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.