Good News, Animal Lovers! Florida Bear Hunting Halted

Good News, Animal Lovers! Florida Bear Hunting Halted
Grizzly Bear chascar / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Future hunting of bears in the state of Florida will be held off, as voted by the state wildlife officials.


The hunting will be put off until more information regarding the same can be gathered by the officials.

The decision, which came in a meeting held at Franklin County School in Eastpoint, in Florida Panhandle, was arrived at after the commission voted 4-3 to postpone hunting for at least a year. In the meantime, more information regarding the population of bears in the state and how it can be managed in an ideal way will be collected and studied.

As reported by News 4 Jax, a recommendation from the commission suggested the hunting period be fragmented into slots of three or four days in which hunters could apply for permits on first come first serve basis.

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Officials from the FWC said last year’s hunting involved granting permits to as many as 3,800 people. While the hunting period was only supposed to be for a week, it was brought to a close two days after it started. Of the 321 bears that were allowed to be hunted, 304 had already been killed; thereby raising concerns that the allowed quote may be exceeded. Hunters had also killed 36 lactating females.

According to the Miami Herald, four options were given by the commission staff.

  1. To have another hunt, as had happened last fall.
  2. To impose a ban on all bear hunting, something that was effective prior to 1994.
  3. To not have a 2016 bear hunt season, thereby giving officials more time to collect information and conduct scientific studies. This step was supported by the Florida Wildlife Federation, Defenders of Wildlife and other environmental groups.
  4. To limit the hunting as compared to last year’s. This would involve separating the hunt into three phases, and a particular hunter would only be allowed to participate in one phase.

According to March data, the population of bears in the state had risen by as much as 60 percent over the last 14 years, with the total number of bears currently at 4,350.

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  • stewart lands

    It makes sense to base the decision on data. I would be very curious to know how many bears remain (advocates claimed they would be decimated) and whether or not the hunt had any impact on the number of problem bears found in neighborhoods.

    Until such data becomes available, it make sense to require improved garbage cans, eliminate bird feeders, fruit trees and gardens, etc. and then fine those who will not comply with such bear safety requirements (as is done in national parks). Then, if the problem persists, then conduct a hunt.