Although Florida black bears no longer need threatened species classification, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is still working to ensure numbers stay strong. Assistant Bear Program Coordinator Mike Orlando says a management plan needs to be put in place.[audio:http://www.wuft.org/news/files/2011/12/orlando2edit.mp3]
Area hunters voiced concern about this process at an open forum in Gainesville last night. Sweet Water Hunt Club Game Director Tom Parker traveled from Bay County to say protecting bears harms the ability to hunt for many different animals.[audio:http://www.wuft.org/news/files/2011/12/parker1edit.mp3]
He says the Club’s aim is not to hunt bears, but continuing these protective measures hampers the hunt overall.