2016 Florida Bear Hunt in the Works
Russ Chastain 04.18.16
It appears as if the trend towards actually managing Florida’s exploding bear population may well continue in 2016, with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reportedly working at setting up another black bear hunt after the success of the 2015 hunt, which ran for just two days (one day in many areas) and allowed hunters to take 304 bears.
The proposed harvest goal of 320 was based on decades-old data, which claimed the entire Florida bear population was a mere 3,000. Newer numbers claim 4,350 adult bears in the state, a number which I still feel is far below reality.
In that first Florida bear hunt in more than two decades, I was fortunate enough to take my first-ever black bear, and it was an experience I’m not likely to forget. The meat continues to provide me with good eating, too. Perhaps best of all, I was able to help in a small way to stem the expansion of the bear population in Florida, which has grown so large that bears often literally harass suburban folks in their own back yards.
As my fellow AllOutdoor writer Bob McNally said one year ago, “There are plenty of burly bruins in Florida’s tangled woods.” And that’s just as true today as it was before last year’s hunt.
Another bear hunt can only help things, in my opinion.