Booming Black Bear Population Worries Local Hunter

By: Bryan Anderson Email
By: Bryan Anderson Email

Bears, bears, and more bears. You'd think by the number of these animals one local hunter Adam Carter caught on his trail cameras in Port St. Joe, he was hunting them. But unfortunately for him, that's not the case.

"No I'm hunting deer," said Carter.

The seasoned hunter said black bear sightings aren't anything out of the ordinary, but Carter told NewsChannel 7 he's never seen so many of them in such a short amount of time.

"It's a little disheartening. You spend the money to get on a lease, and put corn out and feed the deer and stuff, and bears are all that are there. It's getting overwhelming," said Carter.

Carter's not the only one noticing the black bear boom. Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission Spokesperson Stan Kirkland said the protected species is showing up in a larger numbers across Florida.

"The bear population is expanding. We know that. In the last five years the number of calls that we've received throughout the state have gone up about 100%. We're seeing them and getting calls from counties and places that we many years ago we didn't get calls," said Kirkland.

He said the biggest reason is the animal's protected status. Hunting bears has been against the law since 1994. Carter said it's time to re-implement some sort of management plan, but he was skeptical as to how soon that will happen.

"It may take someone getting hurt or having a really bad encounter with a bear before FWC might do something about it," said Carter.

Kirkland said wildlife officials plan to conduct another statewide bear survey within the next two years, but they said they don't have plans to re-introduce a bear hunting season.


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