The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be asked next week to set a quota of 320 bears for a controversial hunt in October.
The hunt, the first in the state in more than 20 years, has already attracted 1,795 hunters who have purchased permits, according to the commission.
Staff members released a memo Monday outlining updated bear-population counts in two of the four regions in which hunting will be allowed. The memo is expected to go before the commission at a Sept. 2 meeting in Fort Lauderdale. The hunt is scheduled to start Oct. 24 and last from two days to seven days, based upon each region’s quota goals.
According to the latest figures, there are an estimated 1,300 bears in the central region, which includes the St. Johns River watershed to the Ocala National Forest, and 550 bears in the north region, which goes from Jacksonville west to Hamilton and Suwannee counties. In each region, the harvest target is proposed at 100 bears.
The bear quota is 40 in an eastern Panhandle region, which includes the northwestern Big Bend area to west of Apalachicola Bay. In a south region, which includes Broward, Collier, Hendry, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, and Palm Beach counties, the quota number is 80. The south region excludes the Big Cypress National Preserve.
The hunt is intended to help the state achieve a 20 percent reduction in the bear population in each region. The 20 percent figure includes the number of bears that die naturally, are hit and killed by cars and are captured and killed by wildlife officers due to conflicts.
One of the arguments of the hunt’s opponents has been that the state was using old numbers for the bear populations in the four regions. Two of the four regions — the eastern Panhandle and south regions — continue to rely on 2002 study numbers, according to the staff memo.
Black bears were placed on the state’s threatened list in 1974, when there were between 300 and 500 across Florida. At the time, hunting black bears was limited to three counties. In 1994, the hunting season was closed statewide.
The issue has gained attention recently because of conflicts between bears and humans in some areas of the state. Critics of the hunt contend that people are moving into bear habitats and that the state should focus on efforts such as bear-proofing trash containers and prohibiting people from feeding bears.
The cost to get a bear hunting permit is $100 for Floridians and $300 for non-Floridians. The permits will be available up until the day before the hunt begins.
Each hunter is limited to one bear, and the kill will have to be registered and tagged within 12 hours.
–Jim Turner, News Service of Florida
Don’t know what goes thru peoples heads on this one. Open Season on everything. Go figure
Oh yeah except the invasive species those don’t get hunted down lol WTG FWC
The 3 Bears says
The residents of Florida in great majority oppose this license to kill but the Wildlife Management went ahead with it anyway…awful! What else can we do to stop this bear hunt?
We come take these bears habitat and when they bother us looking for diminished food sources we shoot them? What kind of humanity is that….maybe some good Florida Tourism Boycott will stop this hunt!:
“Visit the Sunshine State were you can get to see a dead beautiful bear on the back of a pick up truck and ruin your vacation! Or may get shot while walking our nature trails by a camouflaged shot gun confusing you with a bear!
Yeah Visit Florida the paradise with license to kill!
What will be next..? License to Bulls, Dogs or Cocks Fights!
What else more unfair, ridiculous and a great conflict of interest is that members of our Florida Wildlife Commission are “HUNTERS themselves” Is like having the Fox watching the chicken coop! Our Governor should show more compassion and stop this hunt NOW!
just me says
Wow this is great the state just raised almost $185000 for true conservation and it was all gladly paid for by those who truly understand?LOVE wildlife and nature. Hunters and other outdoor sportsmen put more $ into true conservation than any other group. Only an idiot would go bear hunting wit a shotgun. and why cant people who are outdoorsmen be on the wildlife commission? It seems better to have those who know and use it then a nut job environmentalist.
David S says
We need to relocate these bars not destroy them its our falt for letting this happen ie:Feeding them,leaving our trash cans out,leaving our garage doors open etc… these are wild animals they are only doing what they is natural to them.
David S says
Sorry I should have said bears not bars!!!!!1
This “hunt” is deplorable. The State of Florida is going to execute 320 bears and call it wildlife management. The killers are going to murder these bears and call it “harvesting”. This is really Orwellian.
Johnny Taxpayer says
[Selected as the Comment of the Day in the Daily Briefing.–FL]
I’m curious to know what the commentators above would offer as a viable solution to the bear problem many in our part of Florida are currently experiencing? In many parts of West Volusia there are daily bear intrusions, not just into rural homes, but sub-divisions surrounded for miles by other subdivisions. I suppose I can understand the “we built in their habitat” argument (perhaps 30 years ago), but what is your solution? Demolish thousands of houses and institute mandatory relocation of the families that live there to other parts of the state or country? The simple fact is parts of Florida are over crowded with Bears, catch and relocate is not a feasible solution, a very limited and controlled hunt is.
o.k., Johnny, how about trap and relocate. How about residents use secure refuse containers.
Hammock Bear says
Trap and Relocate is the way to go. Keep trash and pet foods inside, clean barbecue grills so Not to invite them. People have built in the bears habitat and should know better than to feed them. Relocation of bears is the decent way to handle this.
Sorry, but we do not have a bear problem but instead people is the problem…I lived in this are since 1991 and I never had a bear or wildlife problem that could not be resolved by respectful coexistence and sharing “theirs, yes their habitat and our intrusion on it! If we are going to be invaders at least lets do it with some compassion.
David S says
There has to be a better solution for this problem there are more pythons in south fla than bears I feel that FWC could have come up with something other than a bear hunt !!!!.
Fix Em Up Right says
Look for the “BEAR” necessities . Those simple Bear necessities !!!!
Flagler Resident says
Johnny Taxpayer If the bears are causing a problem in subdivisions how will hunting bears in management areas help. Problem animals will not be eliminated through this practice. As an avid hunter I can tell you this when a bear finds a food source it stays pretty close. So with a hunt it seems we will eliminate the bears that are not a problem. Does that make sense?
That makes too much sense for the tobacco spittin gun toters
Bears are not good eating. Why bother? The numbers do not warrant a cull. Now, armadillos…that’s another thing. You may take all the armadillos you like from my area. I saw Andrew Zimmern eat one in Florida on the Travel Channel. Bet you can’t eat just one! They’re free! Come and get them and leave the bears alone.
Sue noble says
Hunters outnumber bears 6 to 1. Bears many times that more wiley.
Outnumber 6 to 1? Ridiculous lie of a headline. There may be 6 times more hunters than bears allowed harvested but not 6 more than the entire population. The state of the fifth estate is a sad shambles. Look at Georgia where only 6% of hunters harvest a bear. So it would take over 5000 hunters to harvest the statewide objective. It seems ok to stereotype and call certain cultures names in this modern era but I say its never ok. Hunters are the stewards of this land. They take care of it. They are they ones initiating clean up. They are the ones initiating protection for certain species. They are the group and culture of people that saved this countries wildlife heritage. You have them to thank every day you enjoy in the wilderness. You have them to thank every time you see a bear. We have truly lost our connection to the wilderness. We have became a society of non-participating and we judge peoples that truly live off the land. Go to McDonald’s and eat a tortured chicken sandwich you lousy dishonorable hypocrites.