Officials: No Florida Bear Hunt This Year or Next

Though the science supports another Florida bear hunting season, the public does not.

Wildlife commissioners in Florida have announced the halt of a bear hunting season for 2017 and 2018, despite evidence that says the growing population could benefit from a managed season.

Public opinion is torn, as evidenced by last year's protests, and the Florida Wildlife Commission determined they needed more time to explain itself enough to have everyone, or at least a majority, understand how hunting can help.

After listening to four hours of testimony, commissioners voted 4-3 against a hunt. 2015's season was Florida's first in 21 years.

The recovery of the Florida black bear has been impressive, moving from around 300 in the '70s to more than 4,000 now. FWC statistics show that complaints about nuisance bears have dropped sharply in two years.

The 2015 Florida bear hunting season was shut down after only two days, and saw 304 bears harvested.