PINELLAS COUNTY, Fl (WFLA) – For the first time in 20 years hunters are being permitted to go after black bears in Florida. The hunt begins Saturday, October 3rd.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission says they have issued 3,357 permits for hunters for the black bear hunt.
Friday, more than 50 people came out in opposition and staged a protest in front of the FWC office in St. Petersburg. “We want to see the killing of the Florida Black Bear stopped,” said protester Betty Holden. Holden believes hunting the bears is not right action for Florida.
“We’ve taken his food away. We’ve taken the saw palmetto berry away, we’ve planted pine trees which he doesn’t eat, we’ve literally forced him into people’s yards and homes to find food,” said Holden.
Michael Hoyt came out to protest because he believes there is no reason to hunt the bears in Florida. “We just think it’s wrong to kill the bears when we are encroaching on their habitat and they have no place else to go,” said Hoyt.
Proester Jamina Forcan doesn’t like the hunt, or the hunters. “It’s going to be carnage out there. They going to be drinking beer night before and killing bears next day,” said Forcan.
Avid Hunter Will Deem says it’s ridiculous to characterize hunters as a bunch of drunks in the woods. He believes the hunt will be beneficial for wildlife in the state. “Part of the proceeds for that goes to support conservation and hunters are the biggest wildlife conservationists in the nation,” said Deem.
The Black Bear hunt will end on October 30th.