New bill would stop Florida bear hunts for the next 10 years


  • Photo via FWC/Flikr
A new bill filed by Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, would stop the hunting of Florida black bears for a decade and set aside at least $1 million dollars to purchase more bear-proof trash containers.

The bill (SB 1304) also contains regulations for controlled burns of state forests in ordered to allow the regrowth of oak trees, palmettos and other berry-producing plants that black bears eat.

The bear hunting moratorium would require the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to conduct a five-year population trend study of the bear population, along with the impact of hunting.

In 2016, the FWC voted against holding a bear hunt in Florida and spent $825,000 in 12 counties to help reduce the potential of human and bear conflicts.

So far, no black bear hunt has been scheduled for 2017.

A hunt was conducted in 2015 that killed 304 Florida black bears. If Stewart's bill passes, no Florida bear hunts would be legal until July 1, 2027.