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Nearly 1,200 Permits Sold So Far For Florida Bear Hunt

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MIAMI (CBSMiami/AP) – Since sales started Monday, nearly 1,200 permits for Florida's bear hunt have been sold.

The bear hunt, which the state promises will last at least two-days, is the Florida's first bear hunt in 20 years.

The permit for the hunt, which is set to take place in October, cost $100 for Florida residents and $300 for nonresidents, and they can be purchased online, in tax collector offices or in some sporting goods stores until October 23, said Diane Eggeman, director of the state's Division of Hunting and Game Management.

Wildlife officials estimate the state's bear population is at about 3,000.

Florida outlawed all bear hunting in 1994, but a bear rebound and an increase in the number of nuisance calls and bears killed by cars were cited as reasons for allowing a new hunt.

An advocacy group, Speak Up Wekiva, filed a lawsuit in Tallahassee last week challenging the hunt. The group claimed the hunt violates an amendment to the Florida constitution that requires the state to protect its natural resources.

Hunters would be limited to one bear per person, and the killing of cubs or bears under 100 pounds would be prohibited, according to the commission's guidelines.

Hunters would be required to register the bear at an Florida Wildlife Conservation Commission checkpoint within 12 hours of killing the animal, and there would be a limit of less than 300 bears killed.

(TM and © Copyright 2015 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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