Update on proposed hunting rule changes for 2023-24

Hunting Hot Sheet masthead

December 2022

FWC’s Hunting Hot Sheet

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

Commission approves 2023-24 hunting-related proposed rule changes

Garcon Point WMA

At their Nov. 30 - Dec. 1 meeting, the Commission approved proposed rule amendments for the 2023-24 hunting seasons. Included in the package are proposed rules to establish hunting seasons and regulations at Garcon Point (shown in the photo), a new 3,245-acre wildlife management area in Santa Rosa County, and the Everglades Headwaters National Wildlife Refuge WMA - Okeechobee Unit, which consists of 1,865 acres in Okeechobee County. These new WMAs would provide additional deer, wild turkey, and small game hunting opportunities to the public. See a summary of the proposed rule amendments. Commissioners will consider the proposed rule changes for final adoption at their February 2023 meeting. If approved as final rules in February 2023, most would take effect July 1, 2023.

About the Rulemaking Process

Proposed rule amendments are based on requests from staff, cooperators and stakeholders. The FWC seeks input on proposed changes throughout the rulemaking process to achieve regulations based in hunter preference and sound science to ensure sustainability. 

We Welcome Your Comments

Please provide your input through our online commenting tool regarding proposed rule amendments for 2023-24 hunting seasons related to hunting, management and FWC-managed lands.

Heads up about waterfowl hunting

Black-bellied whistling duck

The second phase of the regular duck season runs Dec. 10 – Jan. 29, providing hunters with opportunities to hunt ducks, light geese (snow, blue and Ross'), mergansers (common, red-breasted, hooded), and coots. Hunting for Canada geese runs Dec. 1 to Jan. 30. One thing to keep in mind is the limit for scaup is one (1) from Dec. 10 to Jan. 9 and then changes to two (2) scaup from Jan. 10-29 and during Youth and Veteran/Military waterfowl hunt days. Find season dates and bag limits for all migratory game birds.

Report Banded Ducks

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 www.reportband.gov. You'll also need to know where, when and how you recovered the bird. Banding ducks and other migratory game birds is a valuable tool for biologists to learn about harvest, survival and movements.

Hunting Stormwater Treatment Areas

Starting with the 2022-23 season, waterfowl hunting opportunities created by permit holders who don’t show up for morning stormwater treatment area hunts will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis via weekly online drawings. These online drawings will be conducted until all permits are gone. Hunters may obtain a maximum of one opportunity per hunt day (one for Friday, one for Saturday, and one for Sunday) during each weekly issuance period. Learn more about applying for standby opportunities.

In addition, there’s a new process for checking ordered results for STA hunts. Those issued a waterfowl permit or standby opportunity at an STA can check their place in line by logging into their account at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com and reviewing the document (instead of checking at MyFWC.com/STA). See STA news and updates.

Find information about waterfowl hunting.

Youth Deer Hunt Weekend in Zone D

Youth Deer Hunt Weekends

Zone D's Youth Deer Hunt Weekend is Dec. 3-4. Youth Deer Hunt Weekends allow an adult to take someone who is 15 years old and younger deer hunting on lands outside of the wildlife management area system. Youth participating in this hunt are allowed to harvest one antlered or antlerless deer during the weekend and the deer counts toward the youth’s statewide annual bag limit. Youth may use any legal method of take for deer. 

The FWC hosts four Youth Deer Hunt Weekends each year and they coincide with each zone’s muzzleloading gun season. These hunts are not available on WMAs (the FWC has been hosting youth and family deer hunts on WMAs for years). Find more information about Youth Deer Hunt Weekends.

Share your photos with FWC

Share your photos

Inspire others to share your interest and passion for the outdoors. Submit photos to the FWC that you’ve taken of your hunting experiences as well as images you’ve captured of live game wildlife such as deer, wild turkey, waterfowl, dove, quail, gray squirrel and furbearers. You might see your submitted photos used at MyFWC.com/Hunting, this e-newsletter, the HuntFlorida Facebook page, the Florida hunting regulations guide and more! Learn how to submit photos.

Photo courtesy of Elaine Sarlo

Holiday hunting opportunities

Holiday hunting

Throughout the holidays, there are a variety of hunting opportunities to choose from. The following season dates are for December and January on lands outside of the wildlife management area system. To find hunting opportunities on public lands, visit MyFWC.com/WMAbrochures.

Antlered Deer (antler regulations vary by DMU)

Zone A 

  • General gun runs through Jan. 1

Zone B 

  • Muzzleloading gun runs thorugh Dec. 2
  • General gun: Dec. 3 - Feb. 19

Zone C 

  • General gun runs through Jan. 22

Zone D 

  • General gun: Second phase: Dec. 10 - Feb. 19

Gray squirrel season runs statewide through March 5

Quail season runs statewide through March 5

Find a summary of 2022-2023 hunting season dates and bag limits

Migratory bird season dates

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

  • Duck: Dec. 10 - Jan. 29
  • Dove: Second phase runs through Dec. 4 and third phase run Dec. 19 - Jan. 31
  • Coot: Dec. 10 - Jan. 29
  • Canada goose runs through Jan.  30
  • Light Geese (Snow, blue and Ross’): Dec. 10 - Jan. 29
  • Merganser (Common, red-breasted, hooded): Dec. 10 - Jan. 29
  • Snipe season runs through Feb. 15

Find a summary of 2022-2023 Florida migratory game bird hunting season dates

2022-23 Wild Turkey Cost Share projects

Wild turkey cost share

In 2022-23, Wild Turkey Cost Share program funding totaled over $420,000, which will support 29 projects on 21 managed properties in Florida, including wildlife management areas and national wildlife refuges. These habitat improvement projects include prescribed fire, roller chopping, applying herbicides, mulching and wildlife plantings, which will benefit wild turkeys and other species such as red-cockaded woodpeckers, gopher tortoises, and indigo snakes.

The Wild Turkey Cost Share program allows the FWC, the Florida Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Florida Forest Service to pool their resources along with grants from the Fish & Wildlife Foundation of Florida to fund habitat management projects on public lands open to turkey hunting. Turkey hunters generate money for the program by purchasing turkey permits, which are required to hunt wild turkeys in Florida (unless exempt).

Learn more about 2022-23 cost share projects.

Don't forget to enter the CWD Monitoring Sweepstakes

CWD Monitoring Sweepstakes

Enter to win one of five prize packages by donating the head of a white-tailed deer harvested from Taylor, Dixie, Lafayette, Gilchrist, DeSoto, Lee, Hendry and Collier counties to be tested for chronic wasting disease. Each prize package is valued at $1,000 and contains a cooler, trail camera, binoculars and a game processing knife kit. If you’re donating antlered deer, you may remove and keep the skull cap and antlers. Learn more and find donation locations.

Working for the wood ducks

A group of high school students recently learned about waterfowl and wetland conservation and built 65 wood duck nest boxes at a workshop in northwest Florida. By monitoring wood duck nest box activity, the students will be working toward earning the FFA Proficiency Award, which honors FFA members who have developed specialized skills. This program was the first of its kind in Florida, and more are planned next spring, thanks to a partnership between the FWC, Florida Ducks Unlimited and Florida FFA Association.

Florida is home to year-round (resident) and migratory wood ducks. Wood duck boxes can enhance a local area’s wildlife conservation value and provide a safe place for wood ducks to nest at a time when they are vulnerable to predators. Learn more about wood ducks.

Making wood duck nest boxes

New video about benefits of hunting

Benefits of hunting video

Every hunter has their why. For some, it’s the chance to learn about wildlife and their habitats. Or to spend time with someone special. Others see it as a way to provide healthy food for the table. And many hunters take pride in knowing they contribute to conservation through the purchase of licenses and permits and the Wildlife Restoration program. Check out this new video (and others) to see the role hunting plays for one Florida family.

Also, see our new YouTube shorts about treestand safety and the white-tailed deer rut.

Returned permits

If you’re interested in hunting a wildlife management area that requires a quota permit but you didn’t apply or weren’t drawn, you may want to check into returned permits. These are permits that hunters return because they can’t use them. They are included in weekly reissue drawings throughout the season. Log into your account at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com to view permit availability and apply.

Learn more about returning unused permits and how to apply for them.

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