The Florida bear hunt begins Oct. 24, with almost 3,000 permits to hunt sold.
These permits are issued to control the bear population. Some of the population is known as nuisance bears, who cause frequent mischief, such as damaging beekeeper’s hives and scavenging people’s trash. Once they find an easy source of food, it’s hard to keep them from coming back.
The Osceola Forest in Columbia and Baker counties is home to one sub-population where hunting used to be allowed, even when the species was protected elsewhere in the state.
The state has defined 4 regions as Bear Management Units (BMUs). The main concentration of bears is in the central BMU.
Bears are no longer considered endangered in Florida, and in Baker County, it’s easy to find people in favor of restoring the hunt.