Property owners sued the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission for not properly keeping hunters’ dogs away from their lands. They won, only for an appeals court to reverse the decision.
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.
In a 5-2 decision, justices cleared Weeks on the gun-possession charge because state law treats antique firearms — and their replicas — different from other guns. The ruling said lawmakers exempted firearms manufactured in or before 1918 and their replicas from the prohibition on felons possessing guns.
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.
Barbara Petersen, president of the First Amendment Foundation, welcomed the defeat of the bill, which she labeled “the Ted Nugent Act” because of publicity surrounding a bear hunt last year.
People getting hunting, fishing and boating licenses and certificates from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission would be shielded from public record disclosures.
Some 304 bears were killed in two days and few hunters cited for violations, but critics called it a slaughter, saying most of the bears were killed on private land, where state regulations could be more easily skirted.