Florida Hunting

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Written by:  Devn Schumacher 

May, 10 2021

Florida offers various games for hunting. There are common games like Turkeys, Deer, Hogs, and many others. Florida also allows alligator hunting to help stabilize its natural resources. There are also a lot of game birds, small game animals, and predator hunting in the state.

Florida Hunting Regulation

Hunting is well controlled in Florida. Like in most regions of the USA, there are regulations, requirements, and laws that hunters must abide by while trying to take a game in the state.

Some of the most important hunting regulations, requirements, and laws in Florida include the following:

Hunter Safety Requirements

Florida requires that if you are born after the 1st of June 1975, then it is compulsory that you complete a hunter education course before buying any of the Florida hunting licenses that will make you take part in hunting activities without supervision.

However, children that are not yet 16 years old, do not have to take a hunter education course and can hunt with the aid of supervision from a licensed hunter.

But there is an exception to this regulation for those that are 16 years or more who want to purchase a Florida hunting license without completing a hunter education course. They will require a deferral from the hunting course certificate. But after purchasing the license, they will only be able to hunt under the supervision of a licensed adult hunter whose minimum age is 21 years old.

Game Taking Regulation

According to this regulation, the word "taking" when it comes to hunting in Florida refers to, trying to take, chasing, harassing, hunting, killing, or capturing games, wildlife, fishes in any possible way, as long as it results in the possession of the games, wildlife, or fishes.

Taking of Game Mammals and Birds

For the taking of game birds and mammals in Florida, the following hunting weapons are legal:

  • Recurve bows
  • Longbows
  • Pistols
  • Rifles
  • Shotguns
  • Compound Bows
  • Air Guns
  • Pistols
  • Crossbows.

You can also make use of prey for bird games like Owls, falcons, and hawks.

For bow weapons, the least draw weight they can have is 35 pounds. It is also lawful to make use of handheld releases. Furthermore, if you are making use of arrows and bolts for deer and turkey hunting in Florida, then you must equip them with broadheads that have a minimum of 2 sharp ends with widths not less than 7 or 8 inches.

It is a prohibition to make use of Precharged Pneumatic air guns that discharge more than one bullet. It is also a prohibition to make use of arrows and bolts with less than .30 calibers for deer hunting in Florida, but the minimum allowed for turkey hunting is .20 calibers.

In this regulation, Precharged Pneumatic air guns are those that are designed commercially and charged with the aid of an external compression source to help them discharge bolts, arrows, and other types of projectiles for hunting.

Using Muzzle Loaders to Take Deer

Muzzleloaders that discharge just one bullet must have a minimum of .30 calibers before it can be used for the taking of deer. Muzzleloaders that discharge a minimum of 2 bullets must have at least .20 gauge before they can be used for the taking of deer.

Prohibited Ways to Take Games and Wildlife in Florida

  • It is a prohibition to make use of a centerfire semi-automatic rifle that possesses an ammunition capacity of more than 5 rounds.
  • It is a prohibition to take deer in Florida with non-expanding military ball ammunition.
  • It is a prohibition to hunt any game with automatic firearms.
  • It is a prohibition to make use of air guns that are not PCP charged to take deer and turkeys.
  • It is a prohibition to make use of PCP air guns that discharge a bullet with less than .30 calibers for hunting deer, and less than .20 calibers while hunting turkeys.
  • It is a prohibition to make use of arrows that are explosive or arrows that will inject drugs into games and wildlife.
  • It is a prohibition to hunt games with artificial lights, chemicals, traps, snares, nets, drugs, live decoys, pre recorded sounds and calls for games, poison, etc.
  • It is a prohibition to fire at games from vehicles including, motorboats, powerboats, or sailboats while they are powered on. An exception is made for vehicles that have been completely shut off or sails at the anchor. Hunters must ensure that vehicles are not moving before they try to hunt animals from there.
  • It is a prohibition to herd games with vehicles, including aircraft, drones, and boats.
  • It is a prohibition to take turkeys with the help of hunting dogs.
  • It is a prohibition to take a roosting turkey.
  • It is a prohibition to take turkeys from around 100 yards of its feeding station.
  • It is a prohibition to hunt a deer when it is swimming or fawning.
  • It is a prohibition to make use of any hunting bow weapon with a draw weight smaller than 35 pounds.
  • It is a prohibition to make use of hunting dogs without collars. Dog collars must contain details such as the name and address of the owner.
  • It is a prohibition to make use of hunting dogs on lands that are privately owned without obtaining permission to do so from the landowner.
  • It is a prohibition to expose substances like chemicals, anesthetic, drugs, baits, tranquilizer, etc. to an area where it will affect game birds and animals.
  • It is a prohibition to release fire or attempt to release fire, harass fish and birds from aircraft, including drones. Exceptions are allowed for those who obtain either a valid state or federal license to do so.

Trespassing While Hunting

Even if you have any Florida hunting license, you are under no obligation to trespass into private lands in the state. Before hunting on private land, you must first obtain permission from the management in charge or the landowner.

Florida law sees trespassing with the possession of a firearm or any weapon used for hunting as a felony. This is punishable by either a fine of about $5000 or about 5 years’ prison term or both.

Florida Hunting License Permits and Tags

There are a lot of licenses, permits, and tags available for hunting in Florida. Florida hunting licenses are issued based on age and residency, and they all cost different prices.

Hunting licenses, permits, and tags available in Florida include the following:

Florida Residents Hunting License

These are licenses available to only residents of Florida. They include the following:

Gold Sportsman’s License

This hunting license comes with various game permits for animals like deer, turkeys, waterfowls, lobsters, etc. The license also allows fishing in Florida saltwater and freshwater. There are 2 types of gold sportsman licenses in Florida, the one valid for a year and the one valid for 5 years. Annual license costs $100, while 5 years’ license costs $494.

Youth Gold Sportsman’s License

This license carries the same benefit as the normal Gold Sportsman’s License, but it is available for only youth residents that are between the age of 8 to 15. They must have also completed a hunter safety course. The permit will remain valid until they are 17 years old. It costs $100.

Military Gold Sportsman’s License

This license carries the same benefit as the ordinary Gold Sportsman’s License, but it is only available for residents of Florida who are either retired or active members of the military, or those who are part of the US armed forces or Florida National Guard. The license costs $20.

Ordinary Sportsman’s License

This license comes with a Turkey and waterfowl permit in Florida. It also allows holders to fish in Florida freshwater. It costs $80.5

Silver Sportsman’s License for Older Residents

This license comes with Turkey and Waterfowl permits and also allows fishing in Florida freshwaters. It is available to only residents of the state that are 64 years or older. Silver Sportsman’s License in Florida is of 2 types. The one valid for a year costs $13.5 and the one valid for 5 years costs $67.5.

Florida Annual Hunting License

This license is available for residents to take part in various hunting seasons. But they may also require permits to hunt game with the license. There are 2 types of Florida annual licenses. The one valid for a year costs $17 while the one valid for 5 years costs $79.

Youth Hunting License

This hunting license is for youths within the age of 8 and 15 who have completed a hunting safety certification. The license will remain valid until they are 17 years old. It costs $17.

Hunting and Freshwater Fishing License

This license allows holders to hunt and also fish in Florida freshwaters. It costs $32.5.

Hunting Saltwater and Freshwater Fishing License

This license allows holders to hunt and also fish in Florida saltwater and freshwater. It costs $48.

Disability Hunting and Fishing License

This license gives disabled residents of Florida the permission to hunt and fish on both Florida saltwater and freshwater. They will also have access to some game permits, and all this comes at no cost.

Hunting and Fishing License for Elders

This license is only available to residents of the state that are 65 years old or more, and it comes at no cost.

Florida Non-Residents Hunting License

These are Florida out-of-state hunting licenses for non-residents. They include the following:

Nonresidents Annual Hunting License

This license will allow Non Residents to take part in various Florida hunting seasons. However, they may need to purchase a game permit based on the animal season. It costs $151.5

Nonresidents 10 Day Hunting License

This license will allow nonresidents to take part in Florida hunting for just a period of 10 days. It costs $46.5.

Florida Fishing License Permits and Tags.

Just like hunting in Florida, the state issues fishing licenses, permits, and tags based on residency, type of water body, and age of the applicant. They include the following:

Residents Saltwater Fishing License

This fishing license will cover saltwater fishing from shorelines and watercraft in Florida. However, it does not cover fishing when a person is diving or swimming.

It is available for residents of Florida, and there are three types. The first one valid for just a year will cost $17. The second one valid for 5 years costs $79. The third one available for resident’s youths until they reach 17 years old costs $17.

Nonresidents Saltwater Licenses

This will allow nonresidents to fish in Florida saltwater. There are 3 types of Nonresidents Saltwater License. The first one is valid for 3 days and it costs $17. The second one is valid for 7 days and it costs $30. The third one is valid for a year and it costs $47.

Other types of saltwater fishing licenses available in Florida are:

  • Recreational Vessel Licenses and
  • Pier Licenses.

Saltwater Permits and Tags for Residents and Nonresidents.

Some of Florida fishing permits available for residents and non-residents in the state include the following

Annual Snook Permit

This is the permit required to take Snook in Florida and it is valid for one year. It is available for residents and nonresidents, and it costs $10.

5 Year Snook Permit

This permit is available for only residents of Florida, and it is valid for 5 years. It costs $50.

Annual Spiny Lobster Permit

This is the permit required to take Spiny in Florida and it is valid for one year. It is available for residents and nonresidents, and it costs $5.

5 Year Spiny Lobster Permit

This is another resident-only permit in Florida and it is valid for 5 years. It costs $25.

Taron Tags

You can only make use of tarpon tags to fish tarpons in Florida. They are available for residents and nonresidents, and they cost $51.5.

Residents Combination Licenses

Florida has 2 types of fishing combination licenses for residents of the state. The first one will allow them to fish in both saltwater and freshwater, and it costs $32.5. The second one is a combination of saltwater and freshwater fishing and also annual hunting in the state. It costs $48.

Florida Hunting Season 2020/2021

There are different hunting seasons for various games and various weapons in Florida. There are 4 different Hunting zones in Florida and various regions of the state are captured by these zones. It is important for hunters to consider the hunting season date for the region of Florida where their WMA is available,

The 2020/21 hunting season for various wildlife in Florida includes the following:

Florida Deer Hunting Seasons

  • Archery Season (1st of August to 25th of November)
  • Crossbow Season (1st of August to 4th of December)
  • Muzzleloader Season (5th of September to 4th of December)
  • Firearms Season (19th of September to 21st of February)

You can make use of bows to hunt in all deer hunting seasons, regardless of what weapon is allowed in the season. Crossbows are also legal for Muzzleloading season, while muzzleloaders are allowed for firearm seasons.

Florida Turkey Hunting Season

  • Fall Archery Season (1st of August to 25th of November)
  • Fall Crossbow Season (1st of August to 4th of December)
  • Fall Muzzleloader Season (5th of September to 4th of December)
  • Fall Firearms Season (5th of October to 31st of January)
  • Spring General Season (6th of March to 25th of April)
  • Spring Youth Hunt Season (27th of February to 28th of February in the south zone and 13th of March to 14th of March in the North Zone)

Florida Small Games Hunting Season

  • Squirrel Hunting Season (10th of October to 7th of March)
  • Quail Hunting Season (14th of November to 7th of March)
  • Bobcat Hunting Season (1st of December to 31st of March)
  • Otter Hunting Season (1st of December to 1st of March)
  • Rabbit Hunting Season (Allowed in Open Season)
  • Wild Hog Hunting Season (Allowed in Open Season)
  • Raccoon Hunting Season (Allowed in Open Season)
  • Opossum Hunting Season (Allowed in Open Season)
  • Skunk Hunting Season (Allowed in Open Season)
  • Nutria Hunting Season (Allowed in Open Season)
  • Beaver Hunting Season (Allowed in Open Season)
  • Coyote Hunting Season (Allowed in Open Season)

It is important to know that Season dates may vary based on the 4 Florida hunting zones.

Florida Wildlife Games and Fish

Some of the games and wildlife available for hunting in Florida include the following:

Florida Deer Hunting

Because of the abundance of public lands, deer hunting in Florida is very common with a large number of deer inhabiting the state. In south Florida, you will get the chance to bow hunt whitetail deer. Some of the best wildlife management areas to take deer in Florida are JW Corbett WMA and Big Cypress WMA.

Florida Turkey Hunting

Wild turkeys in Florida inhabit the northern part of the peninsula. They are also known to interbreed with the Easter species of Turkeys. They are mostly found in forested parts of the state and woodlands, especially on the edge and in open areas of forests.

Florida Hog Hunting

Hogs are well dispersed in Florida, and you can find them in every county in the state. Although they inhabit a number of habitats, some of the places they mostly prefer are, freshwater marshes, pines, oak cabbage areas, and other agricultural regions of the state. Because of their abundance, hog hunting in Florida is common.

Florida Alligator Hunting

Alligator hunting in Florida takes place in places where they inhabit like lakes, swamps, marshes, etc. Alligators are evenly distributed across all the 67 counties in Florida.

Florida Fox Hunting

The species of fox common in Florida is the grey fox, and it is found in almost every region of the state. However, they occur in large numbers in northern Florida and they inhabit wooden areas. Fox hunting in Florida is difficult because they are one of the bravest games to take due to their alertness.

Florida Duck Hunting

The best areas for duck hunting in Florida are the wetland regions of the state. Ducks love to live away from human settlements. You can find them in wildlife refuges too. They prefer to roam about shallow water bodies like ponds and lakes.

Florida Quail Hunting

The most common species of quail in Florida is the Northern bobwhite quail. This game is mostly found feeding in the ground. Quails in Florida inhabits areas of the state like upland pines, scrubs, Flatwoods, etc.

Florida Dove Hunting

The mourning dove is one of the commonest species in Florida. You can find them on trees where they will build their nests, and they also inhabit woodland and grassland regions. Dove hunting in Florida is more common as a recreational activity.

Florida Coyote Hunting

In past times, coyotes were more concentrated in the Northwest regions of Florida, but today they are well dispersed within all the state’s counties. Like most predators, Coyotes are adaptable games which makes coyote hunting in Florida quite difficult. They can inhabit various types of forested and farmland areas. Coyotes can also live easily in both urban and suburban parts of Florida.

Florida Bobcat Hunting

Bobcats in Florida are evenly dispersed in areas of the state like swamps and thick forest areas. They also love dense shrub regions, where they use as resting areas. When bobcats inhabit rural regions, they tend to mark out their territory.

Florida Wildlife Management Areas

The eight wildlife management areas available for hunting in Florida include the following:

  • Chassahowitzka NWR, 1502 Southeast Kings Bay Dr., Crystal River, FL 34429; 352-563-2088.
  • Ten Thousand Islands NWR, 12085 State Road 29 South, Immokalee FL 34142; 239-657-8001.
  • A.R.M. Loxahatchee NWR, 10216 Lee Road, Boynton Beach, FL 33437; 561-732-3684. Waterfowl only.
  • Lower Suwannee NWR, 16450 NW 31st Place, Chiefland, FL 32626; 352-493-0238.
  • Lake Woodruff NWR, 2045 Mud Lake Road, DeLeon Springs, FL 32130; 386-985-4673.
  • Merritt Island NWR, 1987 Scrub Jay Way, Titusville, FL 32815; 321-861-0667, Waterfowl only.
  • St. Marks NWR, 1255 Lighthouse Road, St. Marks, FL 32355; 850-925-6121.
  • St. Vincent NWR, 3100 County Road 30A, Apalachicola, FL 32329; 850-653-8808.

Florida Hunting Land for Sale and Lease

Hunting lands for sale in Florida include the following:

  • Palm City, Florida (Martin County) 0.5 acres.
  • Monticello, Florida (Jefferson County) 406.53 acres.
  • Indiantown, Florida (Palm Beach County) 890 acres.
  • Monticello, Florida (Jefferson County) 35.6 acres.
  • Callahan, Florida (Nassau County) 81.6 acres.

Hunting lands for lease in Florida include the following:

  • Buck and Boar hunting club memberships (Madison County). 5000 acres.
  • Still Hunt in North Florida, (Union County) 3700 acres.
  • Pigeon creek hunting club lease, (Bay County) 2000 acres.
  • Cypress Ridge Hunting Preserve, (Lake County) 500 acres.
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