SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Florida wildlife officials have approved a new bear hunting season in the state.
After hours of impassioned public comment Wednesday, mostly in opposition to new hunting regulations, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on approved the first bear hunting in the state in 21 years.
Hunters applauded the decision, but critics like The Humane Society of the United States this week delivered petitions to Gov. Rick Scott bearing signatures of more than 90,000 people trying to stop the hunt of Florida’s largest native land mammal.
The agency approved a “limited bear harvest,” citing nuisance bear calls and an increase in bears killed by cars among the reasons for the need for a hunt.
Florida outlawed all bear hunting here in 1994.