FWC votes to reinstate bear hunting season

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The passion for opposing a Florida bear hunt was there. but the votes were not.

Wednesday, FWC approved a one-week long bear hunt in October despite protests and outrage from public speakers.

Officials say the hunt will help control the bear population.

"It is not that we have too many bears in Florida; it's that we have too many bears in the fragmented habitat. That is where the bears are living," said Chuck Echenique, a member of the Black Bear Technical Advisory Group.

Echenique had a hand in getting the hunt approved. Here's how it'll work.

You'll need a permit, which for state residents will cost a $100.

The hunt will open October 24th.

Every bear killed will have to be checked in within 12 hours.

"Every day, twice a day- once at lunch and once again at dusk- the update will be put online and every bear hunter will have to check their region to see if the quota's met. If the quota is met, the season will end. If it hasn't been met, it'll continue another day," Echenique said.

The hunt will cover four regions, none of which are in the Tampa Bay area. The nearest hunting ground to us would be in Ocala.

"Our closest bears are in the Homosassa area. There's not enough to sustain a viable hunt," he said.

Overall estimates say that statewide, there are roughly 3,000 bears. Echenqiue says this hunt will not put their numbers at risk.

"We're only killing a very small portion- less than 20 percent of the population will die," he said.

For more information on the upcoming bear hunt visit: MyFWC.com/Bear.