Florida black bear

Bear In Clearing

Notice: At the April 2017 Commission Meeting, staff was directed to bring back a revised bear management plan in two years, including hunting as a management tool.

The state’s largest land mammal has come back from just several hundred bears in the 1970s to over 4,000 today and is one of Florida’s biggest conservation success stories.

In 2012, the Florida Black Bear Management Plan Adobe PDF was put into place as a comprehensive document on how Florida’s bears should be managed over the next 10 years. The plan created Bear Management Units (BMU) based on the seven geographically distinct bear subpopulations in Florida.

Bear Range Map

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In June 2015, the FWC approved a limited bear hunt to take place beginning Oct. 24, 2015, in four of the seven BMUs. The purpose of reinstating a bear hunting season was to slow the growth of large and growing bear populations. Regulated hunting is a proven, effective and biologically sustainable method for maintaining proper balance of bear populations relative to available habitat. In June 2016, FWC’s Commission voted to postpone bear hunting in Florida in 2016.  At the April 2017 Commission Meeting, staff was directed to bring back a revised bear management plan in two years, including hunting as a management tool. See Florida Black Bear for more information.

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