Commission approves hunting rule changes
At its February meeting, the Commission approved rule changes regarding FWC-managed public hunting areas as well as statewide hunting proposals, including many dealing with deer hunting.
Draft rule amendments for changes to hunting regulations were approved by the Commission at the December 2018 Commission meeting. Rule changes are based on requests from staff, cooperators and stakeholders. Stakeholder input on proposed changes was sought throughout the rulemaking process to achieve regulations based on hunter preference and sound science to ensure sustainability.
Summary of changes to statewide hunting and FWC-managed public hunting areas
Statewide rule changes
Spring Turkey Shooting Hours (68A-15.004): Extends shooting hours during spring turkey seasons on most WMAs from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset. This was proposed after a 3-year pilot study on 16 WMAs across the state where this change was made. Hunting during these times is already allowed on private lands.
Remove Archery Hunting Restrictions (68A-12.002): Allows the use of bows equipped with electronic computational (rangefinders) or light projection (laser) sights or aiming devices for hunting game or crows during archery season. These accessories are already allowed on archery equipment used during other established seasons.
Muzzleloading Gun Caliber (68A-12.002): Changes the minimum caliber for hunting deer with a muzzleloading gun from .40 caliber to .30 caliber. This change makes muzzleloading gun caliber regulations consistent with existing regulations for pre-charged pneumatic air guns when hunting deer.
Reallocate Youth Waterfowl Hunt Days (68A-13.003): Reallocates the 2-day youth waterfowl hunt so that one day occurs the Saturday before the regular season begins and one day occurs the second Saturday after the regular season ends. This change, from 2 consecutive days at the end of the regular waterfowl season, is intended to provide higher quality and more diverse hunting opportunities for youth within the allowable federal framework.
Expand Falconry Opportunities (68A-13.008): Expand the falconry dove season by 17 days in conformance with federal regulations.
Specific Area Rule Changes
Summary of Changes to Deer Hunting Regulations
The following rules were developed through extensive collaboration with staff and stakeholders and align with goals and objectives outlined in the Commission-approved strategic plan for deer management. This adaptive approach to deer management is intended to improve hunting opportunities and help maintain a healthy and reasonably balanced deer herd.
Establishes a youth deer hunting weekend on private lands
Adjusts the youth antlered deer exemption
Adjusts the Antlerless Deer Permit Program
Establishes a deer harvest reporting system
Establishes an annual bag limit of 5 deer, of which no more than 2 can be antlerless, per hunter
Learn more about hunting in Florida at MyFWC.com/Hunting.