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Florida House Approves Stiffer Bear Poaching Penalties

Wildlife authorities check a dead bear during Florida's bear hunt. Photo by Amy Green

The Florida House has approved a bill that would increase the penalties for killing black bears. 

The measure would boost the minimum fine for bear poaching up to $750, from the maximum of $500 dollars under current law. 

Hunting licenses could be suspended for three years, instead of the current yearlong maximum. The measure still must go before the Senate. 

Bears remain off-limits for hunters, although wildlife advocates have pushed for stiffer penalties for poaching. The penalties for turkeys and deer are more severe.

Central Florida is home to the state’s largest bear population. The animal was removed from the state’s threatened list in 2012. 

A controversial hunt — the first in more than two decades — ended early four years ago when hunters killed more bears than expected. 

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Amy Green

About Amy Green

Reporter and Producer

Amy Green covers the environment for 90.7 News. She is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a regular contributor for NPR, PEOPLE, Newsweek, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor and many other top news organizations. Her in-progress book on the Everglades is under contract with Johns ... Read Full Bio »