Volusia and Putnam counties will receive a combined $98,000. Flagler County will receive no grant. The announcement came six months after the Fish and Wildlife commission voted against holding a bear hunt this year.
The recommendation to hold the state’s second bear hunt in the past 20 years expands on a proposal from state biologists without offering hard numbers of bears that could be killed or suggesting a number of permits that could be made available or the costs of permits.
Florida wildlife officials approved a controversial bear hunt last year but have not made a decision about another hunt yet. They’re expected to receive a staff recommendation by June 22.
The Volusia County Council on Thursday unanimously approved a “symbolic” resolution urging the commission to reinstate a prohibition on hunting Florida black bears.
The commission in October 2015 held its first bear hunt in more than two decades as a means to slow the increase of black bears in the state and to reduce dangerous interactions between bears and humans. But the hunt was highly controversial, with opponents protesting in various parts of the state.
The chairman of Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s comparison of hunting bear to shopping at Whole Foods prompts Tom O’Hara to investigate. He strikes out on bear meat.
Florida Fish and Wildlife officials acknowledged the agency “underestimated the hunter success for the first day,” and said a number of scenarios from the planned week-long hunt — cut down to two days — will have to be factored into future planning.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission cleared the killing of at least 320 black bears for two to seven days in October, the first bear-hunting season in two decades.
With permits for this fall’s hunt going on sale Monday, the Seminole County-based group Speak Up Wekiva filed a lawsuit in Leon County circuit court Friday challenging the constitutionality of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission-approved bear hunt.
Opponents of the proposed hunt have argued the state should consider relocating problem bears and that people need to be held more responsible for leaving out unsecured food and trash that attracts bears.