Our Local Florida Black Bear  

UPDATE "The death in a Bear Family" Story below.


Florida Black Bears are mainly solitary, except when in groups or pairings during mating season. Although they are solitary mammals in general most are not territorial, and typically don't defend their range from other bears. Black Bears have good eyesight, acute hearing and an excellent sense of smell . Click picture for larger.

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These pictures were sent to us by a friend and I think this bear was somewhere around ..........The Apalachicola National Forest..........

Bear Signs are all over down here near Lanark Village, Florida. on highway 319 & 98 along the coast line all the way over to and beyond East Point, Apalachicola and even back up inland a ways. There have been some hit by cars and caused wrecks as they cross the road to get to the trees along the waterfront.

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My husband was driving our local area security car at the time these were taken, He came home after his rounds and told me they were gartering in the Live Oak Trees to eat just a few blocks over from our house. So like good bear watchers we headed over to check then out.

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This group of shows how in our back yard some bear were up in our tree and did a good job of marking it also. That tree was taken down a year or so ago because it leaned over our property line to much to get our privacy fence put up.

This bear came by at 8:30 AM Friday 10- 9- 2009

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I was in tears this morning this over how tired this Bear was and breathing so hard. Thank goodness no one came by to scare it off we stood on the back porch taking the and watching it for about 15/20 minuets as it got both cans ours and the brown next door. Just yesterday the weather showed that it was 87 BUT due to the humidity it felt like 101 it is like walking into a steam bath here. The air conditioner runs day & night in the Hot! & Humid! summer.

Danny was on his computer and yelled to me a bear just went past his window (which the end of the house is only about 50 feet off the street) headed for the trash can. I jumped up and grabbed the camera, they never come this far down in the day time, it's in the evening, night or early day break.

It's my fault I guess, I put our left over food in the can, black eye peas, peanut butter cookie dough, apple pie filling cans and they were licked clean. They have even squeezed plastic Mayo Jar's until the bear popped off the lid and licked it clean. I had stopped putting it all out there for a while and froze it until pick up time but they still got the can anyway.

There my Big Babies I went out and cleaned up the mess and for the girl next door also he took down her brown can also.

"Until one has loved an animal, part of their soul remains un-awakened."

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There was one day I had gone to get groceries and was on my way back home by way of the back bay road. All of a sudden in my rear view I saw a bear come out from where I had just passed. It was so skinny I stopped the car a bit away and took some pictures. In the meantime a couple of guys in a white truck stopped. We all just spoke and the bear went over the bank. So we all went on our way.

The MICE will play while your away!! SOME MOUSE "HUH"!!!

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My husband was off up in West Virginia at the time this one happened. I heard the can hit the ground with a thud and I was off to get the camera again, He got the can about 8:30 at night so they are dark, I didn't use a flash because I didn't want to scare it off. I just got the mess cleaned up before the rain came. The way I look at it if they are that hungry that they have to dig in trash to survive then I'm willing to clean it up as long as I'm able.

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These are some different ones taken at night form over the years. Unless you hear the can go down or just happen to walk outside at the time the bear's have such a gentle walk that you can't even hear them.

"The death in a Bear Family"

After hearing about this killing I had to add it to my page.

A lot of people in Lanark Village, Fl. area are quite put out by the bear population and some destruction they can and do cause. As for us we moved to this area in 1994. I clean up after it has been in my trash can and never leave food out on porch's or in our car's. We also have a dog in our fenced in yard that may help to be a deterrent. I say that because one night a bear was just outside the fence. As I let the dog out and the bear ran up the tree by the fence as the dog started barking at it. It could have just ran away but took off up the tree.

FWC arrests Lanark man for shooting bear

November 03, 2010 1:10 PM - By Lois Swoboda 

A Lanark-area man has been arrested for illegally shooting a bear near Lanark Village.

On Oct. 22, Gene Strickland was arrested by Eric Johnson after the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officer saw him shoot a bear with an arrow and then photograph it.

The bear was shot on private property belonging to The St. Joe Company near the St. James Golf Course, about 400 yards west of McIntyre Road. Strickland is one of several hunters who hunt the property. Alan Smythe of Wakulla County, a former FWC employee shares the lease with Strickland according to Stan Kirkland, an FWC spokesman.

Since the bear was shot on private property, Strickland faces stiffer charges if convicted of killing a species of special concern. Bear hunting is a misdemeanor within a national forest punishable by a $500 fine. On private property, where it is a third-degree felony he could be fined up to $5,000 and face five years in jail.

If found guilty, Strickland could lose his hunting and fishing licenses in Florida. Under the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, he would also be banned from fishing or hunting in 34 additional states, including Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas.

Even if he retains his license, as a convicted felon, Strickland would not be allowed to hunt using a gun, but could bow hunt.

Black bears are classified as a threatened species in Florida and are fully protected. There is no open season for the taking of bears. Also under Florida law, it is prohibited to place food or garbage out to intentionally attract bears.

The sale or purchase of any bear carcass. or part of one, is prohibited unless legally acquired. A tag bearing the name and address of the possessor and the date when and the specific place where it was taken is required.

After his arrest, Strickland was released on his own recognizance. FWC said this is Strickland’s first wildlife offense.

He is scheduled to be arraigned before Circuit Court Judge Angela Dempsey on Nov. 9.

According to an FWC press release, Strickland, 59, a dock builder and fishing guide, was charged with one count of killing a black bear and taken to the Franklin County Jail. Strickland’s bow and arrow, and four-wheeler, were seized. The vehicle was later returned to his wife, and the weapons retained as evidence.

According to Johnson, at the time of his arrest Strickland remarked “It was just a bear.”

At the time of the incident, Strickland was hunting from a deer stand located on the power line. The bear, a 175-pound female, was shot at 6:15 p.m. when it passed within 50 feet of the stand.

Johnson had observed Strickland for about 30 minutes before the shooting occurred.

A state employee, who asked not to be named, said the FWC officer was dispatched in response to reports of “unusual activity” on the hunting lease.

Although unconfirmed by law enforcement, Strickland may have been baiting his hunting stand with fish as well as corn.

In a blog chain entitled “Bear Poacher” on the Florida Sportsman web page; several blogers wrote that Strickland was baiting the bear with fish hung in a tree.

One bloger who described himself as “USAF Retired, Franklin County Teacher Retired, Franklin County School Board Member,” wrote that he had seen bears near the arrest site eating plants that the bloger believed were intended to lure deer to a nearby blind.

“I live about a half-mile from the arrest location,” he wrote. “I ride my bicycle near the area every day for exercise. This afternoon I saw a bear feeding in front of a blind. It is obvious that the planted feed attracts bears as well as deer.

“There was a few years when St. Joe did not lease that land for hunting. During that time our neighborhood was overrun with bears feeding on acorns from October to January,” the bloger wrote. “The bears have not showed up the since the hunting leases began again. Coincidence?”

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC)

Living with Florida Black Bears


An old Bear Brochure I have held onto.