Holiday hunting and conservation opportunities

Hunting Hot Sheet masthead

December

FWC’s Hunting Hot Sheet

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


Make it a holiday to remember!

Family hunting

The holidays are a special time for friends and family to come together and enjoy beautiful outdoor Florida. Hunting opportunities abound this time of year. See what seasons are open and make plans today to go hunting.

Hunting seasons dates for private lands

Zone A general gun and fall turkey seasons are open through Jan. 6

Zone B fall turkey season is open through Jan. 27 and Zone B general gun season is open through Feb. 17

Zone C general gun and fall turkey seasons are open through Jan. 20 and Dec. 30, respectively

Zone D general gun and fall turkey seasons are open through Feb. 17 and Jan. 13, respectively  

Gray squirrel season statewide is open through March 3

Quail season statewide is open through March 3

Waterfowl and other migratory bird hunting season dates

  • Snipe season is open through Feb. 15
  • 3rd phase of dove (mourning and white-winged) season is open through Jan. 31
  • Last phase of Canada goose season is open through Jan. 30
  • Last phase of duck, coot, light geese (Snow, blue and Ross’) and merganser seasons are open through Jan. 27
  • Woodcock season is open through Jan. 31.

Safeguarding Florida deer from chronic wasting disease

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) has been found in 10 deer from western Tennessee, making it the 26th state to be affected by CWD. CWD, a contagious neurological disease that causes deer to die, has not been detected in Florida. Hunters are an important ally in preventing CWD from entering Florida. To guard against importing CWD from other states, hunters should abide by the regulations outlined below that govern the transportation of hunter-harvested deer, elk, moose, caribou and other members of the deer family from CWD-affected states. Also, the FWC asks anyone who sees a sick, abnormally thin deer or finds a deer dead from unknown causes call the toll-free CWD hotline, 866-CWD-WATCH (866-293-9282) to report the location of the animal.

Learn more about CWD.

CWD-related regulations

Time to get wood duck nest boxes ready

Wood duck nest box

Wood ducks begin nesting as early as January in Florida, so now is a great time to build and place wood duck nest boxes. Also, don’t forget to check and repair existing wood duck nest boxes and predator guards and replace nesting material as needed. Learn more about wood duck nest boxes

Wood ducks typically nest in natural tree cavities, but these may be in short supply in some areas. Providing nest boxes can support the local population of these beautiful birds while providing opportunities for wildlife viewing.


Know a young person who wants to learn to hunt?

Learn to hunt

The Youth Hunting Program offers safe, educational, mentored hunts for youth who may not otherwise have a chance to experience hunting. These organized hunts provide opportunities to learn about conservation and gain new outdoor skills. Hunts for deer, turkey, wild hogs, small game and more are available for youth between 12 and 17 years old who have passed a hunter safety course and are accompanied by a parent or guardian. Volunteers provide places to hunt, meals and mentors at these family-oriented events. Visit the Youth Hunting Program event calendar and sign up for a hunt today!


Python removal

Python removal

If you’re enjoying the outdoors around the Everglades ecosystem in south Florida this winter, be on the lookout for opportunities to safely remove pythons from the wild. This nonnative species can be killed on private lands at any time with landowner permission. No permit is required. You also can lethally remove nonnative reptiles from 22 FWC-managed public lands without a license or permit. Learn more about python removal


Short Cuts

Public land hunting opportunity deadlines

  • Phase 3 (first-come, first-served) to obtain leftover youth spring turkey quota permits started Dec. 20
  • Returned fall quota hunt permits may be applied for throughout the deer season during weekly application periods. These reissue drawings can be applied for between noon on Saturdays through noon on Tuesdays, with results posted at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.
  • Learn more about limited entry/quota hunt permits and check permit availability for all limited entry/quota hunts throughout the hunting season

Wildlife management area (WMA) regulations brochures are available online only

Don't forget, before heading afield, print, take a screen shot, or download WMA regulations brochures and maps to a mobile device so you can access them without an internet connection.

Take 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. Learn more about Florida’s hunter safety course options.

Bookmark these links for quick access to hunting information

Hunting Season Dates and Bag Limits

Florida hunting regulations guide

Hunting zones, deer management unit (DMU) maps and regulations

Florida Migratory Bird Hunting Season Dates

Guide to Waterfowl Hunting in Florida

WMA regulations brochures  

Open/closed status of WMAs

Limited entry/quota hunts

Where to hunt without a quota permit  

Buy hunting licenses and permits

Get started hunting 

FWC-Managed Shooting Ranges

Sign up for the latest hunting news

Events

Youth Hunter Education Challenge event
When: Saturday, Jan. 12 from 9 a.m. to noon
Where: Ocala Outdoor Adventure Camp
Register: Corinne.Davis@MyFWC.com or 352-625-2804
Note: Youth 18 and under are invited to learn about safe, responsible use of .22 rifles and muzzleloaders

American Daughters of Conservation Ladies' Dog Hunt
When: Jan. 18-21, 2019
Where: Northwest Florida
Learn more and register
Note: Event features tent camping and hunting instruction

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshop
When: Feb. 15-17, 2019
Where: West Palm Beach
Learn more and register
Note: Opportunity for adults to learn about outdoor skills and conservation