Science & Environment

Florida Rep. Pushes Bill To Legalize Shooting Bears ‘That Are On Crack’

A Florida lawmaker desires the state to enact a “stand your ground”-style regulation towards a scourge of what he describes as bears “that are on crack” kicking individuals’s doorways down in the course of the night time.

At a listening to final week held by the House Infrastructure Strategies Committee, Republican state Rep. Jason Shoaf urged his colleagues to cross House Bill 87, which might enable Floridians to shoot bears in the event that they worry “imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury.”

Shoaf launched the invoice, titled “Taking of Bears,” final September, The Guardian reports. According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, black bears are the one species of bear present in Florida.

“This bill is not about bears,” he informed the committee final week.

“Bears are cute and cuddly and an amazing creature ― those aren’t the bears we’re talking about in this bill. We’re talking about the ones that are on crack, and they break your door down and they’re standing in your living room growling and tearing your house apart.”

“So when you run into one of these crack bears, you should be able to shoot it. Period,” Shoaf mentioned, including that the bears have turn into “a major problem in the panhandle.”

He additionally lamented that Floridians can fatally shoot different individuals with out worry of reprisal however aren’t afforded the identical liberty in the case of bears.

“If a person approached you in your carport at night and you shot them, there’s no chance you’d be arrested,” he mentioned. “But with an animal, you are putting your life, your future, in the hands of a wildlife officer and their decision-making at that moment.”

A staff analysis of HB 87 blamed human-bear conflicts in Florida on the more and more fragmented pure habitat of the state’s bears, main the animals to come across “unsecured garbage or other human-provided food sources.” The report made no observe of bears ingesting illicit medicine.

A black bear sits in an oak tree at Lake Eola Park within the coronary heart of downtown Orlando, Florida, on Sunday morning, June 4, 2023.

Orlando Sentinel by way of Getty Images

Asked by Democratic Rep. Anna Eskamani about the necessity to use deadly drive as an alternative of simply encouraging householders to correctly safe their trashcans, Shoaf acknowledged that’s an issue ― however urged it’s in the end unsolvable.

“You’re always going to have garbage left out,” he mentioned. “Garbage in the streets, garbage unsecured, is an attractant. It definitely is.”

The committee authorised the invoice on a 16-9 party-line vote, organising a listening to earlier than the total chamber.

Eskamani, one of many “no” votes, urged the opposite lawmakers in charge human exercise round bears ― not the opposite method round.

“It’s our responsibility to not destroy their habitat,” she mentioned. “It’s our responsibility to develop wildlife corridors so they have safe ways to travel. And it’s our responsibility to ensure that we limit their human engagement.”

“A lot of the bears that are engaging with humans — it’s because humans have fed them; humans have been irresponsible in their interaction with them,” she added.

Shoaf has launched related laws in prior years and known as for a statewide bear hunt in 2023, according to

Florida final held a state-sanctioned bear hunt in 2015. The state’s fish and wildlife conservation fee ended the occasion after Floridians proceeded to kill 295 bears in simply two days, according to The Guardian.

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