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Florida Approves First Bear Hunt In Two Decades

Most public speakers opposed the hunt. Photo courtesy Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Florida will hold its first bear hunt in two decades this October.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved the hunt Wednesday after considering hours of public testimony.

Some 80 members of the public addressed the commission, the vast majority of them opposing the hunt of the animal that was removed from the state’s threatened list in 2012.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Vice Chairman Brian Yablonski says proceeds from the sale of hunting permits will go toward bear conservation.

“There are more bears in Florida today than in any time since 1914. And in 1914 we only had about a million people, and today as it was noted we’re approaching 20 million people.”

The seven-day hunt is aimed at managing the state’s growing bear population. One commission member voted against the hunt, saying there needed to be more scientific study.

Central Florida is home to the state’s largest bear population. Three of four recent maulings in the state took place in the region.


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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment and climate change at WMFE News. She is an award-winning journalist and author whose extensive reporting on the Everglades is featured in the book MOVING WATER, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and podcast DRAINED, available wherever you get your podcasts. Amy’s ... Read Full Bio »