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

Close up map of the East Panhandle BMU

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  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:

East Panhandle BMU Statistics

Bar graph of roadkill bears in the East Panhandle BMU from 2010 - 2017 (n = 518)

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 in the associated chart.

Bear Graph of Bear Related Calls for the East Panhandle BMU from 2010 - 2017 (n = 8,041)

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. This chart shows the number of bear-related reports FWC received from the East Panhandle BMU.

Pie chart of the reasons for calls in the East Panhandle BMU from  2010 - 2017 (n = 8,041)

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