Hunting

2016-2017 Resident Game and Furbearer
Florida Hunting Season Dates

You may also download the 2016-17 Season Dates Adobe PDF in a printable format.

Seasons and dates are not applicable to wildlife management areas and other lands managed by the Commission.

Zone/
statewide
Archery Season (A) (2) Crossbow Season (C)(2) Muzzleloading Gun Season(M) General Gun Season (D)

Deer (1)

Must have $5 Deer Permit as well as hunting license to hunt deer

Zone A Jul. 30 – Aug. 28

Antlered deer by bow or crossbow
Antlerless deer by bow or crossbow:

DMU A1 – Antlerless deer may not be taken
DMU A2 – Jul. 30 – Aug. 7
DMU A3 – Jul. 30 – Aug. 14

Jul 30 – Sept. 2

Antlered deer by crossbow or bow.

Antlerless deer by bow or crossbow:

DMU A1 – Antlerless deer may not be taken
DMU A2 – Jul. 30 – Aug. 7
DMU A3 – Jul. 30 – Aug. 14

Sept. 3-16

Antlered deer only by muzzleloader, crossbow or bow

Sept. 17 – Oct. 16 and Nov. 19 – Jan. 1

Antlered deer by all legal centerfire rifles and pistols, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows and bows.

For antlerless deer season dates, see Deer Management Unit pages for Zone A.

Zone B Oct. 15 – Nov. 13

Antlered or antlerless deer by bow or crossbow

Oct. 15 – Nov. 13

Antlered or antlerless deer
by crossbow or bow

Nov. 14-18

Antlered deer only by crossbow or bow

Nov. 19 – Dec. 2

Antlered deer only by muzzleloader, crossbow or bow

Dec. 3 – Feb. 19

Antlered deer by all legal centerfire rifles and pistols, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows and bows.

For antlerless deer season dates, see Deer Management Unit pages for Zone B.

Zone C Sept. 17 – Oct. 16

Antlered or antlerless deer by bow or crossbow

Sept. 17 – Oct. 16

Antlered or antlerless deer
by crossbow or bow

Oct. 17-21

Antlered deer only by crossbow or bow

Oct. 22 – Nov. 4

Antlered deer by muzzleloader, crossbow or bow.

In DMU C5, antlerless deer also may be taken Oct. 22-23 by muzzleloader, crossbow or bow.

Nov. 5 – Jan. 22

Antlered deer by all legal centerfire rifles and pistols, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows and bows.

For antlerless deer season dates, see Deer Management Unit pages for Zone C.

Zone D Oct. 22 – Nov. 23

Antlered or antlerless deer by bow or crossbow

Oct. 22 – Nov. 23

Antlered or antlerless deer
by crossbow or bow

Nov. 28 – Dec. 2

Antlered deer only by crossbow or bow

Dec. 3-9 and Feb. 20-26

Antlered deer by muzzleloader, crossbow or bow.
In DMU D2, antlerless deer also may be taken Dec. 3-4 by muzzleloader, crossbow or bow.

Nov. 24-27 and Dec. 10 – Feb. 19

Antlered deer by all legal centerfire rifles and pistols, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows and bows.

For antlerless deer season dates, see Deer Management Unit pages for Zone D.

Deer Bag Limit:

During Archery Season and first phase of Crossbow Season, daily bag limit is:
2 deer, either of which can be antlered or antlerless. However, antlerless deer may not be taken by antlerless deer permit in DMU A1 .

During Antlerless Deer Season,

daily bag limit is:
2 deer, only 1 of which may be antlerless. However, there is no antlerless deer season in DMU A1 .

During all other seasons (including second phase of Crossbow Season),

daily bag limit is: 2 antlered deer, and antlerless deer may be taken by antlerless deer permit only.

Possession limit: 4 deer

Fall turkey

(gobblers and bearded turkeys only) (T)

Zone A Jul. 30 – Aug. 28

by bow or crossbow

Jul. 30 – Sep. 2

by bow or crossbow

Sept. 3-16

by muzzleloader, crossbow or bow

Oct. 3-16 and Nov. 19 – Jan. 1

by all legal rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols

Zone B Oct. 15 – Nov. 13

by bow or crossbow

Oct. 15 – Nov. 18

by bow or crossbow

Nov. 19 – Dec. 2

by muzzleloader, crossbow or bow

Dec. 3 – Jan. 29

by all legal rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols

Zone C Sept. 17 – Oct. 16

by bow or crossbow

Sept. 17 – Oct. 21

by crossbow or bow

Oct. 22 – Nov. 4

by muzzleloader, crossbow or bow

Nov. 5 – Jan. 1

by all legal rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols

Zone D (3) Oct. 22 – Nov. 23

by bow or crossbow

Oct. 22 – Nov. 23 and Nov. 28 – Dec. 2

by crossbow or bow

Dec. 3-9

by muzzleloader, crossbow or bow

Nov. 24 – 27 and Dec. 10 – Jan. 15

by all legal rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols

Fall turkey Bag Limit:

Daily bag limit: 2

Season and possession limit: 2 for all fall seasons combined

Gray Squirrel (D)

Zone A Jul. 30 – Aug. 28

by bow or crossbow

Jul 30 – Sep. 2

by crossbow or bow

Sept. 3-16

by muzzleloader, crossbow or bow

Oct. 8 – Mar. 5

by all legal rifles, shotguns, air guns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols

Zone B Oct. 8 – Mar. 5

by all legal rifles, shotguns, air guns,muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols

Zone C Sept. 17- Oct. 7

by bow or crossbow

Sept. 17 – Oct. 7

by crossbow or bow

Oct. 8 – Mar. 5

by all legal rifles, shotguns, air guns,muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols

Zone D Oct. 8 – Mar. 5

by all legal rifles, shotguns, air guns,muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols

Gray Squirrel Bag Limit:
Daily bag limit: 12
Possession limit: 24

Quail (D)

Zone A Jul. 30 – Aug. 28

by bow or crossbow

Jul. 30 – Sept. 2

by crossbow or bow

Sept. 3-16

by muzzleloader, crossbow or bow

Nov. 12 – Mar. 5

by all legal rifles, shotguns,  muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols

Zone B Oct. 15 – Nov. 11

by bow or crossbow

Oct. 15 – Nov. 11

by crossbow or bow

Nov. 12 – Mar. 5

by all legal rifles, shotguns,  muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols

Zone C Sep. 17 – Oct. 16

by bow or crossbow

Sep. 17 – Oct. 21

by crossbow or bow

Oct. 22 – Nov. 4

by muzzleloader, crossbow or bow

Nov. 12 – Mar. 5

by all legal rifles, shotguns,  muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols

Zone D Oct. 22 – Nov. 11

by bow or crossbow

Oct. 22 – Nov. 11

by crossbow or bow

Nov. 12 – Mar. 5

by all legal rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols

Quail Bag Limit:
Daily bag limit: 12
Possession Limit: 24

Spring turkey

(gobblers and bearded turkeys only)(4)

Youth Spring Turkey Hunt (5) Spring Turkey Season (T)
South of State Road 70 Feb. 25-26

by all legal rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols

Mar. 4 – Apr. 9

by all legal rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols

North of State Road 70 except Holmes County March 11-12

by all legal rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols

March 18 – April 23

by all legal rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols

Holmes County March 11-12

by all legal rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols

March 18 – April 2

by all legal rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols

Spring Turkey Daily Bag Limit:

Bag limit: 2

Season and possession limit: 2 for spring season

Holmes Daily bag and season limit:1

Rabbit

Statewide Year-round by all legal rifles, shotguns,  air guns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols (D)

Bag Limit:

Daily bag limit: 12
Possession limit: 24

Wild hog

Statewide Year-round by all legal rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows, pistols and air guns. Hunting license not required. Wild hogs also may be trapped but cannot be transported alive without permit from the Florida Dept. of Agriculture at 850-410-0900. (D)

Bag Limit: No Limits

Bobcat (D)(F)
Statewide Dec. 1 – March 31

By all legal rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows, pistols and air guns.

Those with a hunting license may pos­sess no more than 1 bobcat pelt between April 1 and Nov. 30, unless pelt has CITES tag. Also, bobcat pelts may not be taken out of Florida unless tagged. Bobcats may be chased with dogs year round.

Bag Limit: No Limits

 

Otter (F)

Statewide Dec. 1 – March 1

by all legal rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows, pistols and air guns.

Those with a hunting license may pos­sess no more than 1 otter pelt between April 1 and Nov. 30, unless pelt has CITES tag. Also, otter pelts may not be taken out of Florida unless tagged.

 

Bag Limit: No Limits

Raccoon, opossum, coyote, beaver, skunk, nutria

Statewide

 

Year-round

by all legal rifles, shotguns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows, pistols and air guns. (D)(F)

Hunting raccoons or opossums at night is allowed, but only .22­-caliber rimfire firearms (other than .22-mag­nums) or single-shot .410-gauge shotguns (using shot not larger than size 6) may be used. Hunting raccoons or opossums by displaying or using lights from moving vehicles, vessels or animals is prohibited. It is illegal to transport wild-trapped live raccoons within, into or from the state, except by FWC permit or authorization.

Bag Limit: No limits on any species

 

Deer-dog training

Zone A Aug. 13 – Sep. 1
Those with a hunting license may train or toughen free-running deer dogs on private property during daylight hours, after first registering (at no cost) the tract of land with the FWC. While training, all deer dogs must have their FWC-issued registration number, along with the owner’s name and address on their collars. Copies of the registration must be in the hunter’s possession when training deer dogs.
Zone B Oct. 29 – Nov. 17
Zone C Oct. 1-20
Zone D Oct. 29 – Nov. 17

 

(A) Must have $5 Archery Season Permit as well as hunting license. It is prohibited to use bows equipped with sights or aiming devices with electronic computational capabilities or light (laser) projection during Archery Season.

(C) Must have $5 Crossbow Season Permit as well as hunting license.

(M) Must have $5 Muzzleloading Gun Season Permit as well as hunting license. The only muzzleloaders that can be used during Muzzleloading Gun Season are those that are fired by wheel lock, flintlock, percussion cap or centerfire primer (including 209 primers). Muzzleloaders that can be loaded from the breech are not legal during Muzzleloading Gun Season.

(D) Free-running dogs may be used for hunting but must wear collars listing the owner’s name and address. When using dogs to hunt deer on private property, hunters must first register with the FWC (at no cost) the tract of land they have permission to hunt, and all deer dogs must have their FWC-issued registration number on their collars. Copies of the registration also must be in hunter’s possession when using dogs to pursue deer.

(T) Must have Turkey Permit ($10 for residents, $125 for nonresidents) as well as hunting license to hunt turkeys.

(F) A trapping license ($26.50) is required when trapping furbearers and when selling the pelts or meat of furbearing mammals, whether taken by trap, snare or gun. For trapping regulations and CITES tag requirements, see page 26.

(1) The state has been divided into 12 Deer Management Units (DMUs); each with their own unique set of antler regulations on what is legal to take. See Deer Management Unit pages for antler regulations and antlerless deer dates in the areas you hunt.

(2) Antlerless deer –Deer (except spotted fawns) that do not have antlers or have antlers less than 5 inches in length. It is illegal to take spotted fawns.

(3) In Holmes County, there is no fall harvest of turkeys allowed.

(4) When hunting wild turkeys during the spring season on wildlife management areas, only shotguns and muzzleloading shotguns using shot no larger in diameter than No. 2 may be used. Bows and crossbows, where allowed, also may be used. All rifles, pistols, buckshot and slugs are prohibited. This rule does not apply on private lands.

(5) Only youth 15-years-old and younger are allowed to harvest a turkey while supervised by an adult, 18 years or older. However, adult supervisors with a hunting license and turkey permit are allowed to “call in” the turkey and otherwise participate in the hunt, but they are not permitted to harvest one. Any turkey harvested during the Youth Spring Turkey Hunt counts toward the youth hunter’s spring season limit of 2.

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National wildlife refuges offer special hunts

Sambar deer. Photo courtesy USFWS

This fall, Northwest Florida offers some special deer and wild hog hunts at St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) and a unique “big-game” sambar deer hunt on the island of St. Vincent NWR.

Click here for permit info.

There are two archery hunts, two general gun hunts and one mobility-impaired gun hunt on St. Marks NWR, which covers 60,000 acres in Wakulla, Jefferson and Taylor counties. Five-day archery hunts for white-tailed deer and wild hogs are Nov. 8-12 in the Panacea Unit and Nov. 1-5 in the Wakulla Unit. There are 200 available permits for each hunt at $15 each.

The two general gun hunts are both three days long and take place on the area’s two units: Wakulla (Dec. 9-11) and Panacea (Dec. 16-18). There are 150 permits available for the Wakulla Unit and 80 for the Panacea Unit. These permits cost $15, if you are drawn.
The three-day mobility-impaired gun hunt is for hunters certified as mobility-impaired by the FWC. It is on the Panacea Unit Dec. 10-12, and 15 permits are available – again, $15 if drawn. Click here to continue

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More than 265,000 acres of fishing and hunting await the outdoor enthusiast at Eglin Air Force Base Reservation

The clear water of Boiling Creek is just one of the many places to explore at Eglin. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Eglin Air Force Base Reservation is much more than the largest AFB in the free world. Within its 464,000 acres, more than 265,000 are open for public recreation. Activities such as fresh water fishing, hunting, camping, biking, canoeing/kayaking, hiking await outdoor enthusiasts.

More than 17,000 permits are issued each year at Eglin’s Natural Resources Branch Jackson Guard office. To open an account, users may go to https://eglin.isportsman.net. Those interested in more information on Eglin’s Outdoor Recreation Program may call 850-883-1152.
Address: 107 Highway 85 North, Niceville FL 32578 (just north of Hwy. 20). Tel: (850) 882-4165 or (850) 882-4166
Office hours are:
Mon. – Thurs. 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Fri. 7 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sat. 7:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Sunday and federal holidays closed

Eglin has many improvements in the works including upgrades to the recreation areas along with the launch of a new website soon. The site will it make it easier for the user to acquire permits, understand the regulations, and a web application posting the daily closings. Currently anyone embarking on Eglin must phone in prior to entering to find out where the closed areas are located. (This site will be updated when Eglin’s new website access is available).

Currently one of the largest improvements under construction is at Anderson Pond. The area is a critical habitat for the endangered Okaloosa darter (Etheostoma okaloosae), a small fish with a range of only six tributary systems in the lower Choctawhatchee Bay drainage. In 1960, Anderson Branch creek was dammed off for the pond, closing the habitat connection of the darter. Eglin is currently restoring the creek connection and including camping areas along with 12+ tent pads, a picnic area, and boardwalks.

In addition, Eglin is improving canoe accesses and currently working on the Turkey creek access at Gooden Bridge off of Range Road 232. Improvements include improved access to the water along with a parking lot in the works.

Rules and regulations are strictly enforced at Eglin as the base’s security is vital to our national defense. The base works hard at making the reservation compatible for the outdoor enthusiast, but enforces its boundaries so as not to jeopardize security. Military missions often require the closure of large portions of areas open to public access. The regulations are a bit complex, however the large guide and map which Eglin provides is comprehensive.

Newly improved hunting check stations. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

Hunting:

The hunting season at Eglin parallels the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s seasons for Wildlife Management Areas and you must possess an FWC hunting license. Eglin may at any time shorten the season as necessary to retain game population. Refer to the regulation guide for check in points and areas with specific hunting availability. There are several check in stations located at three locations on the reservation, refer to the regulation guide. Eglin also takes measurements and retains jawbones of deer kills for wildlife management purposes.

Canoeing/Kayaking:

There are several great creeks to explore on the reservation with the most popular being Boiling Creek, Juniper Creek, Turkey Creek, Rocky Creek, Alaqua Creek and the Yellow River which offers primitive camping along its banks. Jackson Guard offers a canoe trail guide for those interested. Below are two links to stories:

Boiling Creek and Yellow River paddle

Turkey Creek paddle

Hiking/Biking/Camping:

Recreational hiking, biking and primitive camping are available at several locations throughout Eglin Reservation. The Florida Scenic Trail runs through Eglin Reservation as well. You can obtain a detailed map of the Florida Trail http://www.floridatrail.org/

For more information, call Jackson Guard at (850) 882-4165 or (850) 882-4166.

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Food plots planted in Point Washington State Forest encourages wildlife habitats

One of the recently planted food plots on a closed road in the Point Washington State Forest. Lori Ceier/Walton Outdoors

The Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, in Point Washington and the Florida Fish and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are working together to promote wildlife brooding habitats in the Point Washington State Forest. 18 food plots have been planted on closed road areas throughout the Forest.

Working with cost share funding from the National Wild Turkey Federation, Forestry and FWC started with warm season grasses in July 2009, with brown top millet, sorghum, pearl millet and iron-clay peas planted. In December, the cool season was planted with clover, wheat, rye and oats.

Click here to continue and view maps of plots

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Opening day of general gun season productive for local hunter

Randy Humphreys bagged these 100 and 130 lb. wild hogs on Bruce Creek in Northeast Walton County early on Thanksgiving Day.

Randy Humphreys bagged these 100 and 130 lb. wild hogs on Bruce Creek in Northeast Walton County early on Thanksgiving Day.

It didn’t take long on Nov. 26 for local hunter, Randy Humphreys to successfully bag two feral hogs within a few hours along Bruce Creek. Randy said he didn’t have to go far from the boat launch before he spotted the two hogs. Randy has been hunting most of his life and lives in Niceville with his wife Angel.

FWC reminds hunters to be careful cleaning wild hogs: Click here for information

About wild hog:

The wild hog, (Sus scrofa) also called the wild boar or feral pig, is not a Florida native, and may have been introduced by explorer Hernando DeSoto as early as 1539. They may weigh over 150 pounds, and be 5-6 feet long. They travel in herds containing several females and their offspring. Read More…

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Outta The Woods: Safe hunting is NO Accident

Tony Young’s an avid sportsman and native Floridian.  He’s the media relations coordinator for the FWC’s Division of Hunting and Game Management and lives in Tallahassee with his family.

With the dog-days of summer fully upon us, it’s hard to think about hunting quite yet. But if you’re between the ages of 16 and 34, and haven’t completed the state’s hunter safety course requirement, now’s just the time to be thinking about it. If you’ve been putting off taking a hunter safety class, August is the best time to sign up for one in your area.

Many of these classes, offered statewide, fill up fast during hunting season while people scramble to get certified. Often, August and the preceding summer months offer smaller class sizes and make for a better opportunity for students to take a class while they have more free time before school gets cranked up, and they get busy with homework and school-related activities. Click here to continue

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