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Saturday, Jun 23, 2018
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What about Florida bears?

Florida has a robust black bear population, and it’s growing rapidly. Although sightings by hunters or hikers occur occasionally, seeing a black bear is still a hit-or-miss proposition, and therefore not yet a dependable bear-viewing activity.

According to Dave Telesco, who coordinates Florida’s bear management program for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, the last count of black bears occurred 10 years ago and numbered about 3,000. “We’ll have more scientific estimates next year,” Telesco said, “but we feel good about how the black bear population is doing. Reported sightings jumped from 4,100 to 6,100 over the past year alone, including a huge 620-pounder.”

With no hunting season as yet on Florida black bears, their biggest threat comes by way of Ford and Chevy — road kills took 280 last year.

Doug Kelly

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