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bear hunt

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

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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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Foes of Florida’s bear hunt gearing up for new round of protests

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As the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission debates whether to hold another bear hunt later this year, activists opposed to the practice say they’ll stage a statewide protest to urge the FWC to vote the idea down. Commissioners approved the controversial hunt last year, the first in the state in more than two decades. It was scheduled for seven days, but ended after just two because hunters killed 304 bears, close to the 320-bear quota for the hunt. “Last…

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Florida’s bear population abundant, robust and growing, officials say

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There now are an estimated 4,350 bears in Florida with dramatic increases in some areas of the state, wildlife officials said Thursday. That number, included in a new state bear census, led the officials to describe the population as abundant, robust and growing. That Florida black bear census reflects the state’s population before last fall’s controversial first bear hunt in a generation. The bear population estimates will change with numbers from the hunt, said Thomas Eason, habitat and species conservation director for…

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Mark Pafford files black bear legislation

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The head of the Florida House of Representatives’ Democrats has filed legislation to protect the state’s black bears in the wake of a contentious state hunt. State Rep. Mark Pafford of West Palm Beach submitted the bill (HB 1055) on Tuesday. Pafford leads the chamber’s 39 Democrats. His bill, the “Florida Black Bear Habitat Restoration Act,” would find that “there has been a lack of interagency coordination to preserve the habitat for the Florida black bear.” That “lack of coordination has resulted in…

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Today on Context Florida: Bear meat & Whole Foods, GOP bluster, bizarre politics and the Salt Shaker Test

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Today on Context Florida: Doing research about Florida’s “astonishingly efficient” bear hunt, Tom O’Hara came across an equally astonishing analogy. The chairman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission wrote this about hunting: “Hunting is the first and original organic and natural grocery store, offering locally-grown and harvested protein from the land. Think of it as nature’s Whole Foods. Health-conscious families value living off the land.” But after some investigation, O’Hara learned the analogy isn’t quite appropriate. Republican antics may…

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Today on Context Florida: Republican Crazy Peak, bad bear week and mastering core subjects

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Today on Context Florida: It’s “Crazy Peak” time for Republican presidential candidates, says Jac VerSteeg. At the moment, that favors two candidates with Florida ties: Donald Trump and Ben Carson. When the peaks flatten, as Trump’s might already be doing, two other Floridians – Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio – will benefit. But Rubio will benefit more than Bush. VerSteeg says when Republican voters decide they want a more electable candidate, they will turn to someone like Jeb Bush or Marco…

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