black bears

bear sleeping
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission via Flickr

TALLAHASSEE — Florida has a "robust" and growing bear population, according to the latest state estimate.

Bear killed during hunt
WKMG-TV

After just two days, Florida ended its controversial black bear hunt because a higher than expected number of bears had been killed.

Wildlife authorities said late Sunday that 295 bears taken overall, nearing the official limit in what was supposed to be. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission posted a statement on its website saying it had closed the 2015 hunt because it was approaching an agency "objective" of 320 bears overall.

"The 2015 bear hunt is officially over," the statement said.

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.

UNF's Public Opinion Research Laboratory recently released their latest polls of likely 2016 Republican and Democratic voters here in Florida. The numbers show Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are still the front runners for next year's presidential election. We discuss the results with Mike Binder, UNF professor of political science and faculty director.


Florida’s first bear hunt in more than 20 years should be able to proceed later this month says Leon Circuit Judge George Reynolds III. Reynolds denied an environmental group’s request for a temporary injunction Thursday.

Pat Gaines via Flickr

With Florida black bear hunting season scheduled to start next month, a conservation group is asking a judge to block it. But a veteran wildlife lawyer says the group’s chance of success is slim.


Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Gov. Rick Scott will not use executive authority to block the state's first bear-hunting season in more than two decades, despite pleas from animal-rights groups.

While anti-hunt groups have been collecting petitions and planning protests across the state on the eve of next month's hunt, the governor's office said Scott has left the issue up to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, which has already voted to proceed.

bear sleeping
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission via Flickr

A target was placed on at least 320 black bears Wednesday as the once-threatened species will be hunted across Florida next month for the first time in more than two decades.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will be asked next week to set a quota of 320 bears for a controversial hunt in October.

The hunt, the first in the state in more than 20 years, has already attracted 1,795 hunters who have purchased permits, according to the commission.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Conservation groups want a judge to shoot down the return of bear hunting in Florida and to halt the pending sale of bear-hunting permits.

With permits for this fall's hunt going on sale Monday, the Seminole County-based group Speak Up Wekiva filed a lawsuit in Leon County circuit court Friday challenging the constitutionality of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission-approved bear hunt.

"There is no evidence to support the supposition that hunting bears in remote wildlife management areas will reduce conflicts in suburbia," the lawsuit contends.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Rules for the state's first bear hunt in more than 20 years have been published as the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is expected next month to give final approval to the hunt.

The posting of the rules came as the Humane Society has reached out to Gov. Rick Scott to halt the pending hunt because the commission has yet to determine how many bears are in Florida.

"This is very premature," said Kate MacFall, the Humane Society's Florida director. "They haven't even finished the count. They don't even know about the bear population."

For the first time in two decades, Florida officials have scheduled a bear hunting season. It's a response to a rise in bear attacks — but it has some environmentalists upset.

Experts say there's plenty of room for humans and black bears to co-exist, but the smell of food is pulling the animals out of the woods and into neighborhoods.

If you want to understand the situation, take a trip to Franklin County, in the pandhandle. A few months ago, a bear attacked a teenager there while she walked her dog near a convenience store.