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. In 2002, the FWC estimated 12 to 28 bears lived in Chassahowitzka subpopulation. The plan’s objectives for the Big Bend BMU are to increase the current bear subpopulation numbers and to reduce habitat fragmentation. In 2014, the FWC will begin the multi-year process of updating subpopulation estimates. More details can be found in the bear management plan.
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.
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.
The following pie charts represent the reasons people call FWC about bears in the Big Bend BMU. The charts are in four year increments to show how the reasons have changed over time.
We look forward to working with you to conserve and manage Florida’s black bears.