Over 200 Bears Killed in First Day of Florida's Controversial Open Season

Over 200 Bears Killed in First Day of Florida's Controversial Open Season (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

Over 200 bears were killed in Florida on Saturday as part of the first statewide hunt held there since the 1970s.

Authorities with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission declared an open season on the state's black bears starting Saturday in what they call a response to what they say is a growing population of the animals there.

The decision did not come without contention, however. On Friday, activists took to the streets to protest the decision, which was made earlier this year following a great deal of debate, reports the AP.

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Opponents of the hunt contend that measures to improve trash management would circumvent the need for the controversial hunt.

According to WTSP, the state estimates there are 3,500 black bears in the state while critics argue that number is outdated.

Nonetheless, the first day of the hunt appeared to be very successful in much of the state, where 3,200 permits had been distributed.

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Hunters were so successful, in fact, that some regions of the state had to prematurely end the hunt after Saturday. In the Eastern Panhandle, 81 bears were killed--twice the number of kills allotted for the area.

On Sunday, hunting remained open only in the Jacksonville area and South Florida between Fort Myers and Miami, reports Bay News 9.

Statewide, a total of 320 kills were allotted for the entirety of the hunt, which ends Sunday evening.

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