A large male bear was shot and killed Tuesday night and the carcass was discovered near Holt in Okaloosa County. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) law enforcement officers are asking the public’s help in identifying the person or people involved.
FWC officer Alan Kirchinger said a local resident found the 320-pound bear dead in the Guest Lake Boat Ramp parking lot just after sunrise today. The ramp and lake are south of Holt, just off the Yellow River and south of Interstate 10.
“It’s obvious the bear was killed elsewhere, then transported to the boat ramp and dumped. We believe as many as three or four people may have been involved,” Kirchinger said.
The bear had a previously injured left front leg and could be the same bear reported by Guest Lake residents for getting into residential garbage cans, Kirchinger said. FWC officers went door-to-door Wednesday afternoon in the area, handing out fliers about the shooting and asking for help.
It is a crime under Florida law to kill a black bear. The punishment can include up to five years imprisonment and a $5,000 fine.
Anyone with information about the bear shooting is urged to contact the Wildlife Alert Reward Program hotline at 888-404-3922. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 if the information leads to an arrest.