Commission approves advertising FWC’s draft hunting rule proposals for 2020-2021

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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).

Commission approves advertising draft hunting rule proposals for 2020-2021

Family hunting

At the December meeting, Commissioners approved advertising draft rule proposals for 2020-2021 related to FWC-managed areas and hunting. They will consider proposed rule changes for final adoption at the February 2020 Commission meeting

Most notable draft rule change proposals include establishing a new wildlife management area in Marion County, new public hunting opportunities in nearly all regions of the state, and expanded opportunities for families to recreate together on specific wildlife management areas by letting an additional non-hunting family member or guest attend established family and youth hunts. If approved as final rules in February 2020, most would take effect July 1, 2020. See a summary of the proposed rule changes.

Draft rule change proposals are based on requests from staff, cooperators and stakeholders. The FWC seeks input on proposed changes throughout the rulemaking process to achieve regulations based in hunter preference and sound science to ensure sustainability.

The proposals will remain available for public comment through the February 2020 Commission meeting. If you haven't shared your feedback, please do so now by using the FWC's online commenting tool.

Bear management plan update

At the December meeting, Commissioners approved the updated Bear Management Plan, which reflects a comprehensive, science-based approach. FWC staff will continue to focus on reducing human-bear conflicts by promoting the use of bear-resistant trash cans and removing bears that pose a safety threat.

There was no proposal to hunt, but it is an important tool in the toolbox for managing bear populations. FWC staff will continue to explore population management options in the future, knowing bear hunting could be added to an agenda by an FWC chairman. FWC staff will continue education and outreach to the public in general and regarding human-bear conflict and population management.

“We’re proud to have approved a world-class plan for bear management in Florida,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) Chairman Robert Spottswood.This represents a comprehensive, science-based approach. We will continue to prioritize public safety while we manage bear populations.” 

For more information about the Bear Management Plan visit

Catch pythons, win prizes!

Under the direction of Governor DeSantis, the FWC is teaming up with amazing partners to host the Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl. Registration is now open for this one-of-a-kind competition, where you can catch big snakes and win even bigger prizes, including a new TRACKER Off Road 570 ATV!

This exciting conservation effort, sponsored by Bass Pro Shops, will help protect the rare Everglades habitat and the animals that live there from these invasive snakes.

See Governor Ron DeSantis announcement and information about additional partners:
South Florida Water Management District
Miami Super Bowl Host Committee
Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida

Python Bowl 2

Reminder about new requirements for importing deer carcasses into Florida

Hunting out of state

If you’re heading out of state to hunt deer or other members of the deer family, don’t forget about Florida’s new carcass importation requirements. To reduce the risk of chronic wasting disease (CWD) spreading into Florida, whole carcasses and parts thereof from deer, elk, moose, caribou and all other members of the deer family cannot be imported into the state from anywhere else. Exceptions to this include legally harvested white-tailed deer originating from Georgia or Alabama provided the importation meets certain requirements including permitting, reporting and use of FWC-approved carcass disposal options. Learn more about the new carcass importation requirements and exceptions.

CWD is a contagious neurological disease that causes members of the deer family to die. CWD has NOT been detected in Florida. However, the carcass of an infected deer can expose other deer to the disease. Proper carcass disposal can reduce that risk and protect Florida’s deer herd. 

Changes to mallard bag limits


The opportunity to hunt waterfowl and coots is in full swing now with the second phase of the season running through Jan. 26. Before you head out, be aware the daily bag limit for mallards has been reduced to two birds, of which only one may be female. Current data suggests eastern mallard populations can no longer support a 60-day, four-bird daily bag limit. A recent survey indicates hunters value more hunting days over larger bag limits, so the Atlantic Flyway Council and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reduced the daily bag limit rather than the season length. Get more information about waterfowl season dates, bag limits and other regulations.

Photo courtesy of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Snipe hunting: Real and fun!

Snipe hunting

You may not know this but Florida is one of the top states in the nation for snipe hunting. The season runs through Feb. 15 on lands outside of the wildlife management area system giving you plenty of opportunities to get out. Birds are mostly found in shallow wetlands, low pastures, and open shorelines of lakes and ponds. So hunters planning to pursue them should be ready to trudge through the mud and muck! Once you find birds, their fast, erratic flight pattern is sure to challenge your wingshooting skills. Those who are successful can look forward to a delicious meal.

 Learn about hunting these migratory game birds and find season dates, bag limits and other regulations.

Make it a Conservation Christmas!

Hunting and fishing licenses

Fishing and hunting licenses make great holiday gifts. They are easy to buy, plus they support conservation programs and can be enjoyed all year long. Make the gift even more special by planning to spend time hunting and/or fishing with the recipient!

Choose from 1-year, 5-year or even lifetime licenses. Skip the lines and buy licenses and permits online at

Registration open for February Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshop

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshop

Let your friends, family members, neighbors, and co-workers know about the opportunity to learn outdoor skills at the FWC's Feb. 7-9, 2020, Becoming an Outdoors-Woman workshop near West Palm Beach. This weekend workshop, hosted at the Everglades Youth Conservation Camp, is open to anyone 18 years of age or older. The workshop features expert instructors and safe, hands-on opportunities to learn about fishing, archery, paddling, hunting, nature photography, outdoor survival, boating, birdwatching and more. Learn more and register.

30 years of success: North American Wetlands Conservation Act

TM Goodwin

One of the most important pieces of conservation legislation - the North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) – was signed into law Dec. 13, 1989.  This act funds wetland conservation across North America that benefits waterfowl and other migratory birds and provides opportunities for hunters, anglers and everyone who enjoys nature. Every federal dollar spent must be matched by at least one nonfederal dollar, which has created powerful partnerships of federal, state, nonprofit, and private entities. In our state, NAWCA grants and partner contributions have provided needed funds to conserve and restore wetlands at areas including T.M Goodwin Waterfowl Management AreaArthur M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, Big Bend WMA - Hickory Mound Unit and Lochloosa WMA. Currently, partners are using NAWCA dollars to protect and restore vital habitats and improve water quality in a project called Kissimmee to the Coast.

Learn more about NAWCA. Discover how you can contribute to waterfowl conservation by purchasing a federal duck stamp at

Hunting season dates summary

Note: the following season dates do not apply to wildlife management areas. Find more information about 2019-2020 hunting season dates and bag limits and learn how to log and report harvested deer.

Zone A

  • General gun season runs through Jan. 5, 2020.
  • Fall turkey season runs through Jan. 5, 2020.

Zone B

  • General gun season runs through Feb. 23, 2020.
  • Fall turkey season runs through Feb. 2, 2020.

Zone C

  • General gun season runs through Jan. 19, 2020.
  • Fall turkey season runs through Dec. 29.

Zone D

  • Muzzleloader season runs through Dec. 13.
  • General gun season opens Dec. 14 and runs through Feb. 23, 2020.
  • Fall turkey season opens Dec. 14 and runs through Jan. 19, 2020.

Other hunting season dates

Gray squirrel season runs statewide through March 1.

Quail season runs statewide through March 1.

Migratory birds season dates summary

Note: the following season dates do not apply to wildlife management areas. Find more information about 2019-2020 Florida migratory bird hunting season dates and bag limits.

Canada goose season runs through Jan. 30, 2020.

Waterfowl (duck, coot, light geese, merganser) season runs through Jan. 26, 2020.

Snipe season runs through Feb. 15, 2020.

Third phase of dove season opens Dec. 19 and runs through Jan. 31, 2020.

Woodcock season opens Dec. 18 and runs through Jan. 31, 2020.

The second Youth Waterfowl Hunt Day is Feb. 8, 2020.

Public 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 reissue 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

Quick links

New requirements for importing deer carcasses in Florida

Requirements to log and report harvested deer

FAQs about statewide hunting rules taking effect in 2019-2020

2019-2020 hunting season dates and bag limits

2019-2020 migratory bird hunting season dates and bag limits

Guide to Waterfowl Hunting in Florida

2019-2020 wildlife management area regulation brochures

Wildlife management areas that don't require a quota permit

Get started hunting

Public FWC-managed shooting ranges

Buy your hunting license

Replace your hunter safety card

Florida Buck Registry Interactive Map

Interactive dove fields map

Hunter safety and treestand safety courses

People born after May 31, 1975, must complete the FWC’s hunter safety class before they can buy the type of hunting license that allows them to legally hunt alone. 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.

Also, brush up on treestand safety through a FREE, fast and easy-to-understand course.