Florida tightens penalties for bear poaching

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a bill increasing penalties against illegal black bear (Ursus americanus) hunting. The new rules go into effect July 1, increasing the minimum fine from $500 to $750 and extending the time hunting licenses could be suspended from one year to three. As part of a 10-year bear management plan drafted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, black bears are off limits from hunters. Once threatened in Florida, the black bear population has been growing in recent years, resulting in conflicts as human populations grow as well.

Read more from the Associated Press.

Header Image: A trail camera captures two black bears in Florida, where their numbers are rising.
Credit: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service