Bear Hunting

Environmentalists To File Suit Over Bear Hunt

Jul 31, 2015
Heather Paul via Flickr

Environmentalists plan to file suit today against the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission seeking to stop the state's first bear hunt in two decades. They say the hunt scheduled for October is unconstitutional.

The Center for Biological Diversity and Speak Up Wekiva plan to file suit in Leon County.

The Humane Society of the United States on Monday delivered more than 90,000 names of people who, the group says, want Gov. Rick Scott to halt anticipated approval of the state's first bear hunt in more than two decades.

Scott, however, is deferring to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on the proposed hunt, which has the backing of the powerful National Rifle Association and Unified Sportsmen of Florida.

Heather Paul via Flickr

Florida's top wildlife authority says bears represent quote "a great conservation success story" in the state and that it's time move from saving them to managing them.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's executive director released a statement Monday defending an upcoming hunt of the animals.

Facing a June 24 deadline, animal rights activists made a last-ditch effort Wednesday to convince Governor Rick Scott to halt the first bear hunting season in two decades. The appeal fell on deaf ears.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters

Black Bears represent a successful come-back story in Florida. Driven to the brink of extinction in the early 1900s, black bears were placed on the state’s threatened species list in 1974, and since then their population has rebounded to an estimated 3,000 animals in the wild today. Now Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission officials are looking to introduce the first recreational black bear hunting season in more than 20 years. FWC officials will take a final vote on the proposal at their meeting in Sarasota later this month.