Your Bear Management Unit (BMU) – The East Panhandle BMU

East Panhandle BMU Bear Range Map - Brown=Abundant; Beige=Common; Tan=Occasional; Eggshell= Rare


The East Panhandle Bear Management Unit includes Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gadsden, Gulf, Jackson, Jefferson, Leon, Liberty, Madison, Taylor, Wakulla, and Washington counties and contains the Apalachicola subpopulation, named after the Apalachicola National Forest.  The plan’s objectives Adobe PDF for the East Panhandle BMU are to maintain the current bear subpopulation with the necessary habitat to support them, create forested connections with the West Panhandle and Big Bend BMUs, and to reduce human-bear conflicts, vehicle-related bear deaths, and habitat fragmentation. In 2002, the FWC estimated 411 to 653 bears lived in East Panhandle subpopulation. In 2015, the FWC estimated there to be an average of 1,060 bears in the East Panhandle BMU.


The Florida Black Bear Management Plan called for the creation of Bear Stakeholder Groups for each of the seven bear subpopulations. These groups are made up of local residents, government officials, non-profit organization staff, FWC staff, business owners, property managers, and other interested individuals in the East Panhandle BMU. The Group meets several times a year to discuss bear management and research.


Are you interested in being a part of the Bear Stakeholder Group?  Email us at:




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 East Panhandle BMU can be seen below.

East Panhandle Bear Roadkill Bar Graph - See Caption Below

Caption: This bar graph shows the number of bears killed by vehicle strikes in the East Panhandle BMU from 2000 to 2017, totaling 518 bears.

2010 = 56 bears

2011 = 55 bears

2012 = 81 bears

2013 = 52 bears

2014 = 72 bears

2015 = 81 bears

2016 = 58 bears

2017 = 63 bears



Each year, FWC receives thousands of calls statewide from the public about bears.  Over 25% of the statewide bear-related calls each year come from the East Panhandle BMU.  The following chart shows the number of bear-related reports FWC received from the East Panhandle BMU.

East Panhandle Bear Related Calls Bar Graph - See Caption Below

Caption: This bar graph shows the number of East Panhandle BMU bear related calls received by FWC from the public from 2010 to 2017, totaling 8,041 calls.
2010 = 897 calls
2011 = 591 calls
2012 = 1,037 calls
2013 = 1,009 calls
2014 = 1,016 calls
2015 = 1,229 calls

2016 = 1,180 calls

2017 = 1,082 calls



The following pie chart represents the reasons people call FWC about bears in the East Panhandle BMU.  

East Panhandle Reasons for Bear Related Calls Pie Chart - See Caption Below

Caption: This pie chart shows the reason for East Panhandle BMU bear related calls received by FWC from the public from 2010 to 2017, totaling 8,041 calls. In Garbage (brown slice) = 37%; General Interaction (light blue slice) = 33%; Sick/Dead Bear (dark green slice) = 14%; Property Damage (orange slice) = 9%; Bear-Animal Encounter (yellow slice) = 3%; Miscellaneous (light grey slice) = 1%; Public Safety Incident (light green slice) = 1%; Illegal Activity (dark blue slice) = 1%; In Structure (dark grey slice) = <1%


We look forward to working with you to conserve and manage Florida’s black bears.

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