Florida black bear

Florida wildlife officials Wednesday backed a 10-year plan to manage the state’s growing black bear population, with the plan maintaining hunting as an option.

Techniques to manage Florida’s black bear population over the next decade, including the possibility of regulated hunting, will be among the items the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission considers during a meeting next month.

Tampa Police

UPDATE AT NOON with information on capture of bear

After a short early morning stroll through a quiet residential neighborhood and a trip up a tree, a black bear has been captured near Tampa's Adventure Island.

Tampa Police called in trappers, who tranquilized the bear, caught it in a net and put it in a cage. The bear will be returned to its natural habitat. 

Note: Audio to come.


WGCU asked for comment about how enforceable the present moratorium on saw palmetto berry picking might be in light of the black market that exists around the berry. A spokesperson with the Florida Department of Agriculture wrote in an email "The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is partnering with our department to help enforce the moratorium on palmetto berry harvests on state forest land." 


The Florida Department of Agriculture recently put a moratorium on picking saw palmetto berries in state forests. The berries are a major part of the state’s black bear diet. They’re also collected and sold for medicines.

Environmental groups said the lack of available berries for bears is one of the likely causes behind the recent incidents between humans and bears.

Now that berry pickers are being put on hold, they want the state to also hold off on its recently approved bear hunt.

Wildlife Officials to Allow Black Bear Hunts

Apr 15, 2015

Black bears are closer to being placed on the state's wildlife hunting calendar for the first time in more than 20 years.

The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission agreed Wednesday to allow hunting for black bears during one week this fall, due to a growing number of bear and human conflicts across the state. The commission made the decision after hearing more than two hours of comments for and against the proposal.

For the first time in two decades, Florida officials have scheduled a bear hunting season. It's a response to a rise in bear attacks — but it has some environmentalists upset.

Experts say there's plenty of room for humans and black bears to co-exist, but the smell of food is pulling the animals out of the woods and into neighborhoods.

If you want to understand the situation, take a trip to Franklin County, in the pandhandle. A few months ago, a bear attacked a teenager there while she walked her dog near a convenience store.

Bear Hunting May be Legal Soon in Florida

Feb 5, 2015

Bear hunting will soon be legal in Florida after state wildlife regulators approved the idea at a meeting in Jacksonville Wednesday.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation commissioners listened to a staff presentation that included hunting as a way to manage the black bear population and reduce the number of human-bear encounters.

Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office

It's not every day that you see a bear in a tree in West Tampa.

But today was one of those days for the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. 

At about 8:30 the HCSO was asking local TV stations to pull their helicopters back from the site in the Egypt Lake area, because they were "scaring the bear."

A bear that might have been looking for love was captured at Busch Gardens early this morning after making an earlier stop at USF's Tampa campus.

The 270 pound, 2 1/2 year old Florida black bear was first spotted by a USF student around 1 a.m. Tuesday outside of the Argos Hall residence hall. 

Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission officials had been tracking the bear since it was last seen in Land O'Lakes last week, so they were able to monitor him as he made the three mile journey through campus, before climbing up a tree near the main entrance of Busch Gardens off Busch Boulevard.