If the Seminole County Commission gets its way, there won’t be another bear hunt.
Commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday urging the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to reinstitute the bear hunt ban that was lifted last year and to instead focus on “reducing human-bear conflicts” peacefully.
If there is another hunt, the measure asks FWC to at least keep Seminole County out of it.
“We’re just simply saying, we want you to look at that Central district, not just Seminole County, but the Central district, and say, ‘Is that really the right thing to do in this community?’,” Commissioner Brenda Carey said. “We don’t think so.”
Commissioners said measures they passed last year to tighten up outdoor trash rules are already starting to see results and that the hunts aren’t necessary, though FWC officials said Seminole has produced more calls to the state’s bear-nuisance hotline than any other county.
“We understand that you are under pressure to adopt a resolution, but doing the right thing isn’t always easy,” FWC Northeast Regional Director Shannon Wright said. “We have provided proven scientific information that supports our management efforts of bears. And should you adopt the resolution it would be clear that you’re not making the decision based on that information.”
With the resolution, Seminole becomes the second county in the Central bear management district after Volusia to oppose bear hunts.
Hunters killed 304 bears during a two-day season in October, including four in Seminole County. FWC estimated the black bear population at 4,350 earlier this year, up from 2,700 in 2002.