Veterans, active military and youth waterfowl hunting opportunities

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January 2023

FWC’s Hunting Hot Sheet

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

Waterfowl hunting opportunity for veterans and active military

Waterfowl hunting

To show our appreciation for veterans and active duty service members, the FWC offers Veterans and Active Military Waterfowl Hunting Days. This special waterfowl hunting weekend, which is part of Florida’s statewide seasons, occurs Feb. 4 - 5. The opportunity allows veterans and members of the Armed Forces on active duty ─ including members of the National Guard and Reserves ─ to hunt ducks, geese, mergansers, coots and common gallinules (moorhens).

Waterfowl hunting is permitted on private property with landowner permission and on any water body with public access, though, some public water bodies may be closed for specific reasons, such as being in a park or area where discharging firearms is prohibited. 

Wildlife management areas that offer duck hunting may have special permit requirements and restrictions on when and where you can hunt. It’s important to carefully review the WMA regulations brochure for the area you want to hunt for information about license and permit requirements, bag limits and other rules. Find more information about this opportunity including a list of WMAs available for hunting during Veterans and Active Military Waterfowl Days.

Youth waterfowl hunting day

Youth waterfowl hunting

Witnessing a wetland come to life at first light and watching ducks work a decoy spread are just a few reasons to take a young person duck hunting. You can provide those experiences during the FWC’s second Youth Waterfowl Hunting Day, which is Saturday, Feb. 11.

This opportunity allows youth 15-years-old and younger to hunt ducks, light geese, Canada geese, mergansers, coots and common gallinules (moorhens) while supervised by a nonhunting adult 18 years old or older. 

In addition to hunting on private property with landowner permission and on most waterbodies that have a public boating landing/launch, the FWC also offers youth hunts at the following areas: 

In addition, special events will be held at T.M. Goodwin, STA 1W, and Guana River - Lake Ponte Vedra hunt. These fun, family-oriented events include raffles, free food and great waterfowl hunting. For more information about the T.M. Goodwin PSGHA and STA-1W hunts, call 321-726-2862. For information on the Guana River - Lake Ponte Vedra hunt, call 904-825-6877.

Learn more about Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days.

Quail hunting at WMAs

Quail hunt

You can find quail hunting opportunities at wildlife management areas throughout the state. Four WMAs – Apalachicola, Blackwater, Jennings Forest and Three Lakes – include quail enhancement areas, which feature land management activities that benefit bobwhites. Visit to find January and February 2023 hunt dates at FWC’s quail enhancement areas.

Despite impacts from Hurricane Ian and Nicole, covey call counts indicate bobwhite populations remained stable (or even increased) on many WMAs in 2022, which supports the importance of land management activities. Favorable spring and summer weather also helped create good nesting and brood rearing conditions. These factors – habitat management and a good hatch – likely reduced the impacts from the hurricanes. Hunters can find success by concentrating on areas managed by prescribed fire, roller chopping or timber harvest.  

On lands outside of the WMA system, quail season runs statewide through March 5. Learn more about quail hunting.  

Snipe season in full swing

Is snipe hunting an undiscovered opportunity in Florida? This chunky looking migratory gamebird may not look fast, but when flushed, their wing speed can feel supersonic, challenging even the best wingshooters. Now is the time to get out and enjoy snipe hunting and Florida - one of the top states for hunting them – is the place. It’s a back-to-basics hunt that doesn’t require a lot of gear, just a shotgun and a good pair of boots that can stand up to tramping through wetlands. Snipe season runs through Feb. 15 on lands outside of the WMA system. Learn more about snipe hunting and find season dates and bag limits for migratory game birds.

Snipe hunting

There's still time to enter the CWD Monitoring Sweepstakes

Unite against CWD

You have through Jan. 31 to enter the CWD Monitoring Sweepstakes (though don’t forget Zone C’s general gun season runs through Jan. 22). To be eligible to win a prize package, donate the head of a white-tailed deer harvested from Taylor, Dixie, Lafayette, and Gilchrist Counties and that part of DeSoto County in Zone C, to be tested for chronic wasting disease. The fact there are five prize packages and deer heads are being accepted from only eight counties improves the chances of winning! 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.

Don't forget to submit your photos to FWC

Deer hunter

Share your photos and you might see them in our publications or website! We're looking for photos 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. Learn how to submit photos.

Photo courtesy of Glenn Whittington

Brush up on hunter safety with these new videos

Watch this new hunter safety video to learn how your "pointer finger" can play an important role in firearms safety!

Also, check out this short treestand safety tip video.

Hunter safety video

Hunting opportunities

The following season dates are for January/February on lands outside of the wildlife management area system. To find hunting opportunities on public lands, visit

Antlered Deer (antler regulations vary by DMU)

Zone B 

  • General gun runs through Feb. 19

Zone C 

  • General gun runs through Jan. 22

Zone D 

  • General gun: Second phase runs through 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,coot, light geese (snow, blue and Ross') and merganser (common, red-breasted and hooded) run through Jan. 29
  • Canada goose runs through Jan.  30
  • Dove: third phase runs through Jan. 31
  • Snipe season runs through Feb. 15

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

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 to view permit availability and apply.

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

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