Conservation Group Seeks Injunction to Block October Bear Hunt

17 Sep



A Seminole County conservation group asked a judge Tuesday to halt Florida’s first bear hunt in 21 years, now scheduled to begin Oct. 24.

Speak Up Wekiva filed suit against the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission in July over the commission’s decision to allow the hunting of a species that until 2012 was classified as threatened.

Now the organization is seeking an emergency temporary injunction blocking the hunt from taking place, arguing that the rules for the hunt are arbitrary and capricious.

So far the state has sold 2,127 bear hunting licenses. The commission has approved hunters killing a maximum of 320 of the state’s estimated population of 3,300 bears during the weeklong hunt. If the number killed reaches 320 by the second day of the hunt, the hunt will end.

“I think it’s irresponsible the way they set up the hunt,” said Ralf Brookes, the Cape Coral attorney representing Speak Up Wekiva. “They cannot call off the hunt even if the harvest exceeds 320 bears on the first day. They have to wait until the end of the second day. I’d call that the height of government irresponsibility.”

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