No charges against Seminole County man who shot black bear, FWC says

Black bear was euthanized due to injuries on Aug. 18

FWC generic. Florida Fish and Wildlife seal on boat (WJXT)

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. – The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will not file charges against a Seminole County man who shot at a bear earlier this month because the man said he feared for his life.

Officers said the man was on his home porch with his dog before the sun came up on Aug. 18, when a bear alert device warned him to the presence bear about 8-10 feet away from him. According to the FWC report, the man started yelling at the bear to get it to leave, and the dog started to bark at the bear.

The man told FWC officers the bear then charged at him and his dog, and the man fired the pistol he had with him, causing the bear to flee along with two bear cubs.

FWC management later found the bear suffering from three gunshots. Officials said the bear’s injuries were too severe, and it was euthanized. The two cubs that were with the bear were also found and taken to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park for rehabilitation, and they will be released back into the wild in December.

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According to the FWC report, the man had talked to FWC bear management staff about a recent bear with cubs in the area before the incident. They provided the man with the bear alert device and told him to create a nail board as a bear deterrent. The FWC officer said he found all of those devices on the property, and no sign of bird feeders, trash, or other bear attractants on the property.

News 6 is not naming the man who shot the bear because he was not charged with a crime. Under Florida law, it is acceptable to shoot a bear if it is necessary to avoid death or serious bodily injury.

Meanwhile, the Winter Springs police chief says one of his officers is the target of harassment both online and at his home, and wants it to stop.

Police Chief Matthew Tracht said social media posts have falsely identified a Winter Springs police officer as being involved in the incident with the bear, but that was not the case.

“Because of these inaccurate statements and outright falsehoods, our officer has become the target of harassment online, at his home, by his neighbors, and the media,” Tracht wrote in a post on Facebook Thursday.

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Christie joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021.