Deer season details

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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).

Provide your input on 2020-2021 hunting-related draft rule changes

Deer pic

The FWC is at the beginning stages of rule development for the 2020-2021 hunting season. We’re seeking input on a package of hunting-related draft rule changes, including proposals dealing with FWC-managed lands and reducing the risk of chronic wasting disease (CWD) spreading into Florida and impacting deer. 

Please take a few minutes to view proposed rule changes and share your thoughts

Photo courtesy of James Albright

Zone A youth deer hunt weekend

Deer hunting from a treestand

Zone A hunters can take a young person deer hunting Sept. 14-15 during the new youth deer hunt weekend. This opportunity is for youth 15 years old and younger who are supervised by an adult. It is not available on wildlife management areas. During the Saturday-Sunday hunt, youth hunters can use any legal method of take for deer and can harvest any deer (except spotted fawn) with a limit of 1 deer for the weekend, which counts toward the youth’s annual statewide bag limit. A youth deer hunt weekend will occur in each zone, coinciding with the muzzleloading gun season. See hunting season dates and learn more about youth deer hunt weekends.

Resources for Zone C archery and crossbow seasons


Zone C’s archery and crossbow seasons open Sept. 14. The following resources can help you be ready. 

Find public land hunting opportunities

Hunter walking through woods

Florida’s wildlife management area (WMA) system, one of the largest in the country at nearly 6 million acres, offers a wide range of hunting opportunities including quota/limited entry hunts, special opportunity hunts, and public hunting areas where people can walk on to hunt. The FWC offers a resource to find WMAs where you can hunt without a quota permit. Make sure you download WMA regulations brochures before you go for maps and details about access requirements, regulations, and season dates.

You also can apply for returned quota hunt permits 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 

Contribute to conservation by hunting pythons


The support and efforts of hunters is critical in the fight against Burmese pythons. This invasive, nonnative species is a threat to native wildlife in South Florida. Hunters can help by removing and killing pythons throughout the year on private lands with landowner permission and 22 wildlife management areas. There are no bag limits, and no license or permit is required. Learn which WMAs offer python hunting and review the individual WMA brochures for area-specific regulations. 

Also, you can win prizes for removing pythons. Learn more about our Python Pickup Program. Anyone can participate.

September is Treestand Safety Awareness Month

Treestand safety

With Zone A's muzzleloading gun season underway and archery and crossbow seasons opening Sept. 14 in Zone C, it's important to brush up on safety tips. When hunting from a treestand, remember to ALWAYS:

  • Use a fall-arrest system/full-body harness
  • Stay connected to the tree from the time you leave the ground until you’re back down
  • Inspect the treestand, all safety devices and the fall-arrest system/full-body harness before each use

Get more tips through this FREE and easy-to-understand treestand safety course.

Learn more about Treestand Safety Awareness Month.

Hunting Season Dates

Zone A

  • Muzzleloading gun season runs through Sept. 20
  • Youth deer hunt weekend is Sept. 14-15
  • General gun season opens Sept. 21 and runs through Oct. 20 and reopens Nov. 23 through Jan. 5, 2020
  • Fall turkey season runs Oct. 7-20, then reopens Nov. 23 and runs through Jan. 5, 2020

Zone B

  • Archery season opens Oct. 19 and runs through Nov. 17. Crossbow season opens Oct. 19 and runs through Nov. 22

Zone C

  • Archery season opens Sept. 14 and runs through Oct. 13. Crossbow season opens Sept. 14 and runs through Oct. 18
  • Muzzleloading gun season opens Oct. 19 and runs through Nov. 1

Gray squirrel season opens Oct. 12 and runs through March 1

Statewide recreational alligator hunting season runs through Nov. 1

For all 2019-2020 hunting season dates and bag limits

Migratory Birds

  • Rail and common moorhen seasons run through Nov. 9
  • First phase of Canada goose season runs through Sept. 29
  • Teal and wood duck only season is Sept. 21-25
  • Teal only season is Sept. 26-29
  • First phase of dove season opens Sept. 28 and runs through Oct. 20

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.

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

How you can help fight chronic wasting disease 

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:

  • Help conduct chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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).

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.

Youth Hunting Programs

The Youth Hunting Program provides opportunities for hunter safety graduates between 12 and 17 years old to experience hunting. Check out the calendar for safe, educational, mentored youth hunts.

Youth Hunter Education Challenge (YHEC) events teach youth aged 18 and younger about leadership, safety and conservation while building skills and knowledge related to hunting, map and compass, wildlife identification and target shooting. Participants must have successfully completed a hunter safety course. Find and register for YHEC events.