FWC honors hunter safety instructor and Youth Hunting Program volunteers

Hunting Hot Sheet masthead


FWC’s Hunting Hot Sheet

The latest hunting and conservation news and events from the
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Peter Churchbourne honored for dedication to hunter safety

Peter Churchbourne

The FWC named Peter Churchbourne the 2020 Victor Heller Hunter Safety Instructor of the Year at its August Commission meeting in Bonita Springs. The award recognizes an instructor who significantly advances the cause of safe hunting through extraordinary service in training and education.

Churchbourne is being honored for his leadership role in developing the NRA online hunter safety course. The course, which is available to all students for free, includes engaging graphics, photos and video clips that capture students' attention. In addition, the interactive skill-building activities and knowledge checks drive home the important messages about safe, responsible hunting. During a time when distance learning was the only option for new hunters, the free NRA online hunter safety course Churchbourne helped develop allowed Florida to continue meeting the demand for high-quality instruction.

The fact this course is available at no cost to the student or the FWC means entire families can learn about hunting and their role in conservation without cost being a barrier. Thanks to Churchbourne’s commitment to high-quality education and the future of hunting, this course delivers over a $100,000 a year in value to Florida's hunter safety program.

Successful completion of a hunter safety course is required for anyone born after May 31, 1975, who wishes to obtain a Florida hunting license to hunt unsupervised. Learn more about Florida hunter safety courses, including the free NRA Online Hunter Education course, at MyFWC.com/HunterSafety.

Youth Hunting Program of Florida awards

South Florida Water Management District

Landowner of the Year award

The FWC recognized South Florida Water Management District staff for their outstanding contributions to the FWC's Youth Hunting Program of Florida (YHPF). The SFWMD received the FWC’s Landowner of the Year award for their commitment to partnering with the FWC to provide youth with safe, educational, mentored hunting opportunities. The SFWMD hosted their first youth hunt in 2011. Today they host an average of 20 hunts each year.

In addition, District staff played a key role in launching the YHPF's first python hunts. Since 2019, the FWC, SFWMD and YHPF volunteers have teamed up to host 4 youth python hunts. One of the goals of these educational, highly supervised weekend events is to teach participants about the negative impacts of invasive species in Florida and what citizens can do to help. In addition, the FWC’s Nonnative Fish and Wildlife Program experts provide information about snake identification – including how to distinguish nonnative Burmese pythons from native snakes, how to safely and responsibly catch and remove invasive pythons from the environment, and the rules and regulations for python removal.

The SFWMD’s dedication to providing hunting opportunities on parcels of land too small to accommodate a full WMA hunt program allows about 90 youth a year to experience hunting.

HuntMaster of the Year award

Sarah Ebeling, a member of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Gator Gobblers chapter, was presented with the YHPF’s HuntMaster of the Year award. She has been a YHPF volunteer and HuntMaster for years, organizing and running one of the program’s largest hunts, including two successful events last year. In addition, she helped plan and coordinate a hunt for college-aged students who participated in the successful “Deer Hunting 101 workshop.” We appreciate Sarah's dedication to the YHPF.

Volunteer of the Year award

Lee Henderson, a member of 10 CAN, Inc., works as their lead hunter safety instructor for the YHPF, educating young people about safe and responsible hunting. He’s has contributed over 200 hours of service and volunteered for seven youth hunts. Most recently Lee was awarded the Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award for volunteering over 10,000 hours of community service. Thank you, Lee, for all you’ve done and will continue to do.

Organization of the Year award

The National Wild Turkey Federation’s Gator Gobblers Chapter has supported the YHPF for 10 years, hosting 30 youth hunts with an average of 25 youth per hunt. Last year, they conducted three adult women's hunts and introduced 18 college-aged participants to hunting through the FWC’s “Deer Hunting 101” workshop. In addition, the Gator Gobblers Chapter hosted a banquet that raised over $100,000 for conservation. We’re grateful for the Gator Gobblers contributions to conservation and hunting.

About the Youth Hunting Program

The YHPF provides safe, educational, mentored hunts for 12- to 17-year-olds so they can experience hunting and learn about conservation. To find out how to become a volunteer or to learn more about the YHPF, visit MyFWC.com/YHPF.

New hunting dog rules

Rule about dog collars

Please be aware that effective July 1, 2021, all dogs not under physical restraint used for pursuing deer, wild hog, fox, or coyote must be equipped and monitored with devices that allow remote tracking. Removing, tampering, or otherwise interfering with any collar or tag (including remote tracking or behavior correction devices) of a dog used for hunting without the owner’s permission is prohibited. Violating this rule is a second-degree misdemeanor that carries a fine of up to $500.  For more information, contact an FWC regional office.

Next year (July 1, 2022), a corrective device will be required on the collars of hunting dogs used for pursuing deer, wild hog, fox, or coyote. Find more information about rules related to hunting dogs.

Upcoming hunting season dates

Note: the following season dates do not apply to wildlife management areas. Find more information about 2021-2022 hunting season dates and bag limits. Plus, learn about logging and reporting harvested deer and other deer season rules.

Zone A

  • Archery season runs through Aug. 29
  • Crossbow season runs through Sept. 3
  • Muzzleloading gun season: Sept. 4 – 17
  • Youth deer hunt weekend is Sept. 11–12
  • General Gun season (first phase): Sept. 18 – Oct. 17

Zone C

  • Archery season: Sept. 18 – Oct. 17
  • Crossbow season: Sept. 18 – Oct. 22

2021-2022 Florida migratory bird hunting season dates 

Note: The following dates may not apply to wildlife management areas. Visit our migratory bird hunting seasons dates webpage to find additional September opportunities for Canada goose, rails, and common gallinules.

Duck (early season): 

  • Sept. 18-22 (teal and wood duck only)
  • Sept. 23-26 (teal only)

Dove (first phase):

  • Sept. 25 - Oct. 17

Public hunting opportunity deadlines

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

Quota hunts

  • Phase III Leftovers         7/1/2021 – until filled or the final hunt date

A.R.M Loxahatchee Duck and Coot Airboat Use

  • Phase I Applications      9/3/2021 - 9/13/2021
  • Phase II Leftovers         9/16/2021 - until filled or the final hunt date

St. Vincent White-Tailed Deer

  • Immediate Issuance     7/8/2021 – until filled or the final hunt date

Lake Woodruff Muzzleloading

  • Phase II Leftovers      7/22/2021 – until filled or the final hunt date

Merritt Island Waterfowl

  • Phase I Applications    9/3/2021 – 9/13/2021

  • Phase II Leftovers       9/30/2021 – until filled or the final hunt date

St. Marks Archery and Mobility-Impaired

  • Phase II Leftovers      7/22/2021 – until filled or the final hunt date

Green Swamp Camping - Archery and Wild Hog

  • Phase I Applications   7/30/2021 – 8/9/2021
  • Phase II Leftovers      8/12/2021 – until filled or the final hunt date               

Dove Hunt Permits 

  • Phase I Applications      8/6/2021 – 8/16/2021
  • Phase II Leftovers         8/19/2021 – until filled or the final hunt date

September Special Early Duck Permits

  • Phase I Applications      8/6/2021 – 8/16/2021
  • Phase II Applications     8/20/2021 – 8/30/2021
  • Phase III Leftovers        9/2/2021 – until filled or the final hunt date

Regular Season Waterfowl Permits – Period A

  • Phase I Applications      9/3/2021 – 9/13/2021
  • Phase II Applications     9/17/2021 – 10/27/2021
  • Phase III Leftovers        9/30/2021 – until filled or the final hunt date

Youth Waterfowl Permits

  • Phase I Applications      9/3/2021 – 9/13/2021
  • Phase II Applications     9/17/2021 – 9/27/2021
  • Phase III Leftovers        9/30/2021 – until filled or the final hunt date

Standby Opportunities September Special Early Duck

  • Phase I Applications     8/27/2021 – 9/6/2021
  • Phase II Leftovers        9/9/2021 – until filled or the final hunt date

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 GoOutdoorsFlorida.com

Bookmark these links

We need your help!

Hen turkey

By letting the FWC know when you see hens with or without poults, jakes or gobblers, you can help biologists learn more about annual nesting success, brood survival, and the distribution and abundance of wild turkeys. You have through Aug. 31 to report wild turkey sightings using your mobile device (download the Survey123ArcGIS app) or report sightings online

Photo courtesy of Glenn Whittington

The FWC and partners celebrate another successful Florida Python Challenge®   

Python Challenge

The 2021 Florida Python Challenge® yielded unprecedented results this year with participants removing 223 invasive Burmese pythons from south Florida. More than 600 people participated in the 10-day competition, designed to increase awareness about invasive species and the threats they pose to Florida’s ecology.

Charles Dachton won the $10,000 Ultimate Grand Prize, for removing 41 pythons. The longest python removed in the competition was 15 feet, 9 inches, removed by Brandon Call. See the news release for more information.

ABCs of treestand safety