ASTOR, Fla. – After a black bear was found shot and killed behind a home in Lake County, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has doubled the reward for information leading to an arrest.
According to investigators, the bear was found dead Friday behind a private residence near Bobcat and Armadillo streets in Astor.
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FWC officials were originally offering a $5,000 reward but increased it Wednesday to $10,000.
Authorities are asking for the public’s help as they work to determine why the bear was killed.
According to the FWC, black bears are protected by law and it is illegal to kill a bear without a hunting or depredation permit. There is one exception to the rule, which allows a person to kill a black bear if it is to protect human life.
”A viable alternative to shooting a bear perceived as a threat is through the use of bear spray,” officials said.
Wildlife authorities urge residents not to use lethal force against a bear.
“You want to let the bear know it is not welcome in your yard, so from a safe location, scare it away by yelling, banging pots and pans, using an air horn, or anything else that makes a lot of noise,” the FWC says on its website.
The use of paintballs, bear spray and sling shots are also allowed under FWC guidelines.
If you have any information regarding the case, you’re asked to contact the toll free Wildlife Alert Hotline at 888-404-3922.