Florida Hunting

Florida Hunting

Florida offers an abundance of opportunities for hunting enthusiasts, with a diverse range of games to pursue. From deer and turkeys to hogs and alligators, the state provides a thrilling experience for hunters. To ensure the preservation of its natural resources, Florida has implemented well-controlled hunting regulations and laws that hunters must adhere to while pursuing their game.

Florida Hunting Regulation

Hunting in Florida is carefully regulated, and hunters are required to comply with various regulations and laws to ensure responsible hunting practices. Some of the essential hunting regulations and requirements include:

Hunter Safety Requirements

If you were born after June 1, 1975, you must complete a hunter education course before purchasing a Florida hunting license. This education course is mandatory to participate in hunting activities without supervision. However, children under 16 years old can hunt under the supervision of a licensed hunter without completing the hunter education course.

Individuals aged 16 years or older who want to purchase a Florida hunting license without completing the education course, can obtain a deferral from the hunting course certificate. However, they can only hunt under the supervision of a licensed adult hunter who is at least 21 years old.

Game Taking Regulation

In Florida, “taking” refers to attempting to take, chase, harass, hunt, kill, or capture game, wildlife, or fish in any possible way, resulting in the possession of the hunted animals.

Taking of Game Mammals and Birds

Various hunting weapons are legal for taking game birds and mammals in Florida, including recurve bows, longbows, pistols, rifles, shotguns, compound bows, air guns, and crossbows. Bow weapons must have a minimum draw weight of 35 pounds, and handheld releases are allowed.

For deer and turkey hunting in Florida, arrows and bolts must be equipped with broadheads having a minimum of 2 sharp ends with widths of not less than 7 or 8 inches. Precharged Pneumatic air guns that discharge more than one bullet and arrows with less than .30 calibers for deer hunting and .20 calibers for turkey hunting are prohibited.

Prohibited Ways to Take Games and Wildlife in Florida

The state strictly prohibits hunting games with certain weapons and methods, such as centerfire semi-automatic rifles with an ammunition capacity of more than 5 rounds, non-expanding military ball ammunition for deer hunting, hunting with automatic firearms, and using certain air guns for deer and turkey hunting.

Additionally, hunting games with the help of artificial lights, chemicals, traps, snares, nets, drugs, live decoys, pre-recorded sounds and calls for games, and poisons are strictly prohibited.

Trespassing While Hunting

Hunters in Florida must obtain permission from landowners or management before hunting on private lands. Trespassing with a firearm or any hunting weapon is considered a felony and is punishable by a fine of about $5000 or a prison term of approximately 5 years, or both.

Florida Hunting License Permits and Tags

To participate in hunting activities legally, hunters in Florida must acquire the appropriate licenses, permits, and tags. The types of hunting licenses available in Florida include:

See also  Florida Constitutional Carry

Florida Residents Hunting License

  • Gold Sportsman’s License: This license includes various game permits for animals like deer, turkeys, waterfowl, and lobsters, and allows fishing in Florida saltwater and freshwater. It is available for one year at $100 or five years at $494.
  • Youth Gold Sportsman’s License: Available for residents aged 8 to 15, it grants the same benefits as the Gold Sportsman’s License until they turn 17. The cost is $100.
  • Military Gold Sportsman’s License: Available for retired or active members of the military, or those in the US armed forces or Florida National Guard, for $20.
  • Ordinary Sportsman’s License: This license includes a Turkey and waterfowl permit for Florida freshwater fishing, costing $80.5.
  • Silver Sportsman’s License for Older Residents: Available for Florida residents aged 64 or older, granting Turkey and Waterfowl permits and Florida freshwater fishing rights. It costs $13.5 for one year or $67.5 for five years.

Florida Annual Hunting License

  • Florida residents can purchase this license to take part in various hunting seasons, but they may require additional permits for specific games. It costs $17 for one year or $79 for five years.

Youth Hunting License

  • For youths between 8 and 15 years old who have completed a hunting safety certification. The license remains valid until they turn 17 and costs $17.

Hunting and Freshwater Fishing License

  • This license allows holders to hunt and fish in Florida freshwater at $32.5.

Hunting Saltwater and Freshwater Fishing License

  • Holders of this license can hunt and fish in Florida saltwater and freshwater at $48.

Disability Hunting and Fishing License

  • Provides disabled Florida residents with permission to hunt and fish in both saltwater and freshwater, with access to some game permits, at no cost.

Hunting and Fishing License for Elders

  • Available at no cost for Florida residents aged 65 or older, allowing hunting and fishing in the state.

Florida Non-Residents Hunting License

Non-residents can obtain hunting licenses for various periods:

  • Non-residents Annual Hunting License: This license allows non-residents to participate in Florida hunting seasons but may require additional game permits. It costs $151.5.
  • Non-residents 10-Day Hunting License: This short-term license is valid for 10 days of hunting in Florida and costs $46.5.

Florida Fishing License Permits and Tags

Florida offers a variety of fishing licenses, permits, and tags based on residency, type of water body, and age of the applicant. Some of the options include:

Residents Saltwater Fishing License

  • This license covers saltwater fishing from shorelines and watercraft in Florida and is available in three types: a one-year license for $17, a five-year license for $79, and a youth license for residents until they reach 17 years old, costing $17.

Nonresidents Saltwater Licenses

  • Nonresidents can choose from three types of saltwater licenses: a three-day license for $17, a seven-day license for $30, and a one-year license for $47.

Saltwater Permits and Tags for Residents and Nonresidents

  • Florida offers permits and tags for specific saltwater species, such as Snook, Spiny Lobster, Tarpon, and more, at varying costs.
See also  Florida Gun Laws

Residents Combination Licenses

  • Residents have two options for combination licenses: one for saltwater and freshwater fishing, costing $32.5, and one for saltwater and freshwater fishing along with annual hunting privileges, costing $48.

Florida Hunting Season 2020/2021

Florida’s hunting seasons vary depending on the game and weapon used. Some of the key hunting seasons for 2020/2021 include:

Florida Deer Hunting Seasons

  • Archery Season: August 1st to November 25th
  • Crossbow Season: August 1st to December 4th
  • Muzzleloader Season: September 5th to December 4th
  • Firearms Season: September 19th to February 21st

Hunters can use bows to hunt in all deer hunting seasons, and crossbows are allowed during the muzzleloading season.

Florida Turkey Hunting Season

  • Fall Archery Season: August 1st to November 25th
  • Fall Crossbow Season: August 1st to December 4th
  • Fall Muzzleloader Season: September 5th to December 4th
  • Fall Firearms Season: October 5th to January 31st
  • Spring General Season: March 6th to April 25th
  • Spring Youth Hunt Season: February 27th to February 28th in the south zone and March 13th to March 14th in the North Zone

Florida Small Games Hunting Season

  • Squirrel Hunting Season: October 10th to March 7th
  • Quail Hunting Season: November 14th to March 7th
  • Bobcat Hunting Season: December 1st to March 31st
  • Otter, Rabbit, Wild Hog, Raccoon, Opossum, Skunk, Nutria, Beaver, and Coyote Hunting Season: Allowed in open season

Please note that season dates may vary based on the four Florida hunting zones.

Florida Wildlife Games and Fish

Florida is home to various games and wildlife available for hunting, offering a diverse experience for hunters:

Florida Deer Hunting

Deer hunting in Florida is widespread, with an abundance of public lands hosting a large number of deer. In South Florida, bow hunting for whitetail deer is common. Some of the best wildlife management areas for deer hunting include JW Corbett WMA and Big Cypress WMA.

Florida Turkey Hunting

Wild turkeys inhabit the northern part of Florida and are known to interbreed with the Eastern species of turkeys. They prefer wooded and forested areas, making hunting a challenging and exciting experience.

Florida Hog Hunting

Hogs are found throughout Florida and can be hunted in various habitats, including freshwater marshes, pines, oak cabbage areas, and agricultural regions. Their abundance makes hog hunting a popular activity.

Florida Alligator Hunting

Alligator hunting takes place in habitats such as lakes, swamps, and marshes, with alligators evenly distributed across the state. Alligator hunting offers a thrilling and unique experience for hunters.

Florida Fox Hunting

Grey foxes are the common species in Florida, mainly inhabiting wooded areas in the northern region of the state. Fox hunting in Florida can be challenging due to their alertness and evasive behavior.

Florida Duck Hunting

Ducks prefer wetland regions and can be found in wildlife refuges. Shallow water bodies like ponds and lakes are their preferred habitats.

See also  Florida Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW)

Florida Quail Hunting

The Northern bobwhite quail is the most common species in Florida, inhabiting upland pines, scrubs, and flatwoods. Quail hunting offers a rewarding experience in the state.

Florida Wildlife Management Areas

Florida provides eight wildlife management areas where hunters can pursue their game:

  1. Chassahowitzka NWR
  2. Ten Thousand Islands NWR
  3. A.R.M. Loxahatchee NWR
  4. Lower Suwannee NWR
  5. Lake Woodruff NWR
  6. Merritt Island NWR
  7. St. Marks NWR
  8. St. Vincent NWR

Florida Hunting Land for Sale and Lease

For those interested in hunting on private lands, there are various hunting lands available for sale and lease throughout Florida. Some popular locations include Palm City, Monticello, Indiantown, and Callahan, offering a range of acreage for hunting enthusiasts.

Florida Hunting Outfitters

Guided hunts are popular in Florida, with outfitters offering packages for alligators, wild hogs, whitetail deer, osceola turkey, quail, doves, ducks, and other game. They provide access, guides, lodging, and gear.


Florida offers a wide array of hunting opportunities, with its well-controlled hunting regulations ensuring the preservation of its natural resources. From deer and turkeys to hogs and alligators, hunters can experience the thrill of pursuing various games in diverse habitats. Whether hunting on public lands or exploring private hunting lands for sale or lease, Florida promises an unforgettable hunting experience.


Q1: What is the minimum age for requiring a hunter education course in Florida?

If you were born after June 1, 1975, you must complete a hunter education course before purchasing a Florida hunting license.

Q2: What hunting weapons are legal for taking game birds and mammals in Florida? Legal hunting weapons include recurve bows, longbows, pistols, rifles, shotguns, compound bows, air guns, and crossbows.

Q3: What are the prohibited ways to take games and wildlife in Florida?

Prohibited methods include using certain firearms, air guns, arrows, explosive or drug-injecting arrows, hunting with artificial lights or chemicals, and taking turkeys from around 100 yards from their feeding stations.

Q4: What is the penalty for trespassing while hunting on private lands in Florida? Trespassing with a firearm or any hunting weapon on private lands is considered a felony and can be punished by a fine of about $5000 a prison term of approximately 5 years, or both.

Q5: What are you allowed to hunt in Florida?

Common legal game species include deer, wild boar, turkey, quail, rabbit, ducks, geese, mourning dove, snipe, railbirds, alligators, gray squirrel, and certain predators like coyotes and foxes.

Q6: Can I hunt on my land in Florida?

Yes, Florida has no statewide prohibitions on hunting one’s private property, provided all other applicable regulations and permitting requirements are followed. Some local ordinances may restrict discharge.

Q7: What are the different Florida residents hunting licenses available?

Florida residents can choose from licenses such as the Gold Sportsman’s License, Ordinary Sportsman’s License, and Silver Sportsman’s License for older residents, among others.

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