Demonstrators Protest Against Opening of Bear Hunting Season in Florida

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By: Lanetra Bennett
October 23, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Bear season opens in Florida Saturday, October 24th. But not everyone's on board.

Dozens of people protested outside of Fish and Wildlife Headquarters in Tallahassee Friday.

Animal rights groups say the hunt is not based on sound science and threatens to decimate the state's bear population.

One of the protesters, Dee Conrad, said, "The problem is not the bears. The problems are the people. They don't manage their trash. They invade the bears' habitat. As a result, the bears, are in direct conflict."

The organizer of the protests, Sally Sanders, said, "That's very disheartening, discouraging to me to know that there are any people that enjoy killing animals. This is clearly not a conservation movement."

Groups opposed to the bear hunt unsuccessfully called on the Governor to stop it. They also lost a court battle trying to stop the hunt.

Friday's protesters marched to the Capitol from FWC with their concerns.

By: Associated Press
October 23, 2015

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Hunters for the first time in more than 20 years will trudge through Florida woods to legally kill black bears.

Florida wildlife officials have sold more than 3,200 permits to hunters from all over, including 1970s rocker Ted Nugent and Liesa Priddy, a rancher and Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission member who voted to approve the new hunts. The hunt starts Saturday and will run for a week or until 320 bears are killed.

The hunt was approved by the commission earlier this year after much debate. In the end, the members said the black bear population had grown to 3,500 -- up from a few hundred in the 1970s -- and presented a safety problem.

Thirty-two other states also allow black bear hunts.

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