Another Car/Bear Collision In FloridaGadsden County Times, Bear Hunting Magazine
|Hunter Jacobs, 11 and bear (Gadsden Cty Times Photo)|
A 300-400 pound black bear was hit and killed on Highway 12 in Greensboro early Wednesday morning.
Mark Crisfield, a regional nuisance wildlife biologist based in the Florida Fish and Wildilfe Conservation Commission's Northwest Region Office, said he got a report at 7 a.m. that a large black bear had been hit in Greensboro. He sent a bear response agent - a private contractor who works in Franklin, South Gulf, South Liberty and South Wakulla counties primarily - to pick up the carcass.
"Generally, we don't get very many bear hits in Gadsden County," Crisfield said. "But the number is increasing every year."
Charles Edwards, who lives in Greensboro near where the bear was hit, said he'd seen it cross the road several times before.
Bystanders said a semi-truck hit the bear near the Gadsden/Liberty County line but did not stop.
"The bear hadn't caused any trouble - some hunters had trouble with the bear eating their corn," Edwards said. "He's been around a long time - years, I think."
The sight of a black bear by the side of the road drew a large crowd, Edwards said. He was one of a group of around five men who helped load the bear on the FWC contractor's truck.
He feels fairly certain it was a 400-pound animal. "I helped load him, and I'm thinking he was 400 pounds or better," Edwards said. "He was a big one."
Debris from the vehicle that hit the animal littered the ground around it.
Traci Sansom was headed to work in Quincy from her home in Bristol when she saw the crowd gathered around the bear. She stopped and took a few pictures, then headed on into Quincy. She saw a semi-truck that may have been a liquid hauler or a fertilizer truck parked on Highway 12 at the eastbound Interstate 10 exit ramp. She noticed after passing it and glancing in her rearview mirror that part of its bumper was gone, the passenger side was "knocked off," and the grill was dented.
"But that could have been caused by anything," she said. Crisfield said this is the fourth bear hit and killed in Gadsden County since FWC began tracking bear hits in 1995. In November, 1995, a 4-year-old female bear was hit on County Road 268 west of Gretna; in December, 2001 a 2-year-old male bear was killed at Highway 65 and Road 114; and in May, 2003 a 2-year-old male bear was hit on Interstate 10 in the Greensboro area.
There have been more bear sightings along Highway 20, which runs adjacent to the Apalachicola Forest, in recent years. The Apalachicola National Forest is the site of one of six core bear populations in the state, Crisfield said.
Crisfield said bears will start moving around more and more as spring approaches.
"They are emerging from their dens, they're hungry, and mating season is right around the corner," he said. The bear killed Wednesday will be taken to a bear burial site maintained by FWC in an undisclosed location. Biologists will do a rudimentary exam, which may include measuring its chest girth, the length of its paws, checking it for ticks and removing a tooth to determine its age.