Bears are on the agenda for a Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission meeting scheduled to begin 8:30 a.m. Wednesday in Tallahassee.
In 2015, the FWC held its first bear hunt in 21 years. It was supposed to last a week, but wildlife commission officials ended it after just two days because hunters killed so many bears so quickly: 304 total, including 36 mother bears.
Last June, after a 9-hour meeting that drew more than 100 people to the small Panhandle town of Eastpont, the wildlife commissioners voted 4-3 against holding a 2016 hunt.
Although the agenda item for the April 19 and 20 FWC meeting includes a discussion of "bear management," executive director Nick Wiley recently told reporters staff is not going to recommend another bear hunt.
"We are not planning to propose anything specific to bear hunting in 2017," Wiley said in an e-mail to the Times/Herald. "With that said, there is usually public comment about bear hunting at our commission meetings and I expect that to continue at this meeting."
Commissioners, he added, "can certainly discuss the topic if they wish."