Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975 must complete a hunter safety course before purchasing a hunting license enabling them to hunt without supervision. Children under age 16 may hunt with adult supervision without having to take a hunter safety course. Persons 16 and older who have not completed a hunter safety course can request a deferral from the hunter safety certification requirement when purchasing their hunting license. This enables them to purchase a license and hunt within the supervision of a mentoring adult who is at least 21 years old. Persons needing proof of course completion can print a duplicate certification card at MyFWC.com/HunterSafety.
Hunter safety course
Everyone born on or after June 1, 1975 must pass an approved hunter safety course before purchasing a Florida hunting license that enables you to hunt without adult supervision. To learn more about these and other programs, visit us at MyFWC.com/HunterSafety.
Hunter safety deferral
Anyone 16 years old or older and born after May 31, 1975 can purchase a hunting license and hunt under the supervision of a qualified hunter without having to complete the state’s hunter safety certification. When purchasing your hunting license, check the box requesting a deferral from the hunter safety certification requirement. Hunters requesting this deferral need to be supervised by an adult, 21 years old or older, who has a valid hunting license and has met the hunter safety requirement.
New and experienced hunters are encouraged to take a hunter safety course to learn more about conservation and safe, responsible hunting. In addition, successfully completing a hunter safety course is required before anyone 16 years old and older is allowed to hunt without being under the supervision of an adult 21 years old or older.
Minors Under 16 — Florida law
Anyone under 16 years of age can hunt with an air gun (air or gas-operated) or firearm only when supervised by a parent or an adult who is acting with consent of the minor’s parent or guardian.
See Section 790.22, Florida Statues for additional info.
Definition of take
The term shall include taking, attempting to take, pursuing, hunting, molesting, capturing, or killing any wildlife or freshwater fish, or their nests or eggs by any means whether or not such actions result in obtaining possession of such wildlife or freshwater fish or their nests or eggs.
Resident game birds and game mammals
Rifles, shotguns, pistols, air guns, longbows, compound bows, recurve bows, crossbows and birds of prey (falcons, hawks and great horned owls) may be used. Longbows, compound bows, recurve bows must have minimum draw weights of 35 pounds. Hand-held releases may be used. Arrows or bolts used to take deer or turkeys must be equipped with broadheads having at least two sharpened edges with minimum widths of 7/8 inch. Only pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air guns firing single bullets or bolts/arrows of at least .30-caliber and at least .20-caliber may be used to take deer and turkey, respectively. PCP air guns are commercially-manufactured air guns that are charged from an external high compression source, such as an air compressor, air tank or external hand pump and are specifically designed to propel a bolt, arrow or other projectile commonly used for hunting.
Hunting deer with a muzzleloader
Muzzleloading guns firing single bullets must be at least .30-caliber or larger. Muzzleloading guns firing two or more balls must be 20-gauge or larger.
- This document doesn’t address or advise persons as to local ordinances prohibiting the discharge of firearms or as to the validity of such ordinances.
- Centerfire semi-automatic rifles having magazine capacities of more than five rounds
- Nonexpanding full metal case (military ball) ammunition for taking deer
- Firearms using rimfire cartridges for taking deer
- Fully automatic firearms
- Air guns that are not pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air guns when taking deer or turkey
- PCP air guns firing single bullets that are less than .30-caliber and less than .20-caliber when taking deer and turkey, respectively
- Explosive or drug-injecting arrows
- Taking or attempting to take with live decoys, recorded game calls or sounds, set guns, artificial lights, nets, traps, snares, drugs or poisons
- Shooting from vehicles, powerboats or sailboats moving under power. Motors must be shut off or sails furled, and progress must cease from such motor or sail before taking game.
- Herding or driving game with vehicles, boats or aircraft (including drones)
- Hunting turkeys with dogs
- Taking turkeys while they are on the roost
- Taking turkeys when the hunter is within 100 yards of a game-feeding station when feed is present
- Taking spotted fawn deer or swimming deer
- Hunting game using bows with draw weights less than 35 pounds
- Using dogs without collars that identify the owners name and address
- Using dogs on private lands without written landowner permission (see Statewide registration below)
- Placing, exposing or distributing soporific, anesthetic, tranquilizer, hypnotic or similar drugs or chemicals; preparation by baits; or by other means where game birds or game animals may be affected
- Shooting or attempting to shoot or harass any bird, fish or other animal from aircraft (including drones), except as specifically authorized by a Federal or State issued license or permit
- Taking or attempting to take wildlife is illegal on, upon or from rights-of-way of federal, state or county-maintained roads, whether paved or otherwise, except reptiles and amphibians may be taken without the use of firearms and raptors may be taken per Rule 68A-9.005, F.A.C. Casting dogs from rights-of-way is considered attempting to take wildlife and constitutes violation of this regulation.
- Discharging firearms over paved public roads, rights-of-way, highways, streets or occupied premises is prohibited.
- Shooting or propelling potentially lethal projectiles over or across private land without authorization in order to take game is considered criminal trespassing and is a felony.
- Taking deer is prohibited by any method in the Florida Keys.
- Taking deer is illegal in that portion of Collier County lying south of S.R. 84 (I-75), west of S.R. 29, north of U.S. 41 and east of the western boundary of Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve.
- Hunting is prohibited on most sanctuaries and parks.
The possession of a hunting license does not authorize a person to trespass onto private land. Obtain landowner’s permission before entering private land. Trespassing while possessing a firearm or other dangerous weapon is a felony punishable by imprisonment up to five years and/or a fine of up to $5,000.
Use of firearms by felons
It is illegal in Florida for convicted felons to possess firearms, including muzzleloading guns, unless the convicted felon has had his/ her civil rights restored by the state’s Clemency Board or the firearm qualifies as an antique firearm under Florida Statute 790.001(1). Properly licensed convicted felons may hunt with bows, crossbows or antique firearms per Florida Statute 790 during hunting seasons when such devices are legal for taking game. The 2015 Florida Statutes Title XLVI, Section, 790.001(1) states “Antique firearm means any firearm manufactured in or before 1918 (including any matchlock, flintlock, percussion cap or similar early type of ignition system) or replica thereof, whether actually manufactured before or after the year 1918, and also any firearm using fixed ammunition manufactured in or before 1918, for which ammunition is no longer manufactured in the United States and is not readily available in the ordinary channels of commercial trade.” Convicted felons should be aware that being in a location where a firearm is present may constitute constructive possession of that firearm. Constructive possession occurs when the person knows about the firearm and is in a position to exert control over that firearm or where they have concealed the firearm. Possession may also be joint, that is, two or more persons may jointly possess a firearm, exercising control over it, each person is considered to be in possession.
Antlerless Deer Permit Program
Persons who own, lease or otherwise have written permission to take deer on properties of at least 640 contiguous acres, or not less than 150 contiguous acres if adjoining land with a current permit, may apply for antlerless deer permits and tags to authorize the harvest of a specific number of antlerless deer on the enrolled property during the established deer hunting season. A group with adjoining lands may apply together, provided the total combined acreage meets the acreage requirements. For more information, visit MyFWC.com/Deer.
On private property with landowner permission, wild hogs may be hunted year-round day or night without restriction (i.e., by all lawful methods with no bag/possession limits, no size limits and no licenses/permits required). They also may be trapped but cannot be transported alive without a Feral Swine Dealer Permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services by calling 850-410-0900. Wild hogs can only be taken on WMAs during specified seasons, where permit, method of take and bag limit requirements may apply. For more information on hunting wild hogs on WMAs, consult the specific WMA brochure for the area you want to hunt.
Shooting hours for resident game birds, crows and game mammals
One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset except when hunting turkeys during spring turkey season. Shooting hours during spring turkey season on private lands and most WMAs are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. On some WMAs, spring turkey shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to 1 p.m.
Hunter orange requirement
It is unlawful to hunt deer or to accompany another person hunting deer on public lands unless each person is wearing a minimum of 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent orange material as an outer garment. Such clothing must be worn above the waistline and can include a head covering. This rule does not apply during an archery-only season, or when hunting on private lands at any time.
Dogs may be used as an aid in taking game mammals and birds, wild hogs and furbearers, unless otherwise prohibited. Persons owning or using dogs shall not knowingly or negligently permit such dogs to trail, pursue or otherwise molest wildlife during closed seasons. When using archery equipment and muzzleloaders during their respective archery, crossbow and muzzleloading gun seasons, the taking of deer by the use or aid of dogs is prohibited. Dogs on leashes may be used to trail wounded game mammals during all seasons. Taking turkeys by aid of dogs at any time is prohibited. Hunters, who use dogs for hunting, including bird dogs or retrievers, are required to have their dogs wear collars that identify their owner’s name and address. This regulation also requires dog hunters to possess landowners’ written permission before using their dogs to pursue game, wild hogs or furbearers on private property. On private land rabbit, raccoon, opossum, skunk, nutria, beaver, coyote, wild hog, fox and bobcat may be chased throughout the year with free running dogs. For more information, contact an FWC regional office (see Message from the FWC).
Deer dogs: Deer dogs can be trained during closed seasons when dogs are constantly attached to leashes or ropes in the hands of their trainers for training purposes. Deer dogs are permitted to run free for training purposes only during deer-dog training seasons. Taking deer or any other wildlife with a gun is prohibited while training deer dogs.
Statewide deer-dog registration: Deer hunters using dogs on private properties in Florida must obtain a no-cost registration from the FWC. Registration requirements apply to the deer-dog training season and during any open deer hunting season when it is legal to take deer with dogs. Applications must be submitted no later than 30 days prior to the final day of general gun season in the hunting zone where the property is situated. To comply with the registration rule, deer-dog hunters on private lands must have registration numbers on their dogs’ collars; possess copies of the registration; and keep their dogs on registered properties. For more information and to apply go to MyFWC.com/Deer.
Bird dogs: On private lands during closed seasons, bird dogs may be trained with pistols firing blanks or balls or by taking pen-raised quail (with shotguns only), when birds have been banded with owners’ names prior to releasing them.
Fox dogs: Foxes cannot be killed, but may be chased year-round with dogs (see Furbearer regulations).
Taking game on lands or waters upon which corn, wheat, grain, food or other substances have been deposited by means other than normal agricultural harvesting or planting is prohibited, except as noted below.
- Non-migratory game may be hunted in proximity of year-round game-feeding stations on private lands, provided the feeding station has been maintained with feed for at least six months prior to taking game.
- Wild turkey may not be taken if the hunter is less than 100 yards from a game feeding station when feed is present.
- Placing, offering or allowing the placement of feed or garbage that is likely to create or creates a public nuisance by attracting bears is prohibited after receiving written notification from the FWC. The intentional feeding of bears is prohibited.
Buying or selling game
Selling or purchasing game is prohibited except for game produced on licensed game farms that is lawfully identified and handled. When lawfully taken, the feathers or skins of resident game birds or the skins of deer, squirrels, or rabbits may be sold.
Deer harvest reporting requirement
After harvesting a deer and prior to moving it from the point of harvest, all hunters must record the harvest in their harvest log and report it to the FWC’s harvest reporting system within 24 hours of harvest and prior to final processing of the deer, any parts of it being transferred to a meat processor or taxidermist, or the deer leaving the state. Hunters can obtain printable harvest logs and get more information on harvest reporting at MyFWC.com/HarvestReport. Harvest may be reported online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or through the Fish|Hunt FL mobile app. Hunters can also choose to report harvest by calling 888-HUNT-FLORIDA (486-8356) anytime day or night. Reporting is not complete until a confirmation number is given and recorded. An FWC Customer ID number is needed when reporting deer harvest and can be found by logging into a customer account or creating a new account at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.
Dividing deer and turkey in the field
Deer and turkeys may be dismembered in field or camp, however tags must be attached to each portion identifying names, addresses, FWC issued customer number of the persons who harvested them with date and location at which they were taken. These tags must be readily traceable to the portion of the animal bearing sex identification, head and, if applicable, beard.
Positive evidence of sex identification, including the head with any antler or antlers, shall remain on deer taken or killed within the state and on all turkeys taken during any gobbler season when taking of turkey hens is prohibited, so long as such deer or turkey is kept in the field or camp or is in route to the domicile of its possessor or until such deer or turkey has been cooked or stored at the domicile of its possessor.
Transport of game
- A person may transport the possession limit of lawfully taken game.
- A person may at any time possess mounted specimens of lawfully taken game, including the heads, antlers, hides/skins, feathers or feet.
- Lawfully taken game may be shipped by the person who took such game provided that each package shall be marked on the outside to show the names and addresses of both the shipper and the addressee, and the numbers and kinds of game contained therein.
What is legal to bring back when hunting out of state for deer, elk, moose or caribou
It is illegal to bring into Florida or possess whole carcasses or certain carcass parts of any species of the family Cervidae (deer, elk, moose, caribou) originating from anywhere outside of Florida, with limited exceptions. Visit MyFWC.com/Deer for more information, details and to follow updates on these requirements. Visit MyFWC.com/CWD for more information on chronic wasting disease.
All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and off-highway motorcycles (OHMs) purchased after July 1, 2002 must be titled with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. ATVs and OHMs must be titled when used for recreational purposes on lands within the state that are available for public use and that are owned, operated or managed by federal, state, county or municipal governmental entities. Applications for title may be made at county tax collectors’ offices.