Florida bear hunt halted after 298 bears killed statewide

- The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said there were 298 bears killed during the two-day bear hunt and the majority were harvested in Central Florida.  While FWC said the kill rates were higher than expected here in our area and in the east Panhandle, the total numbers actually came back just shy of their 320 objective.

Seven days were allotted for the hunt but FWC shut it down in two of the four Bear Management Units after the first day and completely called it off after Sunday night as numbers approached 320.  In Central Florida, 139 bears were killed.  In the East Panhandle, North, and South bear management units, there were 112, 25, and 22 bears killed, respectively. 

FWC said, for the most part, hunters complied with regulations. However, the agency did investigate several instances of underweight bears being killed, hunters baiting the bears and those who shot bears without a permit.  While the hunt didn't come without it's fair share of controversy, FWC maintains the hunt was necessary to stabilize the states large and resilient black bear population.  FOX 35 asked the agency if it's planning another hunt sometime soon and was told at this point, they don't know.

"We are going to take everything into consideration. How this hunt went. We are going to look at population data. We are going to look at a variety of different things and we will make that decision in the future," said Greg Workman, FWC spokesperson.

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