and Oct. 29. The plan is to replace a statewide bear-management framework created in 2012. The state’s bear population has grown from 300 to 500 in the late 1970s to more than 4,000 following a controversial 2015 hunt that remains the only time hunting black bears has been permitted in Florida in more than two decades. The October 2015 hunt resulted in 304 bears being killed.
–News Service of Florida
Barely Made it says
2 weeks ago I was driving through the night on I-10 as I had to be in Panama City Beach by 9am and while driving through a deserted Oceola National Forest (One of the brown spots on that map) between Plant city and Tallahassee around 4AM a black bear ran out from the woods, the damn thing was as long as my little convertible was wide, my screeching brakes at 70 MPH must have startled him because he hit turbo boost with an unbelievable burst of speed and I cleared him by inches. I shudder to think of hitting something that big and having him end up in my lap, all pissed off, I had the top down it was a warm night…
Let’s do something about the deer and pig menaces while we’re at it.
We are all moving to Florida and taking these wondrous (far from damn things) wild life habitats, including places like the Ocala National Forest for our Air Force practice bombing. So were these poor things, animals are supposed to go to forage and survive?
I am so happy that some of us make an effort to avoid those sad road kills. My daughter also an animal lover bought me a long ago this: https://www.banggood.com/2pcs-Vehicle-Deer-Alert-Device-Animal-Wildlife-Safety-Warning-Alarm-Repeller-p-1570328.html?currency=USD&utm_source=bing_pa&utm_medium=cpc_bgs&utm_content=zouzou&utm_campaign=pa-us-toys-rcparts-pc&ID=224&cur_warehouse=CN and seems like they work as more than once here in Palm Coast I see deer stopped on their tracks when in my car I approach them. Lets have some compassion and respect and learn how yo live with our irreplaceable Florida native wildlife among us and also lobby the FWC not to approve the butchering of our bears but instead teach the newcomers into Forida the proper way to avoid attracting bears and confrontations.
Why Florida can adopt the same policies with bears than other cities had to protect their wildlife, like Hollywood, CA were mountain lions roam the surrounding hills? https://www.nationalgeographic.com/news/2016/04/160418-animals-urban-cities-wildlife-science-coyotes/ Just takes the existing residents and newcomers to learn how to respect, be cautious , do not feed, or interact by keeping ones distance and secure the trash when comes to bears, boars, racoons, coyoted, bobcats, deer, alligators, snakes and aquatic and predator birds. Our wildlife is amazingly beautiful and as we take their habitats and food lets at least have the compassion and education not to demand that the Florida Wildlife Commission (FWC made up of several hunters) gives license to butcher them. There is a delicate element between survival of the species and extinction. Once gone is forever.
Randy Jones says
I was glad to read that staff did not support any of the “several population-management techniques that could be expanded or used, including contracted shooting and trapping; fertility control; manipulating habitats by reducing vegetation near suburban and urban areas; regulated hunts; and relocating adult female bears and their 3- to 4-month-old cubs.”