No Florida Bear Hunts Until 2019

TAMPA, Fla. (970 WFLA) - Bay area hunters hoping to put a bear head on their mantle will have to wait at least two more years.

That's because the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted 4-3 to postpone any more statewide bear hunts until 2019.

300 bears will killed in the last hunt in 2015, and it was called off after just a day because so many bears were killed so quickly.  

Protests from environmental groups followed, and the FWC said the public outcry was part of its decision to cancel the hunt.

A poll commissioned by FWC showed that 48 percent supported hunting bears, while 43 percent were against.  That's lower support than other states that hold bear hunts.

In the 1970's, the Florida bear population dropped to a few hundred, and hunts were banned in 1994.  FWC said the population surged to more than 4,000 and the hunts would help thin the population.

photo credit: Getty Images

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