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Environment

Florida Wildlife Officials Vote Against 2016 Bear Hunt

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Southwest Florida Water Management District

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 to help control the growing population.

Last year, hunters killed 304 bears in the state's first hunt in more than 20 years. Opponents of bear hunting held 28 protests around the state last weekend.