Group sues to stop bear hunting in Florida

Author: associated press
Published: Updated:
MGN Online

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) – An environmental advocacy group on Friday sued Florida’s wildlife protection commission, demanding a stop to a planned bear hunting season in the fall.

Speak Up Wekiva filed the lawsuit Friday in Tallahassee against the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conversation Commission, claiming the hunt violated the state constitution by lifting a two-decade ban on bear hunting. Amendment 5 was passed in 1998 and requires the state to make adequate provision to protect its natural resources.

Florida outlawed all bear hunting in 1994. But a bear rebound, as well as an increase in the number of nuisance calls and bears killed by cars, were cited as reasons for allowing a new one-week hunt in October. There would be a limit of 200 bears total.

Other measures besides hunting, such as bear-proof garbage cans, would reduce the number of encounters between bears and humans, the lawsuit said.

“There is no evidence to support the supposition that hunting bears in remote wildlife management areas will reduce conflicts in suburbia,” the lawsuit said. “A hunt for black bears in Florida is clearly not supported by sound science and is therefore unconstitutional.”

Commission deputy press secretary Wendy Dial didn’t immediately return a call for comment.

The lawsuit was first reported by WMFE-FM in Orlando.

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