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FWCC judicial beat down in ‘deer dog’ case

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Remember the “deer dog” case? This is the one where several families were having their lives disrupted because a group of hunters in the Panhandle was allowing hounds-in-pursuit-of-deer to trample across private property. It’s a quirky case. The Blackwater Wildlife Management Area (BWMA) is managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWCC) and, for historical reasons, several landowners live within its borders. These landowners have what are known as “outparcels” and some are as large as 65 acres.…

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13,000 hunters apply for gator permits

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More than 6,000 permits have been issued to hunt Florida alligators, and some 13,000 hunters have applied for permits. The Naples Daily News reported that each permit allows a hunter to kill two alligators during the hunting season which began last week. Florida has more than a million alligators, according to estimates, and they’re in all 67 counties. But hunting them wasn’t always allowed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service placed them on the endangered species list in 1967, and…

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Lightning sparks fire, burns 80 acres on Egmont Key

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

Fire officials are assessing the damage after a lightning strike sparked a fire on Egmont Key off Florida’s west coast. Authorities say almost 80 acres burned Tuesday following the lightning strike on the state park which is located on a small island at the mouth of Tampa Bay. News outlets report that officials from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the Department of Environmental Protection and the U.S. Forest Service are expected to assess the damage on Wednesday. No…

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Florida wildlife officials vote against 2016 bear hunt

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Florida wildlife officials have voted against holding a black bear hunt this year at their quarterly meeting. After nearly seven hours of comments Wednesday from staff and the public, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted 4-3 against a 2016 hunt. They also voted to have staff gather more information so that they could vote again next year on whether to hold a 2017 hunt. Commission staff had recommended a more limited black bear hunt this year in order…

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Kate MacFall: Florida black bear hunt — bad idea last year; bad idea this year

in Statewide/Top Headlines by

On June 22, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will discuss whether to open another Florida black bear hunt. It was a bad idea last year, and it’s a bad idea this year, especially now that a group of knowledgeable Florida scientists has sent a detailed letter to the state’s wildlife agency. They make the serious point that the state doesn’t have the information it needs to responsibly hold a black bear hunt without potentially harming the populations. Florida’s…

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Gulf Cost snook fishery finally rebounds from devastating 2010 cold snap

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The number of snook along Florida’s Gulf Coast finally is where it was before a devastating freeze in January 2010 decimated the population, forcing the state to impose an unprecedented ban that hit hard the charter fishing and tourism industry from Tampa Bay south. Snook, widely considered Florida’s most popular nearshore game fish that drew sport fishermen from all over the world, are back in robust numbers along the state’s Gulf Coast, where the population took a big hit six…

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Sheriff: Charges unlikely after 2-year-old killed by gator

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A sheriff said charges are unlikely against a Nebraska couple after an alligator killed their 2-year-old son by snatching him out of shallow water at a Walt Disney World beach, but the entertainment giant is reviewing whether to add gator warning signs. Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings told The Associated Press after a news conference Wednesday there was no indication Will and Melissa Graves of suburban Omaha, Nebraska, committed any crime that contributed to the reptile grabbing their son, Lane…

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