Bear Conservation Rule FAQs

What is the full name of the ‘Bear Rule’?

The full name of the Bear Rule is the Florida Black Bear Conservation Rule 68A-4.009,Adobe PDF Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.).


What does the Bear Rule actually do?

The rule means that, although the Florida black bear has been removed from the list of State-designated Threatened Species (68A-27.003, F.A.C.), it is still unlawful to injure or kill bears. The rule also states FWC will continue to engage with landowners and regulating agencies to guide future land use to be in line with the objectives of the Florida Black Bear Management Plan.


What are you not allowed to do according to the Bear Rule?

You are not allowed to “take” a bear.  The Bear Rule relies on the definition of take in Rule 68A-1.004, F.A.C., which includes pursuing, hunting, molesting, capturing, or killing, or attempting those actions, whether or not such actions result in possession of the bear.  In addition to take, Rule 68A-4.009, F.A.C., generally prohibits 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.


What are the penalties for violating the Bear Rule?

Violation of the 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 1 year, a fine of up to $1000, and suspension of recreational hunting and fishing licensing privileges.


 Are you allowed to scare a bear off your property?

FWC does not consider it to be a violation of the Bear Rule to scare a bear off your property by yelling, banging pots and pans, using an air horn, honking a car horn, or using bear spray. You can also use a motion-sensitive device (e.g., Critter Gitter®, Water ScareCrow®) that displays flashing lights, emits loud noises, or deploys a spray of water when something approaches the device.


Does FWC issue permits to allow people to ‘take’ bears?

The Bear Rule describes two situations in which FWC can issue permits to allow the intentional take of bears: 1) Collection of scientific data needed for conservation or management of the species; or 2) Removing bears from situations that constitute a human safety risk or a risk to the well being of the bear.  Issuance of these permits is subject to FWC’s determination that it furthers a scientific or conservation purpose benefitting the species’ survival potential. FWC is issuing permits to researchers who are collecting information on bears for the agency.  FWC is also issuing permits to law enforcement and other government partners who have participated in a Bear Response Training course to allow their staff to scare bears away using ‘less-than-lethal’ ammunition and other techniques. 


What is the exact language of the Bear Rule?

(1) No person shall take (as that term is defined in Rule 68A-1.004), possess, injure, shoot, wound, trap, collect, or sell Florida black bears (Ursus americanus floridanus) or their parts or to attempt to engage in such conduct except as authorized by Commission rule or by permit from the Commission.

(2) The Commission will issue permits authorizing intentional take of bears when it determines such authorization furthers scientific or conservation purposes which will benefit the survival potential of the species. For purposes of this rule, a scientific or conservation purpose shall mean activities that further the conservation or survival of the species, including:

(a) Collection of scientific data needed for conservation or management of the species; and

(b) Removing bears from situations that constitute a human safety risk or a risk to the well being of the bear.

(3) The Commission will provide technical assistance to land owners and comments to permitting agencies in order to minimize and avoid potential negative human-bear interactions or impacts of land modifications on the conservation and management of black bears. The Commission will base its comments and recommendations on the goals and objectives of the approved Florida Black Bear Management Plan.  The plan can be obtained at


FWC Facts:
There were 55 boating deaths in 2012 - 34 of them were caused by drowning. Wearing a life jacket might have saved those lives. All boaters should wear one while on the water

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