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Florida Officials Consider Bringing Back Bear Hunting

Posted by Wild Florida on January 14,2015 07:16:AM

After enduring several black bear attacks, Florida wildlife managers will discuss whether to restore bear hunting to the state after a 20-year ban next month. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will consider whether to draw up a detailed hunting plan or to drop the idea during a meeting on February 4. The potential hunting plan can be controversial because of public safety concerns.

Since records started being kept, there have been sixteen recorded bear injuries in Florida, but many of these injuries will be minor and many of those interactions were provoked by humans. In 2014, attacks have increased significantly, particularly right on the outskirts of Orlando where residential areas are pushed up to heavily wooded areas like the Ocala National Forest. The latest attack occurred in December in the Panhandle where a 15-year-old girl was attacked, dragged off the road and mauled until her dog drove off the bear.

The hunting ban started in the 1970s after the bear species suffered a severe decline based on years of logging, hunting and urban development, and in the meantime, the black bear population had rebounded and risen to about 3,000 in Florida based on a count done in 2002.
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