Must-have resources for turkey season

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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).

wild turkeys in strut

8 great resources to help you get ready for spring turkey season

Photo courtesy of Nathaniel Lemmon

Are you daydreaming right now about hearing the gobble of a wild turkey echo through the woods? Are you ready to see the king of spring in full strut? If the answer is yes, mark your calendar and make a plan! Spring turkey season dates on lands outside of the wildlife management area (WMA) system are March 7 through April 12 south of State Road 70 and March 21 through April 26 in the rest of the state.

For hunters who live for spring mornings in the turkey woods and those who yearn to try it, we offer the following tools and resources to help you make the most of this opportunity.

  1. Get started turkey hunting or fine tune your skills with FWC’s new online guide. This resource provides tips on what license and permits are required, where to hunt, what to wear, how to call wild turkeys, and advice for creating healthy and delicious meals.
  2. Find public hunting opportunities even if you didn’t draw a spring turkey quota permit. Florida has over 40 WMAs that offer spring turkey hunting without a quota permit

  3. Hit the easy button to get your hunting license and permits. Visit to learn more or head to to buy your license today!
  4. Brush up on these turkey hunting safety tips or take a hunter safety course to learn more about safe, responsible hunting.
  5. Learn about an opportunity to introduce a young person to turkey hunting during the Youth Spring Turkey Hunt Weekends, held Feb. 29-March 1 south of State Road 70, and March 14-15 north of State Road 70.
  6. Celebrate a successful hunt with a healthy, delicious meal. Our partners, the Fresh From Florida chefs, developed several mouthwatering wild turkey recipes that are so good, you’ll want to share them with friends and family!
  7. Apply for an Outstanding Gobbler Certificate if you’ve harvested an especially nice bird. The FWC’s Wild Turkey Registry recognizes gobblers that meet certain minimum beard and spur length requirements. There’s also a First Gobbler Certificate for hunters under 16 years of age at the time the turkey is harvested.
  8. Get even more information at

Extended shooting hours on WMAs during spring turkey season

Turkey hunters

Beginning in 2020, shooting hours on most wildlife management areas (WMAs) during spring turkey season have been extended from ½ hour before sunrise until sunset, unless otherwise provided by specific area regulation. Hunting during these times is already allowed on private lands. Season dates, shooting hours and other regulations can vary so check the WMA regulations brochure for the area you’re interested in hunting before going afield.

What license and permits are needed to hunt wild turkeys?

Turkey hunting

To hunt a wildlife management area (WMA) during turkey season, hunters need a management area permit as well as a hunting license and turkey permit. While many WMAs also require a quota permit, the FWC provides public hunting opportunities during spring turkey season where people can hunt without a quota permit.

On lands outside of the WMA system, hunters will need a hunting license and turkey permit.

Licenses and permits can be purchased with a credit card at or by calling 888-HUNT-FLORIDA (486-8356). They can also be purchased in Florida at county tax collectors’ offices and at most retail outlets that sell hunting/fishing supplies.

For more information about licenses and permits, visit For hunting regulations information, visit

Teaming up for turkeys

Wild Turkey Cost Share Program

Since 1994, Florida’s Wild Turkey Cost Share Program has provided nearly $6 million for managing wild turkeys and other wildlife on FWC-managed areas open to wild turkey hunting. The program provides a framework for the FWC, the Florida Forest Service and the Florida State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation to pool their resources for improving more habitat. This year, the program is funding 38 habitat improvement projects on 29 areas in Florida.

Turkey hunters help fund these projects. A portion of the money they spend on turkey permits, which are required to hunt turkeys in this state, goes to the Wild Turkey Cost Share Program. Funds are used on proven wildlife habitat management activities such as prescribed fire, roller chopping and longleaf pine restoration on wildlife management areas.

Commission approves hunting rule changes


At its February meeting, the Commission approved 2020-2021 rule changes related to hunting and FWC-managed areas. 

Draft rule amendments for changes to hunting regulations were approved by the Commission at the December 2019 Commission meeting. Rule changes are based on requests from staff, cooperators and stakeholders. Stakeholder input on proposed changes was sought throughout the rulemaking process to achieve regulations based on hunter preference and sound science to ensure sustainability.

Sign your kids up for summer fun

Ocala Outdoor Adventure Camp

The FWC’s summer camps are a fun and safe way for your child to experience the outdoors and make new friends. We offer specially designed summer camp programs where kids can receive their hunter safety certification, expand on archery and bowhunting basics, practice their target shooting skills and learn about everything from wildlife conservation to outdoor skills such as fishing, paddling, camping, and wilderness survival. Our camps are available for kids ages 8 to 17. Spots are limited and filling fast, so register your kids for an FWC summer camp today for the experience of a lifetime!

Introducing youth to archery at school!

National Archery in the Schools Program

Does your child or grandchild’s school participate in the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP)? If not, they’re missing an opportunity to learn International style target archery in physical education class. The program is available for 4th through 12th grade and allows boys and girls from a wide range of ages, skill levels and physical abilities to participate and succeed. If you’d like your school to be involved, we can help by providing training and a curriculum that meets or exceeds national and Sunshine Standards for physical education classes. We also can provide suggestions to get funding for the start-up equipment package. 

Want to see this program in action? Youth from across the state will be competing for top archery honors during the 2020 NASP Florida State Tournament held Feb. 29 in Bartow. Admission is free for spectators!

Report violations to Wildlife Alert

Hunters are an important conservation partner by acting as the eyes and ears in the most remote parts of the state. You can support that effort by reporting suspected fish, wildlife, or boating law violations to the FWC's Wildlife Alert Reward Program while remaining anonymous. If your information results in an arrest or citation, you may be eligible for a reward of up to $1,000 and remain anonymous.

To report violations, call 888-404-FWCC (3922) or report violations online.

Wildlife Alert logo

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 D

  • 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

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: Safari Club International – Tallahassee Chapter Banquet
When: Feb. 28, doors open at 5 p.m.
Where: The Retreat at Bradley’s Pond, Tallahassee
Notes: RSVP Buddy Boyett, 850-556-5511
For more information: Jon Harper – 850-528-5576,

Quick links

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 wildlife management area regulation brochures

Public FWC-managed shooting ranges

Buy your hunting license

Replace your hunter safety card

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.