Florida might legalize black bear hunting

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Florida Might Legalize Black Bear Hunting

We've seen some odd news out of Florida. And now, it looks like the state is on the verge of a massive black bear hunt.

Black bear attacks have been on the rise in the state, causing some to say measures need to be taken to control the population.

One possible reason for the attacks: Black bears are attracted to the scent of human food, often bringing them into public and residential areas.

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Florida might legalize black bear hunting
Castor, the resident black bear at the Tallahassee Museum of History and Natural Science, removes a watermelon from his pool for a mid-day snack, Wednesday, July 18, 2007, in Tallahassee, Fla.(AP Photo/Phil Coale)
Adult florida black bear (Ursus americanus) standing by a pond, Ocala National Forest, Florida.
American (Florida) Black Bear sits and looks at camera.
American Black Bear catches a nap in the shade of a tree.
Black bear (Ursus americanus) captive, Florida, USA
Miami, Florida, United States, North America
Florida black bear (Ursus americanus floridanus) in Osceola National Forest, Florida.
Florida black bear (Ursus americanus floridanus) in Osceola National Forest, Florida.
Florida Black Bear (Ursus americanus floridanus). Listed as Threatened by Florida and candidate for listing as Endangered by the federal government. Only six major populations are left in Florida: in Ocala, Apalachicola, Osceola National Forest, Eglin Air

The state allowed black bear hunting - off and on - up until 1994. The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission chose to ban the practice after finding much of the public was against hunting black bears, which were also a threatened species at the time.

But now, Florida has about 3,000 black bears - a much greater number than just 60 years ago when it had about 500.

As the Orlando Sentinel puts it, "bears seem as common as squirrels" in some areas of the state and pose a major public-safety concern.

Allowing hunting of the bears, along with training Florida residents how to keep black bears at bay without harming them will be considered as solutions.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will meet to talk about how to manage the black bear population on February 4 and 5.

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