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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).

Tips for treading lightly at our WMAs

Tread Lightly at WMAs

As this season’s hunting opportunities wind down at our wildlife management areas (WMA), please do your part to keep our wild lands looking wild. After a WMA hunt, please remove the following:

  • Flagging tape and other trail markers
  • Treestands and ground blinds
  • Spent shotgun shell hulls and rifle/handgun casings
  • All other trash/waste

Learn other ways you can tread lightly when hunting.

Final 2020-2021 rule changes presented at February Commission meeting

White-tailed deer

FWC staff will present final rule changes at the February Commission meeting regarding 2020-2021 statewide hunting regulations and specific area regulations for FWC-managed lands. The Commission approved draft rules at their December 2019 meeting. If you haven’t viewed proposed rule changes and provided your thoughts at our online commenting tool, please take a moment to do so now. 

Florida Python Challenge™ 2020 Python Bowl awards celebration

Python Bowl

We’re announcing the winners of the 2020 Python Bowl and everyone is invited to the awards celebration! Join us Saturday Jan. 25 at 2:30 p.m. at Super Bowl LIVE in Bayfront Park to see who removed the most, longest and heaviest pythons. Winners of the most, longest and heaviest python prizes will be announced and all participants who turned in a python are eligible for drawings to win great prizes! Learn more about the 2020 Python Bowl awards celebration

Volunteer for hunting and conservation!

Volunteer for conservation

This year, resolve to give back by becoming a member or volunteer of a conservation organization or sportsmen's group. Your giving is important for supporting wildlife conservation, habitat management and the future of hunting. You’ll also benefit from volunteer work by making new friends with people who share your outdoor interests and feeling good about supporting the outdoor community. You can get involved in a variety of ways such as attending or hosting fundraising events, teaching others about hunting and conservation, or participating in clean-up days on public land. See a list of organizations that work on behalf of conservation and the shooting sports.

Nest boxes for early birds

Wood duck pair

Wood ducks begin nesting as early as late January in this state, with most nesting taking place in February through June. If you live on or near a lake, stream or wetland and enjoy seeing wood ducks, you may want to consider putting out a wood duck nest box. The FWC provides information about building and placing a nest box. Make sure you include the predator guard! If you already have a wood duck nest box, don’t forget to clean and repair it and replace nesting material as needed.

Learn more about wood ducks.

📷 Wood duck pair by Ron Bielefeld

Take someone small game hunting

small game hunting

Many people’s first hunting experiences were squirrel hunts with parents or grandparents. The chance to learn about wildlife and spend time with family brings back good memories, especially when the day ended with a tasty wild game recipe that called for salt, pepper, flour, and cooking oil.

A squirrel hunt is still a great way for new hunters – adults and youth – to get started hunting because it requires little planning and gear. Gray squirrel season is open now on lands outside of the wildlife management area (WMA) system and runs through March 1. Learn how to get started hunting small game

Many of our WMAs also offer opportunities to hunt gray squirrels. WMA season dates can vary so before you go, check the WMA regulations brochure for the area you’re interested in hunting.

Find opportunities to quail hunt

quail hunting

There are still opportunities to hunt on Quail Enhancement Areas, which are located within specified wildlife management areas and feature land management activities beneficial to bobwhites. Before you head afield, please review the wildlife management area regulations brochure for the area you wish to hunt. 

If you’re hunting quail on lands outside of the WMA system, you have through March 1. View season dates and bag limits.

Learn about the northern bobwhite.

Photo courtesy of Tall Timbers Research Station & Land Conservancy

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 B

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

Zone D

  • General gun season runs through Feb. 23.
  • Late muzzleloading gun season runs Feb. 24 - March 1.

Other hunting season dates

Gray squirrel season runs statewide through March 1.

Quail season runs statewide through March 1.

Spring turkey season north of State Road 70

Spring turkey season south of State Road 70

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

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

Snipe season runs through Feb. 15

Third phase of dove season runs through Jan. 31

Woodcock season runs through Jan. 31

The second Youth Waterfowl Hunt Day is Feb. 8

Public hunting opportunity deadlines

If you're interested in quota permits to hunt public lands, check out these opportunities and log into to apply for:

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


What: Florida Python Challenge™ Python Bowl Awards Celebration
When: Jan. 25 from 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Bayfront Park, Miami, Super Bowl Live Huddle Down Stage
Notes: Participants who captured a python as part of the competition are eligible for prizes if they attend this event
For more information:

What: Tri-State Bobwhite Symposium for landowners and land managers in northwest Florida
When: Thursday, Jan. 30 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. CST
Where: Jackson County Extension Service, 2741 Penn Ave., Suite 3, Marianna.
Notes: Preregistration is required. Preregister by contacting or online at
For more information:

What: Becoming an Outdoors-Woman for anyone 18 years of age or older interested in developing a variety of outdoor skills
When: Feb. 7-9
Where: Everglades Youth Conservation Camp
Notes: Preregistration is required. Learn more and prereregister by visiting or calling 561-625-5122

What: NWTF Apalachee Longbeards Hunting Heritage Banquet
When: Feb. 7, doors open at 5:30 p.m.
Where: Tallahassee Automobile Museum
Notes: Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance by emailing
For more information:

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

Youth Hunting Program of Florida

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.