Florida wildlife officials: No black bear hunt this year

HAVANA, Fla. (AP) – Florida wildlife officials say they don’t believe there should be a hunt for black bears this year.

Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission director Nick Wiley said during Wednesday’s quarterly meeting that while the agency believes science and population numbers support another bear hunt, there is still more work to do to convince the public.

Dr. Thomas Eason, director of the commission’s Division of Habitat and Species Conservation, said there are 4,050 black bears statewide. That’s a 53 percent increase over 15 years.

In 2015, hunters killed 304 bears in the state’s first hunt in more than 20 years. The hunt was supposed to take place for a week but ended after two days when the numbers of bears killed came close to the harvest objective of 320.

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