Florida governor signs bill allowing people to shoot threatening bears

By Bruce Ritchie | 06/24/2024 01:17 PM EDT

Wildlife advocates warned that it could lead to widespread bear killings.

A black bear sits in a tree.

Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a bill Friday that allows people to kill bears in what they believe is self-defense. Andrew Harnik/AP

TALLAHASSEE, Florida — Gov. Ron DeSantis on Friday signed a bill allowing people to shoot a bear if they feel it poses a threat to their family, pets or home.

DeSantis signed the bill, H.B. 87, despite opposition from numerous environmental groups and after receiving requests from thousands of their supporters to veto the bills.

The governor did not comment Friday on the bill signing and has not discussed it publicly. During the legislative session earlier this year, there was some levity about the bill even amid warnings by opponents that it could lead to widespread bear killings.


“Oh no — that is my reaction,” Elizabeth Fleming, senior Florida representative with Defenders of Wildlife, told POLITICO on Friday when she was informed that the bill had been signed. “Well, that’s very unfortunate. I think it’s going to be challenged [in court] so they are going to spend taxpayer money defending it.”