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FWC’s Hunting Hot Sheet

The latest hunting and conservation news and events from the
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Deadlines for public land hunting opportunities

If you're interested in quota permits to hunt public lands, check out these opportunities and be ready to log into at the dates and times listed below.

Duck hunting

Upcoming hunting seasons

Hunting regs

Mark your calendar with upcoming hunting season dates on private lands.

  • Zone A archery and crossbow seasons opened July 28 and run through Aug. 26
  • September Canada goose season opens Sept. 1 and runs through Sept. 30
  • Zone A muzzleloading gun season opens Sept. 1 and runs through Sept. 14
  • Zone A general gun season opens Sept. 15 and runs through Oct. 14 and Nov. 17 through Jan. 6, 2019
  • Zone C archery and crossbow seasons open Saturday, Sept. 15 and run through Oct. 14

Free orientation classes for Aug. 15 to Nov. 1 alligator hunt

Alligator Guide

If you have an alligator trapping license/harvest permit and would like to know more about taking part in the statewide alligator harvest program, there are three FWC free training opportunities left. Classes are not mandatory, but we strongly encourage new and experienced hunters to attend. You can learn or brush up on rules and regulations, equipment and methods, safety, and more. Registration is not required. 

The statewide recreational alligator hunting season runs Aug. 15 – Nov. 1 each year. Depending on what harvest period you drew, you will be allowed to hunt one of the first 4 weeks and the remaining 7 weeks of the season. For more information, check out the Guide to Alligator Hunting in Florida. Also, find a public boat ramp.

Safeguard Florida deer populations by preventing CWD from entering the state

If you’re planning to hunt deer, moose or elk out-of-state, it’s important to be aware of laws and regulations aimed at preventing chronic wasting disease (CWD) from entering Florida. CWD has not been detected in Florida. However this transmissible disease, which causes infected deer, moose and elk to die, has been detected in 25 states, including most recently, Mississippi.

 Because CWD is deposited in the soil and remains infectious for years, Floridians hunting in any state or Canadian province where CWD has been detected (see map) can only bring back:

  • Deboned meat
  • Finished taxidermy mounts
  • Cleaned skulls, antlers and hides (all meat must be removed)

In Florida, if you encounter sick deer or those found dead of unknown causes, it’s critical to report them to our toll-free CWD Hotline at 866-CWD-WATCH (293-9282). Warning signs to look for include deer that are extremely thin, staggering, walking in circles, standing with a wide stance or have head tremors. Learn more about CWD.

CWD map

Florida Virtual School Outdoor Education

Florida residents ages 12 to 18 can earn physical education (PE) credit AND complete Hunter Safety and Boater Safety certification. The best part is this Florida Virtual School Outdoor Education Course is offered for FREE!

Students who complete the requirements of the course will receive their Florida Boating Safety Education ID Card and be eligible to obtain a Florida Hunter Safety Certificate. They’ll also earn half a credit for high school. Learn more about this virtual course (see option 3) and get registered today!


2018-2019 Federal Duck Stamp now available

Duck stamp

Buying Federal Duck Stamps is among the simplest ways you can participate in wildlife and habitat conservation. Duck Stamps are required for waterfowl hunters 16 and older, and a current duck stamp grants the bearer free entrance into any national wildlife refuge that charges an entry fee. Buy a Federal Duck Stamp at

Considered one of the best conservation tools ever, 98 percent of the Federal Duck Stamp’s purchase price goes to acquire and protect wetland habitat not just in Florida, but throughout North America for migratory birds and other wildlife. This is another important way that hunters and stamp collectors contribute to conservation.

3 great reasons to take bowhunter education

  1. You want to learn more about skills, techniques, tackle and safety.
  2. You’re planning to hunt in a state that requires bowhunter education. All U.S. states, provinces, and countries that have mandatory bowhunter education requirements will accept the Florida Bowhunter Education Certificate.  
  3. You enjoy meeting others who bowhunt!

You can take a traditional Florida bowhunter education course or you can complete an online, distance learning component, then attend an abbreviated field day. Traditional courses and field days are available throughout the year. Learn more about bowhunter education and check out the list of courses.

Bowhunter ed

Outdoor Calendar

2018 Waterfowl Summit

You're invited to attend the 9th annual Waterfowl Summit, hosted by the United Waterfowlers-Florida (UW-F) and the FWC. This event will focus on aquatic plant management and the challenges associated with nutrients and invasive species.  Lunch will be provided at no cost to summit attendees.

When: Summit: Aug. 10 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and welcome reception: Aug. 9 at 6 p.m. with dinner provided by UW-F

Where: Welcome reception: Ocala Hilton pool and Summit: Ocala Hilton Ballroom, 3600 SW 36th Ave., Ocala, FL 34474

For more information: The Summit is free to attend, but you must register

4th Annual Bow Hunters Challenge

When: Aug. 11. Registration begins at 8 a.m.

Where: Easton-Newberry Archery Center, 24880 NW 16th Ave. Newberry, FL. 32669

For more information and to register for the Bow Hunters Challenge 

Ocala Women’s Hunter Safety Class

Take an online course and sign up for the free skills day, which offers hands-on learning from expert instructors on the basics of treestand safety, archery, and safe handling of firearms.

When: Sunday, Aug. 19 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Ocala Youth Conservation Center

For more information about online courses and skills days

Questions? Contact Corinne Davis at

Training to become a volunteer huntmaster for the Youth Hunting Program

Thanks to the passion and generosity of volunteers, the Youth Hunting Program of Florida provides safe, educational and mentored hunting experiences for young people. We're offering training for those interested in helping plan and facilitate hunts.

When: Aug. 24-27

Where: Ocala Conservation Center

Register now to introduce youth to safe, responsible hunting.

Questions? Contact Brandon Stys 850-617-9398 or Tiffany Vital 850-413-0084

Osceola public shooting range closed for repairs

The Lewis D. Whitaker Osceola Shooting Range in Lake City is closed through Aug. 13 for repairs. The berms will be repaired due to erosion from last year’s Hurricane Irma. For more information, call the FWC’s regional office in Lake City at 386-758-0525.

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman Workshop

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman weekend workshops are a fun way to connect with nature and learn skills such as fishing, boating, hunting, target shooting, birdwatching, canoeing/kayaking, archery, outdoor cooking and more. We provide expert instructors and safe, hands-on learning opportunities that are open to anyone 18 years or older.

When: Oct. 26-28

Where: Ocala Conservation Center

Register today for a weekend of outdoor fun and learning!

Sign up a hunter safety course

Hunter safety courses cover firearms safety, wildlife conservation, responsible hunting and more. Students can attend a no-cost traditional classroom course. Or they can complete the classroom portion online. FWC’s website offers several online courses including a FREE option. After the online classroom portion is complete, students must sign up and attend a skills day.

Short Cuts

Bookmark these links to find information fast!

2018-2019 Hunting Season dates

2018-2019 Florida Migratory Bird Hunting Season Dates

Get your hunting license and permits

New hunter information 

Find an FWC-Managed Shooting Range

Spring/summer hog hunting opportunities

 WMA regulations brochures are only available online. Download or print a copy before heading afield

Locate a public boat ramp