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Statewide Bear Hunt Protests Set For Friday; Season Opens Saturday

Pat Gaines via Flickr

Protesters are running out of time to stop Florida’s first legal black bear hunt in more than twenty years. More than 2,500 hunting permits have been sold for the week-long bear season that starts Saturday.

Jacksonville activist Adam Sugalski says teams of people will be going into the woods during the hunt to monitor the hunt. They also want to check the stomach contents of dead bears to see how many were shot in the wild and how many were baited.

“Because right now there are bears on these big hunting properties that are basically semi-domesticated bears eating from deer feeders that are gonna be basically shooting fish in a barrel," Sugalski said.

According to Florida law, hunters are not allowed to kill bears within 100 feet of food used as bait.

Sugalaski says he helped plan bear hunt protests in ten Florida cities. They’re scheduled to take place from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Friday.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission capped the hunt at 320 black bears.  It’s estimated Florida has around 3,000 total.

Cyd Hoskinson began working at WJCT on Valentine’s Day 2011.