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Democrats: Black Bears Need A 10-Year Breather

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

Democratic lawmakers are calling for a 10-year moratorium on black bear hunting in Florida.

A bill by Orlando Sen. Linda Stewart would also funnel $1 million into subsidies for bear-resistant trash containers.

Central Florida wildlife activist Chuck O’Neal says the bill’s restrictions on berry picking and prescribed burns are crucial protections.

“What has happened with these manipulations of the state forests is it’s depriving the black bear of major food sources, which are acorns and saw palmetto berries.”

A highly controversial bear hunt in 2015 claimed 304 of the iconic animals and generated a firestorm of controversy.

Similar legislation failed last year, but O’Neal says sponsors are hoping to reach a compromise with state regulators.