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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Final tally in October's bear hunt: 304, including 36 mother bears



Florida hunters killed 36 mother bears during last month's bear hunt, the first one in 21 years, state wildlife officials announced Thursday.

The killing of lactating female bears - indicating they were still caring for cubs - has become the most controversial aspect of the hunt, which state officials approved despite strong public opposition.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission released a report on the hunt Thursday that noted that the final number of bears that were killed totaled 304 - not the 298 the agency originally reported when the week-long hunt ended on Oct. 25 after only two days.

"From the perspective of the FWC, it was a safe, sustainable hunt," said Thomas Eason, the wildlife agency's top bear biologist.

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[Last modified: Thursday, November 12, 2015 2:53pm]


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