In an announcement that likely both surprised and infuriated bear advocates in the sunshine state, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is recommending a fall bear hunt in 2016.

The hunt itself, if approved, will be broken into three, four-day periods on a first-come, first-served basis for permits and will be the second bear hunt in the state in the past 20 years.  With increased populations of black bears in Florida to the tune of about a 24 percent increase since last year’s hunt, wildlife biologists believe the best way to slow the growth of bear populations is through hunting.

“The staff recommendation is to continue to use hunting to slow the growth of bear populations,” said the recommendation by Diane Eggeman, director of the Division of Hunting and Game Management. “The new hunt format, which would begin in 2016, would be modified to increase precision and accountability.”

 

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Image: MYFWC

If you will recall, last year’s bear hunt, originally scheduled to run for 7 days, was cut short after just two days as hunters obliterated quotas.  When it was all said and done, 304 bears were killed in 2015 with an estimated population of 3,500 bears roaming the state,

The news has sent shock waves through throngs of opponents to Florida’s controversial bear hunt.  As the news broke about the recommendation, backlash immediately ensued from the Humane Society and the Stop The Florida Bear Hunt groups.  A group of activists with the Animal Rights Foundation of Florida has hung a banner from the Interstate 4 overpass as they make their way from Orlando to Tallahassee on their anti-hunting adventure.

The recommendation would see the initial hunting season kick off on October 21, followed by the second session on October 26 and closing out with the final hunt scheduled to start on October 31.  The recommendation is available online and is one of four proposals put before the commission.