The Big Bend Bear Management Unit includes Citrus, Dixie, Gilchrist, Hernando, Lafayette, Levy, and Pasco counties and contains the Chassahowitzka subpopulation. Bears are absent or nearly so throughout most of the Big Bend BMU with the exception of a remnant group of bears in and around the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area at the southern extent of the BMU. The FWC estimates approximately 30 bears live in the Chassahowitzka subpopulation. The plan’s objectives for the Big Bend BMU are to increase the current bear subpopulation numbers and to reduce habitat fragmentation.
FWC began launching the BMUs in October 2013 with the West Panhandle BMU, followed by the Central BMU in March 2014, East Panhandle BMU in April 2014, South BMU in June 2014, the North and South Central BMUs in October and September 2014, and lastly the Big Bend BMU in December 2014. FWC hosted multiple public workshops and government briefings where local government partners and residents provided input on bear issues they were experiencing and ideas on how to reduce conflicts.
If you were unable to attend a meeting but still would like to join a Bear Stakeholder Group, please contact staff at BearPlan@MyFWC.com
Vehicle strikes account for the majority of bear deaths in Florida statewide. The number of bears killed by vehicles, or euthanized due to vehicle injuries, documented each year in the Big Bend BMU can be seen below.
Caption: This bar graph shows the number of bears killed by vehicle strikes in the Big Bend BMU from 2000 to 2016, totaling 3 bears.
2010 = 0 bears
2011 = 0 bears
2012 = 0 bears
2013 = 2 bears
2014 = 0 bears
2015 = 0 bears
2016 = 1 bear
Each year, FWC receives thousands of calls statewide from the public about bears. The following chart shows the number of bear-related reports FWC received from the Big Bend BMU.
Caption: This bar graph shows the number of Big Bend BMU bear related calls received by FWC from the public from 2010 to 2016, totaling 222 calls.
2010 = 26 calls
2011 = 10 calls
2012 = 12 calls
2013 = 78 calls
2014 = 37 calls
2015 = 33 calls
2016 = 26 calls
The following pie chart represents the reasons people call FWC about bears in the Big Bend BMU.
Caption: This pie chart shows the reason for Big Bend BMU bear related calls received by FWC from the public from 2010 to 2016, totaling 222 calls. General Interaction (light blue slice) = 41%; Property Damage (orange slice) = 20%; In Garbage (brown slice) = 18%; Sick/Dead Bear (dark green slice) = 10%; Miscellaneous (light grey slice) = 6%; Bear-Animal Encounter (yellow slice) = 3%; In Structure (dark grey slice) = 1%; Illegal Activity (dark blue slice) = 1%; Public Safety Incident (light green slice) = <1%
We look forward to working with you to conserve and manage Florida’s black bears.