Bear Hunting

Florida’s first bear hunt in decades ended after just two days. While the number of bears culled never reached the 320-bear-target the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission had set, officials closed the hunt early to maintain what they call a conservative hunt.

Jessica Meszaros / WGCU News

Protesters rallied in Fort Myers on Friday, advocating against the state’s first bear hunt in more than two decades. The season starts Saturday and lasts up to seven days. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said the state’s bear population has rebounded in the last 50 years. There have been some recent reports of bears moving into residential areas.

Before Florida Bear Hunt, Euthanizations Soar

Oct 23, 2015
Heather Paul via Flickr

Florida will hold its first bear hunt in two decades this weekend to manage the population of the animal that is a nuisance in many neighborhoods and responsible for maulings statewide.

Wildlife authorities agree the best way to keep bears out of neighborhoods is to remove food sources like garbage. State regulations prohibit leaving garbage outside for bears.

But a search of records reveals wildlife authorities rarely are enforcing the regulation, choosing instead to euthanize problem bears. 

Michelle Buntin

It’s been 20 years since Florida’s last bear hunt, and environmentalists opposed to the hunt are seeking volunteers to monitor hunters, to make sure everything is being done by the books.

Speak Up Wekiva is seeking volunteers to photograph vehicle license plates of hunters to ensure those hunters are permitted to participate.