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Florida Wildlife Commissioners: No Bear Hunt This Year

Wildlife authorities check a dead bear during Florida's bear hunt. Photo by Amy Green
Wildlife authorities check a dead bear during Florida's bear hunt. Photo by Amy Green

UPDATE: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissions voted against having a bear hunt this year. After nearly 7 hours of comments, including public input, the commission voted 4 to 3 against a hunt in 2016.

The commission also recommended gathering more information to consider a hunt in 2017.

Original Story

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission considered Wednesday whether to hold another bear hunt.

Commissioners were faced with four options, from holding another hunt this year to banning bear hunting from the state entirely.
Florida Fish and Wildlife biologists recommended another hunt this year with new restrictions, like reducing the hunt area to where human-bear interactions are most frequent.

Commissioners considered hours of public testimony. Sheri Hutchins' 15-year-old daughter was attacked while walking her dog. She says the Panhandle teen suffered "52 bite marks down the right side of her body, half of her face was ripped open, her ear was ripped off, large gashes all through the top of her head."

Hutchins supported another hunt. Others called for better trash management.

Local governments statewide have approved resolutions opposing another hunt, including here in central Florida. The region is home to the state's largest bear population.


Amy Green covered the environment for WMFE until 2023. Her work included the 2020 podcast DRAINED.