Reward offered in Eastpoint bear killing

Published: Monday, December 23, 2013 at 12:05 PM.

Nearby residents said the area where the bear was shot is a dumping ground for garbage. Bears are attracted to easy food items especially in the fall and winter. It is illegal to shoot or harass a black bear in Florida .

FWC is offering a reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the shooter. Kirkland said rewards range from $25 to $1000.

 “We need somebody who knows who shot this bear to contact our wildlife alert hotline at (888) 404-3922,” said Kirkland . “We guarantee anyone who calls anonymity.”

Florida law makes it illegal to “take” a bear, and defines that as pursuing, hunting, molesting, capturing, or killing, or attempting those actions, whether or not such actions result in possession of the bear.

In addition, rules prohibit anyone from possessing, injuring, shooting, wounding, trapping, collecting, or selling bears or their parts or attempting to engage in such actions without prior authorization from FWC.

Violation of these bear rule is a misdemeanor, which can result in fines up to $500 and/or 60 days in jail for a first offense. Prior offenses can result in higher penalties, with imprisonment up to one year, a fine of up to $1,000, and suspension of recreational hunting and fishing licensing privileges.

It is illegal to intentionally place food or garbage out that attracts bears and causes conflicts. Anything that attracts dogs, cats or raccoons will attract bears, too. If you are dumping garbage at the roadside or feeding pets and wildlife in unsecured containers, you are luring bears to the area and committing a crime.

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