Archery, alligators, early season waterfowl and more!

Hunting Hot Sheet masthead


FWC’s Hunting Hot Sheet

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

New features added to Florida Buck Registry webpage

White-tailed deer

The Florida Buck Registry webpage has been updated so it’s mobile friendly and includes these features:

  • A score calculator for unofficial scoring.
  • An easy way to find official Florida Buck Registry scorers in your region.
  • The opportunity to view ALL past submitted score sheets.

Also, check out the Florida Buck Registry Interactive Map.


Changes to WMA Dove Field Opportunities 

Dove hunter petting dog

The FWC has replaced fee-based special opportunity dove program permits with no-cost alternatives while maintaining the current level of dove hunting opportunity. See a summary of wildlife management area (WMA) dove fields affected by changes that will begin with the 2019-2020 season.

The opportunity to apply for dove permits for scheduled hunts at Caravelle RanchDuPuisFrog PondHilochee and Punta Gorda wildlife management areas during phase I runs through Aug. 19. Visit to apply.

Want to find dove fields in Florida? Check out this new interactive dove field map!

How you can protect Florida deer from chronic wasting disease (CWD)

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a contagious, incurable disease that is fatal for all members of the deer family and is currently documented in white-tailed deer, mule deer, sika deer, elk, moose, and caribou. While CWD has not been detected in Florida, it has been detected in 26 states and three Canadian provinces. You can help protect Florida deer populations from CWD in the following ways:

  • If you see or harvest a sick or abnormally thin deer or see a deer dead of unknown causes, please report its location to the CWD hotline, (866) CWD-WATCH (293-9282).
  • Help conduct chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance. With zone A archery and crossbow seasons underway, the FWC is asking hunters who harvest a deer in Florida to please consider supporting chronic wasting disease monitoring efforts by donating the deer head to the FWC. Skull cap and antlers can be removed and kept by the hunter.
  • Properly dispose of the carcass if you harvest a deer in Florida.
  • Know and follow transportation regulations when hunting out of state. It’s illegal to bring into Florida carcasses of deer, elk, moose, caribou and other members of the deer family from states and provinces where CWD has been detected.
  • Learn more about CWD.
How to prevent CWD

Get ready for the statewide alligator hunt

Guide to Alligator Hunting in Florida

You still have an opportunity to purchase a statewide alligator harvest permit. Even if you were issued a permit in a previous phase, you can buy additional permits during Phase 4. Check permit availability then login to your account at to apply.

If you have a permit, get ready to participate in the upcoming alligator hunt, which runs from Aug. 15 to Nov. 1, with the following resources:

Harvest units 101 - 112

Harvest units 115 - 306

Harvest units 401 - 415

Harvest units 500 - 515

Harvest units 516 - 545

Harvest units 546 - 721

Harvest units 722 - 751

Harvest units 801 - 805

Harvest units 806 - 810

Harvest units 811 - 816

Harvest units 817 - 821

Harvest units 822 - 826

Harvest units 827 - 831

Harvest units 832 - 836

Harvest units 837 - 841

Harvest units 842 - 847

Harvest units 848 - 852

Harvest units 853 - 857

Harvest units 858 - 862

Harvest units 863 - 867


Hunting Season Dates

Zone A archery and crossbow seasons opened Aug. 3 and run through Sept. 1 and Sept. 6, respectively

The statewide recreational alligator hunting season begins Aug. 15 and runs through Nov. 1.

Zone A muzzleloading gun season opens Sept. 7 and runs through Sept. 20

Zone C archery and crossbow seasons open Sept. 14 and run through Oct. 13 and Oct. 18, respectively

Zone A youth deer hunt weekend Sept. 14-15

Teal and wood duck only season Sept. 21-25

Zone A general gun season opens Sept. 21 and runs through Oct. 20 and reopens Nov. 23 through Jan. 5, 2019

Teal only season Sept. 26-29

First phase of dove season opens Sept. 28 and runs through Oct. 20

2019-2020 hunting season dates and bag limits

2019-2020 migratory bird hunting season dates and bag limits

Public land hunting opportunity deadlines

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

Phase I to apply for dove permits began Aug. 9 at 10 a.m. Eastern time and runs through Aug. 19

Phase II to apply for September early duck permits runs Aug. 16 at 10 a.m. Eastern time through Aug. 26

Remaining dove permits (Phase II/leftovers) offered beginning Aug. 22 at 10 a.m. Eastern time until filled

Remaining September early duck permits (Phase III/leftovers) offered beginning Aug. 29 at 10 a.m. Eastern time until filled

Phase I to apply for Period A regular season waterfowl permits begins Sept. 13 at 10 a.m. Eastern time and runs through Sept. 23

Phase I to apply for Merritt Island waterfowl permits begins Sept. 13 and runs through Sept. 23

Phase I to apply for youth waterfowl permits begins Sept. 27 at 10 a.m. Eastern time and runs through Oct. 7

Returned quota hunt permits may be applied for throughout the season during weekly application periods. Permit availability is shown in real time, and weekly reissue applications are available for hunters between noon on Saturdays through noon on Tuesdays, with results posted at

Hunter safety course options

If you plan to introduce someone to hunting this fall, now is a great time for a new hunter to take a Florida hunter safety course. These courses cover safety, wildlife conservation, and hunter ethics and responsibilities.

The FWC offers the following course formats, including free options.

1) Traditional classroom courses can be taken at no cost.

2) The classroom portion can be completed by taking an FWC-approved online course, including one that’s free. After the online classroom portion is complete, students must sign up and attend a free field day.

This no-cost training is available thanks to certified volunteer instructors and funding from the Wildlife Restoration program.

People born after May 31, 1975, are required to complete a state certified hunter safety class before they can buy the type of hunting license that allows them to legally hunt unsupervised in Florida.

Quick links

FAQs about statewide hunting rules taking effect in 2019-2020

Requirements to log and report harvested deer

2019-2020 hunting season dates and bag limits

2019-2020 migratory bird hunting season dates and bag limits

Summer wild hog hunting opportunities on WMAs

2019-2020 wildlife management area regulation brochures

Get started hunting

Public FWC-managed shooting ranges

Buy your hunting license

Replace your hunter safety card


Youth Hunting Program - Another 25 hunts have been added to the Youth Hunting Program calendar bringing the total number of youth hunts to over 65.

The Youth Hunting Program is designed for young people who might not have the opportunity to experience hunting and learn about conservation. The program provides safe, educational, mentored hunts for young men and women between 12 and 17 years old who have passed a Florida hunter safety course and are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman - Learn about conservation and develop outdoors skills by registering for one of these Becoming an Outdoors-Woman weekends: Nov. 15-17, 2019, workshop held in Ocala and a Feb. 7-9, 2020, workshop in West Palm Beach.

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshops are open to anyone 18 years or older and feature expert instructors and safe, hands-on learning opportunities.

Learn the ABCs of treestand safety!

The infographic below spells out the basics. For more information about how to stay safe, check out this free, 15-minute treestand safety course.

Taking a hunter safety course is a great way to learn even more about safety and conservation.

Treestand Safety