207 Animals Reported Taken Statewide During First Day of Florida’s Bear Hunt
By MyFWC.com // October 25, 2015
FWC set the statewide harvest objective at 320
On the first day of Florida’s bear hunt, 207 bears were reported taken statewide, a number that is well within the allowable range of a conservative hunt.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) set the statewide harvest objective at 320.
FWC concluded that harvest objectives were met in two bear management units (BMUs), and via measures in place, closed the East Panhandle and the Central BMUs for the rest of the season beginning Sunday, Oct. 25.
The North and South BMUs will remain open to hunting on Sunday, Oct. 25 and will continue to be monitored on a daily basis.
The harvest success in the East Panhandle BMU, while higher than expectations, is an indicator of the region’s increasing bear population.
FWC took a conservative approach to setting harvest objectives, building in buffers so the number of bears harvested will stabilize growing populations while ensuring healthy bear numbers.
All check stations within the East Panhandle and Central BMUs will stay open through noon Eastern time on Oct. 25.
Check station locations and hours are available here.
Permitted hunters in the North and South BMUs must continue to verify with the FWC after each day of the hunt to determine whether those BMUs will remain open. Updated information on BMU closures will be made available each day during the season around 9 p.m. Eastern time.
Hunters can learn of these possible BMU closures after 9 p.m. by:
• Calling the Bear Hunting Hotline toll free at 844-FWC-BEAR (844-392-2327)
• Checking MyFWC.com/Hunting
Also, emails and texts regarding any season closures to a BMU will be sent to those who have provided the FWC with their contact information. In addition, law enforcement will make a concerted effort to reach out to hunters in remote areas to notify them of East Panhandle and Central BMUs bear season closures.
Florida has large, resilient bear populations in the four bear management units open to hunting. This science-based, carefully regulated hunt will help ensure proper balance of bear populations relative to available habitat and other management objectives while still supporting healthy bear numbers. Information from the 2015 hunt in addition to updated population information expected in 2016 for three additional BMUs (East Panhandle, West Panhandle and South) will be used to guide management efforts in subsequent years.
Regulated hunting has a long, successful history of contributing to conservation in North America. Of the 41 states with resident bear populations, 32 of them conduct hunts and all have stable to increasing bear populations.
The hunt is just one component of FWC’s overall bear management strategy, and FWC will continue to invest much staff time and resources in efforts such as outreach and education, waste management, and removing bears that pose a threat to human safety.
Bear permits were available from Aug. 3 to Oct. 23 and during that period 3,778 were sold. Bear permit sales totaled more than $376,900 and plans call for using that to help fund abatement of human/bear conflicts through comprehensive waste management efforts in Florida.
The four bear management units open to hunting reported the following harvest totals for Saturday, Oct. 24:
Bear Management Unit Harvest Totals
• East Panhandle BMU = 81 bears – closed to further hunting
• Central Panhandle BMU = 99 bears – closed to further hunting
• North BMU = 12 bears – open for bear hunting on 10/25
• South BMU = 15 bears – open for bear hunting on 10/25