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Is Allowing Bear Hunting the Key to Curbing Bear Conflicts? Fla. Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Says Not Exactly

April 23, 2014 | WMFE, Orlando - Some Florida lawmakers are calling for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to step up their tactics for dealing with bears.

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After an uptick in calls to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission about bears, a few lawmakers want the Commission to consider allowing hunting in hotspot areas.

The calls for action are following an incident where a Lake Mary resident was mauled by a bear.

The Fish and Wildlife Commission isn't ruling out hunting as an option, but officials say there's no one easy fix.

“The idea that hunting would be the silver bullet, the only tool we need to use, that’s not true," says Dave Telesco, Bear Management Coordinator for the FWC.

"It is one tool, and it can assist, but it’s not something that we can just say, ‘The be all and end all is hunting, and if we could just hunt, all of these problems would go away.'”

Telesco says that the commission will be looking at biological data and listening to local input before making any decisions on whether or not to allow hunting.

Another option, which Telesco says is an easier fix, is to have residents secure their trash in bear proof cans.

Some of the cans can cost up to $200, but Telesco says there is a cheaper alternative.

 “There are plenty of ways people can secure their trash, including free. If you have a sturdy shed or garage, just whatever trash can you happen to have, keep it in the garage or the sturdy shed until the morning of pick up, and you’re secure.”

Residents should check with their local waste management units and inquire about obtaining secure trash cans.

Telesco says the number of calls complaining about bears increased from 6,300 to 6,700 between  2012-2013.


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