Learn about bears May 9

On Thursday, May 9 , from 7 to 8 p.m. the Florida State University Marine Lab offers insight into the growing bear population in Franklin County. Black bears are secretive animals that can live in close proximity to people without detection. But when they have easy access to food attractants such as pet food and bird feeders, bears venture closer and more often into residential areas. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Sarah Barrett will present information to residents about bear biology and behavior and how to coexist with Florida's black bears. For more information, call 697-4120.


Carrabelle funds kids tourney

Carrabelle commissioners voted unanimously to donate $300 in support of the C-Quarter’s Ninth Annual Youth Fishing Tournament scheduled for July 20 this year. Organizer Mary Lawhon told the commission over 100 children fished in the tournament last year.

This year kids will fish for are nine categories of fish with three places in each category. There will be trophies awarded for each category.

The tourney is free and open to all fishermen 16 and younger.

Friday evening, prior to Saturday's fishing day, all entries in the tournament must attend a Fishing Clinic taught by the Dock Master of C-Quarters Marina, Millard Collins. They are instructed how to tie knots; tie on hooks, and overall safety while fishing. At completion of the clinic, each one receives a rod and reel, a tee shirt, hat, and bait. Rod and reels are furnished by FishFloridatag.org.

On Saturday morning, the kids can fish from docks or are allowed to fish the Carrabelle River up to Dog Island. There will be a weighmaster available all day.

A hot dog lunch will be provided to contestants, while the officials determine the tournament winners.



Experience alligator hunting

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has more than 5,000 permits available to participate in this year’s 11-week alligator season, which runs Aug. 15 – Nov. 1. The application process is conducted in three phases and begins by submitting a no-cost application at any tax collector’s office, license agent or online at http://license.myfwc.com.

During the Phase I application period, alligator permits are issued by random drawing. Phase I ends May 12, and applicants are limited to being drawn for only one permit. If selected, applicants have until June 3 to pay the cost of the permit. Phase II is on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 10 a.m. June 7 and continuing through June 12. Those who received a permit in Phase I and paid for it cannot apply during Phase II.

Phase III is on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 10 a.m. June 14 until all are sold. Anyone can apply during Phase III – despite having already bought a permit in Phase I or Phase II.

Alligator trapping licenses and two hide-validation tags costs $272 for Florida residents and $1,022 for nonresidents. Each permit enables you to take two alligators from whichever county or body of water you were awarded during a specific harvest period. To purchase a permit, you must be at least 18 years old by opening day, Aug. 15.

Visit MyFWC.com/Alligator and click on “Statewide Alligator Harvest Program” for more information on these gator-hunting opportunities.


Ips beetles on the island

At Tuesday’s county commission meeting, Extension Agent Bill Mahan told commissioners that a pine die-off on St. George Island is the indirect result of saltwater intrusion during tropical storms last year.

Mahan said Daniel Stevens of the Florida Forest Service visited the site in the Plantation on April 17.

Mahan and Stevens determined the trees in all likelihood were severely stressed by saltwater flooding, and the root damage caused by the flooding left them open to attack by ips borer beetles which ultimately caused their death.


Mahan appointed to fishery council panel

County Extension Director Bill Mahan has been appointed to a two-year term (2013-14) on the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council (GMFMC) Outreach and Education Advisory Panel. The GMFMC is one of eight regional Fishery Management Councils established by the Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1976. The council prepares fishery management plans designed to manage fishery resources from where state waters end, out to the 200-mile limit of the Gulf of Mexico.

The next GMFMC Meeting is scheduled for June 17-21 in Pensacola.