UPDATE: Judge Affirms Florida Bear Hunt
A judge has ruled Florida’s first bear hunt in two decades may proceed later this month.
The judge ruled Thursday against environmentalists who argue the hunt will damage the population of the animal that was removed from the state’s threatened list in 2012.
Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds’ decision came after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission appeared to shift its stance on one aspect of the hunt environmentalists had complained about.
Diane Eggeman oversees hunting and game management for the state agency. She testified the agency’s executive director can end the hunt after the first day if its goal of 320 slain bears is met.
“If the objective was exceeded after the first day over and above the rule the executive director has the authority to close the hunt after the first day, and there would not be hunting on the second day, if that’s the action the executive director took in an emergency situation.”
Reynolds was satisfied.
“Of all of the complaints that were made by the plaintiffs I find that as a matter of law I’m not able to issue a temporary injunction.”
Speak Up Wekiva and central Florida activist Chuck O’Neal had brought the suit. They argue that with more than 2,000 licenses sold the hunt’s goal likely will be surpassed.
Florida Fish and Wildlife describes the weeklong hunt as conservative. The agency says it will monitor the hunt closely and end it early as the goal is met.
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