Florida Black Bear Hunting Ban Proposed For 10 Years
Bob McNally 03.06.17
State senator Linda Stewart (D-Orlando) has proposed a bill (SB 1304) to ban bear hunts in Florida for 10 years and provide $1 million for Floridians to purchase bear-proof garbage cans.
A companion Florida State House bill (HB 491) was filed last month by Rep. Amy Mercado, D-Orlando, which would outlaw hunting black bears in Florida until 2027.
Over $800,000 in state money was spent in 2016 in 12 Florida counties for resident and business bear-proof trash cans.
All of this is in the aftermath of Florida’s first bear hunt in 20 years that produced 304 bears in Oct. 2015. Florida bear populations have multiplied exponentially in recent years, and human-bear encounters have increased to dangerous levels with no sign of that diminishing. That is especially true with Florida’s never-ending growth into bear habitat.
Anti-bear hunter sentiment is high in some Florida urban areas. Yet recreational hunting of bruins is a viable and very effective method of controlling bears and instilling in the animals the “fear of man,” which has been lost over the last two decades.
If recreational black bear hunting can be done in Georgia, New Jersey, and New York (including Westchester County not far from the Bronx) it surely has a place in Florida bear management.