Your Bear Management Unit (BMU) – The North BMU
The North Bear Management Unit includes Baker, Columbia, Duval, Hamilton, Nassau, Suwannee, and Union counties and contains the Osceola subpopulation, named after the Osceola National Forest. Bears in the Osceola subpopulation are part of a larger subpopulation that includes bears in the Okefenokee Swamp National Wildlife Refuge in Georgia. The plan’s objectives for the North BMU are to maintain or increase the current bear subpopulation with the necessary habitat to support them, maintain forested connections with the Central BMU, and to reduce human-bear conflicts and habitat fragmentation. In 2002, the FWC estimated 200 to 313 bears lived in Osceola subpopulation. In 2014, the FWC estimates there to be an average of 500 bears in the North 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 North 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: BearPlan@MyFWC.com
North BMU Statistics
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 North BMU can be seen the related bar graph.
Figure 1. This bar graph shows the number of bears killed by either road, management, illegal, harvest, or other causes of death in the North BMU from 2013 to 2022, totaling 125 bears.
2013 = 10 bears (10 road), 2014 = 10 bears (11 road), 2015 = 39 bears (12 road, 1 other, 26 harvest), 2016 = 10 bears (10 road), 2017 = 8 bears (7 road, 1 other), 2018 = 11 bears (10 road, 1 other), 2019 = 7 bears (7 road), 2020 = 10 bears (10 road), 2021 = 6 bears (4 road, 2 illegal), 2022 = 14 bears (11 road, 1 illegal, 2 other).
Each year, FWC receives thousands of calls statewide from the public about bears. The associated bar chart shows the number of bear-related reports FWC received from the North BMU.
Figure 2. This bar graph shows the number of North BMU bear related calls, and percentage of core and non-core complaints received by FWC from the public from 2013 to 2022, totaling 502 calls.
2013 = 46 calls (17% Core, 83% Non-Core Complaints), 2014 = 54 calls (31% Core, 69% Non-Core Complaints), 2015 = 38 calls (13% Core, 87% Non-Core Complaints), 2016 = 42 calls (24% Core, 76% Non-Core Complaints), 2017 = 55 calls (11% Core, 89% Non-Core Complaints), 2018 = 48 calls (15% Core, 85% Non-Core Complaints), 2019 = 50 calls (18% Core, 82% Non-Core Complaints), 2020 = 73 calls (26% Core, 74% Non-Core Complaints), 2021 = 40 calls (17.5% Core, 82.5% Non-Core Complaints), 2022 = 56 calls (13% Core, 88% Non-Core Complaints).
Core complaints are conflicts, whereas non-core complaints are interactions that could be positive or negative.
Reasons for Calls
Figure 3. This pie chart shows the reason for North BMU bear related calls received by FWC from the public from 2013 to 2022, totaling 502 calls.
General Interaction (light blue slice) = 37%; In Garbage (brown slice) = 10%; Property Damage (orange slice) = 7%; Sick/Dead Bear (dark green slice) = 30%; Bear-Animal Encounter (yellow slice) = 2%; Miscellaneous (light grey slice) = 10%; Public Safety Incident (light green slice) = <1%; Illegal Activity (dark blue slice) = 3%; In Structure (dark grey slice) = <1%.