Volusia County, FL-After hearing a parade of public commenters, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission has decided not to go forward with another black bear hunt in the fall. The FWC began a two-day meeting Wednesday. The vote was 4 to 3 with FWC scientists supporting the hunt.
Nick Wiley, FWC executive director said, “Although hunting has been demonstrated to be a valuable tool to control bear populations across the country, it is just one part of FWC’s comprehensive bear management program. I am proud of our staff who used the latest, cutting-edge, peer-reviewed science to develop a recommendation for our Commissioners to consider. Our agency will continue to work with Floridians, the scientific community and local governments as our focus remains balancing the needs of Florida’s growing bear population with what’s best for families in our state. I would like to thank all seven of our Commissioners for their leadership on this important issue.”
Earlier reporting follows:
The Florida Wildlife Commission is trying to figure out if there should be another bear hunt this year. More than 100 people got up to tell the Commissioners their opinion on the hunt.
The first speaker, Sheri Hutchins, said that her 15-year-old daughter had been attacked by a bear while walking her dog. The girl is now afraid to go outside. Hutchins asked for a controlled hunt.
The second speaker, Karl Ambrose, comes from a family of hunters but pointed out the fact that bear habitat is being destroyed and the bears don’t have anywhere to go except into the neighborhoods. He’s asking for a controlled hunt.
Another speaker, Lisa Grossman, is very much against another bear hunt and criticized the Commission. She said the Commission purposely oversold permits in 2015 for the bear hunt. Grossman continued that there was little oversight, allowing nursing mothers to be killed and cubs to be orphaned.
It took almost six hours for the more than 100 people to speak. The FWC Commission meeting continues tomorrow.
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