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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).

Give us your input on hunting-related draft rule changes

Seeking feedback on draft rule amendments

The FWC is seeking input via an online commenting tool on a package of draft rule amendments for the 2022-23 hunting seasons including many dealing with FWC-managed lands, and deer and wild turkey management. 

Included in this package are draft rules to establish hunting seasons and regulations at Tate’s Hell: St. James Island Unit, a new 8,182-acre WMA in Franklin County. Also, another 1,651 acres are being added to Tate’s Hell WMA, which allows an increase in the number of quota permits offered for that area.

Draft Rule Amendments for Wild Turkey Harvest Reporting
Also included in this package are draft rule amendments that would require reporting harvested wild turkeys. Data obtained from harvest reporting would provide valuable information about the number of wild turkeys harvested during spring and fall seasons, when wild turkeys are being harvested and from what county or wildlife management area.

If approved, this harvest reporting requirement would apply to spring and fall wild turkey seasons and would take effect beginning with the fall turkey season in 2022. 

How to Provide Input About Wild Turkey Harvest Reporting Proposal
In addition to providing your input via the online commenting tool, you’re invited to learn more and provide feedback by participating in one of the following webinars hosted by the FWC on Microsoft Teams. While the content for each of the following webinars will be the same, participants must use the unique link provided next to the date to access each webinar.  

Webinar Schedule and Links

Oct. 19 - Click to join the webinar

  • 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern time

Oct. 20 - Click to join the webinar

  • 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern time

Oct. 21 - Click to join the webinar

  • 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern time

NOTE: If you're planning to participate in these webinars using a mobile device such as a smartphone or tablet, you will need to download the “Microsoft Teams” app from Google Play or the Apple Store before the meeting. We also recommend joining the meeting before 6 p.m. to allow for time to familiarize yourself with using Microsoft Teams. Learn more about attending a live event in Microsoft Teams.

Learn more about draft rule changes for wild turkey harvest reporting.

Regulations reminders!

  • Effective July 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. Find more information about rules related to hunting dogs.
  • All hunters (including those exempt from license and permit requirements) must (Step 1) log their harvested deer prior to moving it from the point where the hunter located the harvested deer, and (Step 2) report their harvested deer within 24 hours. Learn more about the user-friendly options for logging and reporting harvested deer.

  • Importing or possessing carcasses or certain carcass parts from any species in the deer family (such as deer, elk, moose, caribou) originating from anyplace outside of Florida is prohibited. See the FWC's new video and infographic about new deer carcass imporation rules to reduce the risk of chronic wasting disease or CWD spreading into Florida.

Youth waterfowl quota permits no longer required

Youth waterfowl hunting

To promote participation, quota permits for youth duck hunts have been removed beginning with the 2021-2022 season. Designated hunts on the following areas are open to all interested youth 15 years of age and younger: A-1 FEB, Guana River, Ocklawaha Prairie, T.M. Goodwin/Broadmoor Marsh, STA-1W, STA 2, STA 3/4, STA 5/6. Learn more about youth waterfowl hunting opportunities and find regulations information for specific wildlife management areas.

Also, if you're looking for information about how to get started waterfowl hunting, see the updated “Guide to Waterfowl Hunting in Florida” for information about duck identification, clothes and equipment, hunting tips, safety advice, rules and regulations and more.

Young adults: Learn to deer hunt for free

Deer hunt 101

If you know college-aged foodies, locavores, nature enthusiasts and those who want to learn new outdoor skills, tell them about the FREE Deer Hunting 101 workshop held Oct. 30 at Austin Cary Forest in Gainesville. No experience is needed because FWC's expert instructors will cover the basics about safety, equipment and strategies, and wild game processing and cooking. Lunch is provided. Registration is required.

Introducing someone to hunting can be a rewarding experience. To help you do that, see these tips from a new hunter.

Get ready for hunting season at an FWC-managed shooting range

Sighting in a rifle

The FWC manages 11 shooting ranges across the state and depending on the facility, you can practice your marksmanship at the rifle/handgun ranges, warm up your shotgun at a sporting clays course, 5-stand or trap and skeet fields, and fine-tune your target archery skills. Find an FWC-managed range. Or locate other shooting sports facilities throughout the state. gets a new look

The FWC recently updated its recreational hunting and fishing licensing system at AND the Fish|Hunt Florida mobile app. While has a fresh, new look and is easier to login and navigate, it’s still the official website for purchasing hunting and fishing licenses and permits. Check out the updated website and buy your hunting and fishing licenses and permits while you're there!

How the Wild Turkey Cost Share Program Improves Habitat in Florida

Wild turkeys

Every year, projects to maintain and improve wild turkey habitat are conducted across the state on wildlife management areas that are open to turkey hunting thanks to the Wild Turkey Cost Share Program. Through this program, the FWC, the Florida Forest Service, and the Florida State Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation pool their resources along with grant funding from the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida to improve more habitat on public lands. Turkey hunters also are an important part of this equation. A portion of the money they spend on turkey permits, which are required to hunt turkeys in this state, are used to fund this program. Gopher tortoises, red-cockaded woodpeckers, indigo snakes, brown-headed nuthatches and many other nonhunted species benefit from these habitat projects, too.

For 2021-22, there are 26 habitat improvement projects on 21 managed properties. See a map showing 2021-22 Wild Turkey Cost Share projects.

Photo courtesy of Jim Turlington

Do you know the answer to this question about treestand safety?

Treestand safety

What safety equipment should you use to hunt from a treestand?

a) Full-body safety harness

b) Rope safety line

c) Haul line for your gun/bow

d) All of the above

If you answered d) all of the above, you are correct! Every time you hunt from a treestand, you should wear your full-body safety harness; use a rope safety line with a prusik knot to stay connected from the time you leave the ground to when you return; and pull ALL equipment – including your unloaded firearm – into your stand using a haul line.

Test your knowledge by taking this treestand safety quiz. Also, sign up for a hunter safety course to learn more about treestand safety as well as safe, responsible hunting strategies, Florida hunting laws and wildlife conservation. 

Please report sick or dead wild rabbits

Help the FWC monitor for rabbit hemorrhagic disease virus 2 (RHDV2) in Florida by reporting sick or dead wild rabbits to the FWC’s Wildlife Health Hotline (866-293-9282), which is monitored 7 days a week. Reports of sick or dead domestic (pet) rabbits should be referred to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services by calling (850) 410-0900.

RHDV2 is highly contagious and lethal to wild and domestic rabbits. However, this disease cannot be transferred to humans. Although RHDV2 was found in domestic rabbits on one farm in Lake County in December 2020, there has been no detection of RHDV2 in wild rabbit populations in Florida.

Sick or dead rabbits should never be handled.  Learn more about RHDV2.

Hunting season dates in October

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

Antlered Deer (deer with at least one antler 5 inches or more in length)

  • General Gun season (first phase) runs through Oct. 17

Zone B

Antlered Deer -deer with at least one antler 5 inches or more in length

  • Archery season: Oct. 16 – Nov. 14
  • Crossbow season: Oct. 16 – Nov. 19

Antlerless Deer - deer (except spotted fawn) without antlers or antlers less than 5 inches

  • Archery season: Oct. 16 – Nov. 14
  • Crossbow season: Oct. 16 – Nov. 14

Zone C

Antlered Deer (deer with at least one antler 5 inches or more in length)

  • Archery season runs Oct. 17
  • Crossbow season runs through Oct. 22
  • Muzzleloading gun season: Oct. 23 – Nov. 5
  • Youth deer hunt weekend: Oct. 30–31

Antlerless Deer - deer (except spotted fawn) without antlers or antlers less than 5 inches

  • Archery season runs through Oct. 17
  • Crossbow season runs through Oct. 17
  • Muzzleloading gun season: DMU C5: Oct. 23–24
  • Youth deer hunt weekend: Oct. 30–31 

Zone D

Antlered Deer (deer with at least one antler 5 inches or more in length)

  • Archery season: Oct. 23 – Nov. 24
  • Crossbow season (first phase): Oct. 23 – Nov. 24

Antlerless Deer - deer (except spotted fawn) without antlers or antlers less than 5 inches

  • Archery season: Oct. 23 – Nov. 24
  • Crossbow season: Oct. 23 – Nov. 24

Gray Squirrel

Statewide Oct. 9 – March 6

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 for more information.

  • Rail (king, clapper, sora and Virginia) runs through Nov. 9
  • Common gallinule (moorhen) runs through Nov. 9
  • Dove (first phase) runs through Oct. 17

Public hunting opportunity deadlines in October

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

Green Swamp Camping - General Gun

  • Phase I Applications   10/8/2021 – 10/18/2021
  • Phase II Leftovers      10/21/2021 – until filled or the final hunt date  

Regular Season Waterfowl Permits – Period A

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

Standby Opportunities Waterfowl Regular Season A

  • Phase I Applications     10/29/2021 – 11/8/2021

Regular Season Waterfowl Permits – Period B

  • Phase I Applications      10/15/2021 – 10/25/2021
  • Phase II Applications     10/29/2021 – 11/8/2021

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

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Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida