I also live in South Florida... And I do a bit of hiking... My preference is a .357 revolver. IMO the .357 out of a 4" barrel is probably good for anything that bothers ya in the state of Florida.
My personal recomendation would be a 4" stainless Smith, or Ruger revolver. For your price range I'd find a decent used one, most gun store's have a used display case.
As it happens this is probably the worst time to try and buy a gun. People are still in panic buying mode... and they are buying everything. Most people selling their guns are trying to get ten times reality. This includes revolvers...
Please see the P/M I sent you...