Though no one has actually counted Florida's bear population since 2002, officials believe they currently number 3,500. Though the huge success of the bear hunt suggests that estimate may be low.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Officials said the hunt was organized to curb the bear population, which is threatening public safety.
That fact is true. According to Bay News 9, many people have been attacked and pets killed by bears in recent years in Florida. In April 2014, two women were attacked by a bear, and in December, a woman walking her dog was bitten in the arm. This year, a family said their dog was killed by one of the animals, and two weeks ago, a bear killed a small dog and attacked its owner.
One hunter, responsible for the first kill five minutes in the hunt, described his philosophy.
"I view animals as beast and burden, and food, and other people view them as pets. And we view things differently."
Florida sold hunting permits to local and out of state hunters -- $100 for locals and $300 for outsiders -- and so ended up earning a pretty penny from the bear hunt: $376,000. This money will be used to fund initiatives to reduce human interaction with bears, aiming at trash management.
And there were ground rules in Florida's bear hunt: hunters were told not to kill cubs (one person was cited for breaking that rule), bait them (another one was cited for doing this as well), or to shoot a bear who clearly has cubs.
"We have bears that haven't been hunted in 21-plus years here in Florida so they're relatively naive," said wildlife biologist Thomas Eason. "I also think we had a lot of hunters who went out and did a lot of scouting and were ready... [But] we knew there were going to be some [orphaned] in the harvest."