It’s been more than twenty years since the last bear season, but the new Florida bear hunting rules for 2015 have just been released.
Just this month, a path has been set for the final steps to make 2015 the first Florida bear hunting season in over 20 years. Needless to say, there are multiple groups opposed to opening up hunting bears in the state, but the Florida Wildlife Commission has given approval to move ahead anyway.
As the rules stand today, starting on October 24, 2015 Florida bear hunting will be opened in four different regions. As of now, a quota has not been set because Florida bear numbers are still being calculated. For the preliminary hunting rules to be established, the game commission used 2002 bear numbers which estimated there to be close to 2,500 adult black bears found in the four regions to be opened up to hunting.
This is where anti-hunting groups have taken their stance. Organizations, like the Human Society, feel that opening a hunting season without knowing current numbers could severely hurt the current bear populations. However, residents in the areas where hunting will be taking place feel differently. Bear and human interactions have only been increasing. Recently, two 400-pounders were killed in vehicle collisions in one of the regions.
As of now, licenses will be $100 for residents and $300 for non-residents. According to this report, there is talk of dropping these prices even more to encourage more hunters to try to take their one bear limit. Final rules and zones will be established sometime this summer after more data is gathered, but as of now, it looks like the season will happen.
For only $300 and a destination to Florida for bear hunting, this doesn’t sound like a bad way to make a weekend road trip come late October.