Hunting opportunities during Thanksgiving

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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).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving - the holiday of gratitude, mouthwatering feasts, and togetherness with loved ones. For many it’s also an opportunity to get outdoors. To pump the brakes long enough to notice a spider web glinting in the morning sun. To smell autumn’s damp earth and decaying leaves. To feel our heart quicken at the sound of twigs snapping under hoof, bobwhite quail exploding from cover, or wood ducks zipping through the trees.

Whatever inspires you to get outdoors, we hope you’ll experience it this holiday season!

Photo courtesy of Nathaniel  Lemmon

Hunting seasons in full swing

Woods scenic

Throughout the Thanksgiving holiday, hunters have a lot of choices about how to celebrate the season of plenty. The following hunting seasons are open on lands outside of the wildlife management area system.

Zone A

  • General gun season runs through Jan. 3

Zone B

  • Muzzleloading gun season runs through Dec. 4
  • Youth deer hunt weekend: Nov. 28 - 29 
  • General gun season: Dec. 5 - Feb. 21

Zone C

  • General gun season runs through Jan. 24

Zone D

  • Archery season runs through Nov. 25
  • Crossbow season: First phase runs through Nov. 25, Nov. 30 - Dec. 4
  • General gun season: Nov. 26 - 29, Dec. 12 - Feb. 21
  • Youth deer hunt weekend: Dec. 5 - 6 
  • Muzzleloading gun season: Dec. 5 - 11, Feb. 22 - 28

Other hunting season dates

  • Gray squirrel season runs statewide through March 7
  • Quail season runs statewide through March 7

Find a summary of 2020-2021 hunting season dates and bag limits

Migratory bird season dates

The following seasons and dates may not apply to wildlife management areas.

  • Duck season: Nov. 21 - 29, Dec. 12 - Jan. 31
  • Dove season: Second phase runs through Dec. 6, Dec. 19 - Jan. 31
  • Snipe season runs through Feb. 15

Find a summary of 2020-2021 Florida migratory game bird hunting season dates

Mallard and mottled ducks

Mottled ducks

Many Florida duck hunters are aware that mallards breed with Florida mottled ducks and produce hybrid offspring, but do you know how hybrids fit into the daily bag limit? Hybrid birds do not have a separate bag limit. They are considered either a mallard or mottled duck based on the characteristics of the bird. Please note for the 2020-2021 duck season the daily bag limit for mallards is 2 (only 1 female) and mottled ducks is 1. Find more information about identifying mallards and mottled ducks. Learn more about issues related to hybridization.

Photo of mottled ducks courtesy of Ron Bielefeld

Deer harvest data

White-tailed deer

Seeing deer harvest data by county or WMA is as easy as logging into or creating an account at Then navigate to the “Harvest Reporting” link (in green letters at the top) and click on the blue “Deer Harvest Report” button.

Remember, all hunters, regardless of age or license requirements, must log (Step 1) their harvested deer prior to moving it from the point where found and report (Step 2) the harvest within 24 hours. If you plan to use the Fish|Hunt FL app to log and report, you can download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. Please DON’T use the harvest reporting app from last year - Survey 123 app - because it has been deactivated and your data will not be submitted.

If apps aren’t your thing, you can log and report at Or you can log your harvest using a paper harvest log and then report by calling 888-HUNT-FLORIDA (888-486-8356). This phone number is different than the one provided last year, so please update your smartphone’s contact information with this new phone number before you head afield.

Learn more about harvest reporting requirements and find general information using our deer rules FAQs.

Photo courtesy of GC Parker

Public hunting opportunities

Limited entry/quota hunts

If you're interested public hunting opportunities, check out the deadlines to apply for the following limited entry/quota permits and log into your account at to apply:

Returned waterfowl and quota hunt permits

Returned waterfowl and 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

No quota permit hunting opportunities at WMAs 

Looking for a wildlife management area you can hunt without a quota permit? Check out the FWC's WMA Finder to find an area based on species, season, location and more. Find how-to information for WMA Finder and tips for using WMA brochures

Report banded ducks!

Report banded ducks

Banding ducks and other migratory game birds is a valuable tool for biologists to learn about harvest, survival and movements. Hunters who harvest a duck or other migratory game bird with a leg band or other marker are asked to report the band number (or numbers if the bird has more than one tag) at You'll also need to know where, when and how you recovered the bird. 

Make plans to go waterfowl hunting! The regular season for ducks begins Nov. 21 and runs through Nov. 29 and reopens Dec. 12 - Jan. 31. Learn more about waterfowl hunting.

Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida