“Huge” bear killed near school

Posted on October 18, 2017 by Romi White

FWC Officer Howie Jones and Kevin McDonald, FWC wildlife technician, right, examine the deceased bear

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Officers this afternoon responded to a residence near Holley-Navarre Primary School in the 2000 block of Casa de Oro Street, where a large male black bear died from an apparent gunshot wound.

“It’s humongous,” FWC Lt. Doug Berryman said of the bear, which officials estimated weighed about 475 pounds and was around 10-15 years old.

Per FWC, a full necropsy will be performed.

According to Berryman, an active investigation is underway.

Berryman said shooting a bear is a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine and/or 60 days in jail along with six months probation.

FWC provided the following information about bears, which become more active during fall.

Bear appetites increase as they begin to prepare for the upcoming winter. To be ready for the leaner winter months, bears require around 20,000 calories a day and will eat anything that’s convenient.

Accessing unsecured garbage often provides more calories in a shorter amount of time than what a bear can get from foraging in the woods. This attracts bears into areas where people live and work, which can lead to potentially dangerous situations.

“As bears become more active in the fall, they take the path of least resistance to find food,” said Dave Telesco, who leads the FWC’s Bear Management Program. “This draws them into neighborhoods and areas with convenient food sources, which can be dangerous for people. While the FWC continues to work with local communities to reduce human-bear conflicts, it is important for Floridians to understand the steps they can take to keep themselves safe.”

While spending time outdoors, residents should be aware of their surroundings to avoid potential conflicts with bears. To keep bears away from your home and neighborhood, follow these simple steps:

Secure household garbage in a sturdy shed, garage or a bear-resistant container.

Put household garbage out on morning of pickup rather than the night before.

Secure commercial garbage in bear-resistant dumpsters.

Protect gardens, beehives, compost and livestock with electric fencing.

Encourage your homeowners association or local government to institute ordinances on keeping foods that attract wildlife secure.

Feed pets indoors or bring in dishes after feeding outdoors.

Clean grills and store them in a secure place.

Remove wildlife feeders or make them bear-resistant.

Pick ripe fruit from trees and remove fallen fruit from the ground.

In Florida, it is illegal to intentionally feed bears or leave out food or garbage that will attract bears and cause human-bear conflicts.

If you see or suspect that someone is feeding or attracting bears, call the FWC’s Wildlife Alert Hotline at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922).

To learn how to become BearWise, visit MyFWC.com/Bear and click on “Live BearWise” on the left side of the page.

More information about living in bear country is available at MyFWC.com/Bear.