POLL: Is Florida’s Bear Hunt Necessary?

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After just two days, Florida ended its controversial black bear hunt because a higher than expected number of bears had been killed.

Wildlife authorities said late on Sunday that 295 bears were taken overall, nearing the official limit.

The Florida fish and wildlife conservation commission (FWC) posted a statement on its website saying it had closed the 2015 hunt because it was approaching an agency “objective” of 320 bears overall.

“The 2015 bear hunt is officially over,” the statement said.

Encounters between humans and black bears are on the rise in Florida, and state officials say a limited hunting season could help control the bear population. Photograph by Carlton Ward Jr.

Wildlife officials had already shut down hunting in designated central and east Panhandle regions of Florida after the first day, Saturday.

They said 112 bears were killed in the Panhandle region at last count, nearly triple the 40 kill limit for that area. In the central region, 139 bears were killed, it said.

The agency’s statement added that 23 bears were taken in the north unit at last count and 21 bears in the south unit before those final two areas were closed on Sunday to hunting.

The statement late on Sunday said additional north and south units were closed to hunting after the second day, meaning hunting had ended in all four “bear management units” were it was allowed.

Authorities said they were not alarmed by the numbers, saying the figures suggested the bear population was higher than they thought. The hunt was approved earlier this year after considerable and contentious debate.

Two Cubs murdered together – #FloridaBearHunt

Backers estimated Florida’s black bear population had grown to 3,500 – from a few hundred in the 1970s. But opponents challenged those numbers.

More than 30 states allow bear hunting in some form, officials said.

Earlier on Sunday, the agency’s executive director, Nick Wiley, said the agency closely monitored the numbers of bears taken and was already leaning toward ending the hunt after two days.

Two 200-pound-plus female Florida black bears in the back of a pickup truck on the fist day of the 2015 Florida bear hunt, the first in more than 20 years – Photograph by Carlton Ward Jr.

The agency’s subsequent statement late on Sunday said the agency “took a conservative approach … building in buffers so the number of bears harvested would stabilize growing populations while ensuring a continuation of healthy bear numbers”.

More than 3,200 hunters purchased permits to participate, including 1970s rocker Ted Nugent and Liesa Priddy, a rancher and FWC member who voted to approve the new hunts.

Backers of the hunt said growing numbers of bears presented a safety problem, as close encounters with bears made headlines in recent months. Activists have argued that the state should instead focus on curbing nuisance bears and assuring safety through trash management and other means. Opponents of the hunt staged protests around the state over the weekend.

Masters of the Hunt: Florida’s Black Bear and the Conquest of Nature – by Richard Foster

Officials set up 33 stations where hunters were required to record each kill within 12 hours, with some of the last stations to remain open until noon on Monday.

Hunters were prohibited from using dogs or bait to lure the bears, and could only kill bears weighing more than 100lb, among other restrictions.

Among the weapons allowed were shotguns, bows, pistols, revolvers and crossbows.

This article was first published by The Guardian on 26 Oct 2015.

We invite you to share your opinion whether Florida’s bear hunt is necessary? Please vote and leave your comments at the bottom of this page:

Is Florida’s Bear Hunt Necessary?

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Meta Williams

You R right on!

Meta Williams

You R right on!

Meta Williams

They're also missing a heart.

Meta Williams

They're also missing a heart.

Eddy Alvarez


Ralph Jones

Many cubs killed and a large number of nursing momma bears were killed. All this was against the LAW. The people that did this either got a slap on the wrist or nothing at all. It is a tragity to watch wildlife destroyed like this. This Florida state run MASSACRE was a discrace for Florida and our nation.

Andy Fowler

It is listed by the IUCN as a "least concern" species, due to its widespread distribution and a large global population estimated to be twice that of all other bear species combined. Along with the brown bear, it is one of only two of the eight modern bear species not considered globally threatened with extinction by the IUCN

Alexander Roberts
Breeze Azrael

there werent that many bears to warrant population control.

Breeze Azrael

Im pissed off.. this is a game for psychopaths and the govt officials are part of it! No wonder the country is going to sh*t

Hubert Mollaret

When does man hunting season start?
No quotas for this prolific and stupid species.

Sindie Meintjes

They must rather kill human beings like themselves! Their a disgrace to this world!

Nina Stavlund

In my opinion, there's no reason to kill anything anymore. People hunting are onl;y allowed to go spycho because they pay. It's a primal instinct, which we need to evolve away from. Why kill animals and not humans? If we can't kille the one, then we should not be able to kill the other either. Mutaul respect for all living life. No point talking about hunting for food anymore, we're killing more than enogh farm animals for that purpose already. We humans are slow, ignorant and extremely egoistic. We have to evolve away from this cave man attitude.

Carlene Ridenour

The killing of mother Bears And Their Babies Is Heartbreaking And Wrong. These Are Not Hunters They Are Murders. Anybody cruel and mean enough to do this horror are not safe in the public!!!!! They Should Be Arrested!!! WHAT ELSE ARE THEY CAPABLE OF DOING AND TO WHO??? These so-called people are SICK!!!!

Ziggy Osborne

The citizens of Florida will never know the truth as to how many bears were actually killed. The FWC and Moron Priddy will never let that be known.

Nadine Van den Bosch

This will cost Florida millions in tourist dollars. Groups are working nationally to punish Florida. Thanks Tallahassee for the worst barbarism one coul imagine

Christine Inge

Photos of acts that are so unacceptable are revolting. My hope is that the bears may live freely within the forests without a human holding a gun ready to go off. F these humans!

Ziggy Osborne

Barbara…Yes, in some cases they did bait the bears.

Ziggy Osborne

Karen…My thoughts exactly. Neanderthals with guns, instead of clubs.

Ziggy Osborne

This is so disgusting and barbaric that I can't think of the words to express my anger. Killing small bear cubs. These idiots should have their morals checked. Killing lactating sows, leaving small bear cubs to starve to death. Hunters that resort to this have something missing under those hats and it's brains.

Sam Smith

no no no no no no no and she said no

Maria Manuela Lopes


Terri Russell

Or relocate to an area where there are fewer of them. Doesn't take rocket science to figure it out.

Terri Russell

Or relocate to an area where there are fewer of them. Doesn't take rocket science to figure it out.

Anita Rosinola

Even little children are outraged and horrified and what you have done. This was uneccessary and the worst massacre I've have seen. you all should be lined up and shot with your own weapons. See how it feels!

Kate Dougherty

It was an abscene massacre. A shameul display of massive ego over tiny unintelligent minds. It was one big show of flaccid penises with guns.

Susan Russell

Why do human's have to kill everything.leave wildlife alone

Kelly Blevins

I think most Floridians would support a humane method of population control of its bears. Spay Vac has been tested on Black Bears and found to be very effective. I would like to know why Safari Club International a known tropy hunting organization had attorneys at the hearing ? SCI has no business in the State of Florida issues and should have been removed from the court room. I find the total negligence on the behalf of FWC a total disgrace to Florida and its citizens. Maybe its time to replace the board of commissioners and put people in those… Read more »

Barbara Stuckel Idso

The FWC is a disgrace and so are laws that are written and passed to support the mass murder of animals for sport. We need to require politicians to take ecology classes. Did they bait the bears? I live in the mountains and I saw video from a parking lot on opening day. There was rapid gun fire in the background. Bears aren't hanging around a parking lot in the middle of the day! Lastly, when does hunting not ban shooting cubs and mother bears with cubs? There are always hunting rules for the human's who cannot figure out shooting… Read more »

Mikal Deese

Clearly we humans have the overpopulation problem, not the bears.

Marilyn-Brian Ashman


G-DAMN ""COWARDS"" !!!!!!

Lolo Scott

someone needs to have a hunter cull kill the lot of them pos. small penis syndrome

Kris Malkasian

Any killing that is not for food or protection should be classified as a mental illness. Killing for sport should be in the DSM.

Aura Bella Luna


Margaret Kidney

Is any hunt necessary, no I don't think so, leave the wildlife alone

Zana Horia

No under any circunstance, Florida needs to stop build houses, and destroy the natural habitat for all those animals.

Sue Lawson

That is disgusting and honestly I wish they had wiped them out so the couldn't kill anymore.

Leigh Lofgren

I was so deeply upset at seeing these images and these "hunters" make me sick…..all lined up in a row of death and for what? What sick individuals and what is wrong with you all in doing this? Must be stopped and how about we have the hunters dead on logs with the bears standing over them….

Susan McGraw Keber

They killed mothers who were lactating and their cubs…there is NO excuse for the murders. They could not wait to kill the bears…as though it was "fun" to do. All of them are murderers. Hideous evil murderers!

Peter Deelen

This are the devils on earth and i hope they wil have a very painfull dead the ugky bastads !!!!!!!!

Peter Deelen

This are the devils on earth and i hope they wil have a very painfull dead the ugky bastads !!!!!!!!

Sandy Monville

Dispicable! I am sickened by this hunt. A disgrace. What kind of person does it take to kill a mother bear with cubs and let the cubs die and shoot cub bears and be proud of it? What kind of government agency allows this to heppen? What kind of people are out there in our country? How can they even come close to sleeping at night? Is there no compassion left in this world for our wildlife? Never seen such a hunt more shameful than this one! Is the price of a kill tag worth the lives of these animals?… Read more »



Lauren Jones

Absolutley disgusting and completley unnecessary. Makes me so mad!!!

Anna Burman

p.s and to kill the cubs is even more dispicable. Not that its right to kill the adults but to kill babies is just awful. So Angry

Anna Burman

This hunt of innocent bears is just an excuse for the sadist people to come out and blitz poor wild life. Its a disgrace that this was allowed. As already been said, the bear population numbers naturally regulate themselves so there is no need for these culls. A big black mark for America to do this. So many sadists let loose, what will they want to kill next?

Tara Wikramanayake

Oh! How cruel. It is a pathetic sight- especially the murdered young ones. Is this wildlife conservation?

Linda French

Disgusitng – friggin rednecks – this should not be allowed. Humans need to respect their wildlife and learn to live together…We are taking their habitat away…than we kill them because they may wonder into your back yard. Well learn to live with IT! The person who killed those 2 bubs together should be hung by his…….!

Karen Lyons Kalmenson

if you want to hunt, build a time machine and go back to the stone age!!!

Simon Tucker

Of course it isn’t necessary: top predator populations are self-regulating. This is just a sop to that sick mind-set that enjoys killing wildlife. However they dress it up they are a bunch of sick psychos who will kill anything if it is “legal” – and killing humans is illegal. It is the same all over the world – except in Costa Rica where all hunting is illegal but they suffer from poaching because they have sick psychos as well. One needs to question the validity of a fish and wildlife service / environmental protection agency that allows this to take… Read more »