Defendants posted videos of bears being chased and mauled by large packs of dogs after being lured with dog food, doughnuts, pastries and peanut butter in areas of Baker, Flagler, Marion and Union counties.
The bear has been linked to areas around Ulaturn Trail, Ullian Trail and Selma Trail. FWC is canvassing the neighborhood and urging residents to eliminate outdoor food sources.
Florida game officials are getting an update on the state’s growing black bear population, a discussion animal-rights supporters contend is a first step toward holding a hunt later this year.
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.
Natalae Almeter of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will host a presentation on the topic Thursday evening at 6 p.m. at Palm Coast’s City Hall, in the Community Wing. It’s open and free to the public.
After hours of objections from animal-rights advocates and support from hunters, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted 4-3 late Wednesday against a staff recommendation to hold a hunt in October that could have been smaller — in terms of permits and hunting grounds — than the 2015 event in which 304 bears were killed over two days.
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.
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 hunt, which includes Flagler County, limits each permit holder to killing a single bear weighing at least 100 pounds and won’t exceed the overall 320 bears targeted for what the commission calls a “harvest.”