The year of the bear

These two bears were spotted near the “frog pond” on the Carrabelle waterfront.

These two bears were spotted near the “frog pond” on the Carrabelle waterfront.

Rod Gasche
Published: Tuesday, January 8, 2013 at 10:49 AM.


As the bear population continues to grow under the protection of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) human encounters with bears have increased too for better or worse.

This is a bumper year for acorns, and with acorns come hungry bears.

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission bear biologist Adam Warwick said it is by far the busiest season he has experienced. In Carrabelle, Eastpoint and Lanark Village conversation is abuzz with bear stories. One woman reported seeing six bears in a single oak tree. Warwick said he saw 13 bears on one day while working around Hinton Road in Lanark.

Most comments have been positive, with people telling how beautiful and healthy the bear population has become. Lots of folks are scrambling for their cameras.

For the first time, Carrabelle’s Black Bear Festival had an actual bear in attendance. Warwick brought a small female bear that had been trapped for relocation, and as the crowd watched, he darted, weighed and measured the bear.

Not all encounters with bears had a happy ending this year. Albert E. Smythe of Lanark Village was arrested by sheriff’s deputies on Oct. 3, for shooting a black bear and attempting to hide his actions after FWC officers investigated an incident that took place at Smythe’s home on April 10. Initially, Smythe claimed to have witnessed a hit-and-run involving the bear but further investigation showed the bear had been shot.

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