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Judge Affirms Florida Bear Hunt

A judge has ruled Florida's first bear hunt in two decades may proceed later this month. The judge ruled against environmentalists who argue the hunt will damage the population of the animal that was removed from the state's threatened list in 2012.

Judge George Reynolds' decision came after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission appeared to shift its stance on a rule environmentalists had complained about.

Representatives of the state agency testified its executive director can end the hunt after the first day if its goal of 320 slain bears is met. Reynolds was satisfied. "Of all of the complaints that were made by the plaintiffs I find that as a matter of law I'm not able to issue a temporary injunction", said Reynolds.

Speak Up Wekiva and central Florida activist Chuck O'Neal had brought the suit. They argue that with more than two-thousand licenses sold the hunt's goal likely will be surpassed.

Florida Fish and Wildlife describes the weeklong hunt as conservative. The agency says it will monitor the hunt closely and end it early as the goal is met.

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Amy Green
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