With Black Bear Population On Rise, Florida May Allow Hunts

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — With Florida’s black bears rebounding from near extinction, clashes with humans are on the rise, and the state is considering a limited hunting season as part of the solution.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission didn’t make a decision Wednesday but appeared receptive to the idea, raising cheers from hunters and the hackles of animal rights advocates. It would be the first time since 1994 for legalized bear hunting in the state.

The black bear population is rebounding from the Panhandle to Big Cypress National Preserve, near Miami. In 1974, there were 300 to 500. Now, there are believed to be more than 3,000.

In the past year, there have been four black bear attacks on people. And calls to wildlife officials about bears have increased by 400 percent over the past decade.

Allison Leslie is a University of South Florida graduate with a bachelors degree in Mass Communications. She joined Genesis in 2016. With a passion for sports, Allison has interned with 620 WDAE, Pewter Report, Trifecta Team: St. Petersburg Bowl, Bullscast, and many other publications. Being a native to the Bay Area, she has followed and supported Tampa Bay teams her whole life.