Deer, elk and moose carcass transportation regulations
It is illegal for persons to bring into the state or possess carcasses of any species of the family Cervidae (deer, elk and moose) from 22 states and two Canadian provinces where CWD has been detected. These areas are: Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming and Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada. Visit www.cwd-info.org or MyFWC.com/CWD for a list of CWD positive states and provinces and further information. When hunting out of state, check that state’s current status for CWD. Hunters still can bring back de-boned meat from any CWD-affected region, as well as finished taxidermy mounts, hides, skulls, antlers and teeth as long as all soft tissue has been removed. Whole, bone-in carcasses and parts are permitted to be brought back into Florida if they were harvested from states not affected by CWD.
Importing live deer from out-of-state sources is prohibited. Non-native deer or farm-raised white-tailed deer may not be released into the wild under any circumstances.
On private property with landowner permission, wild hogs may be hunted year-round with no bag limits, size limits or license required. They also maybe 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 bag and size limits may apply. For more information on hunting wild hogs on WMAs, consult the specific WMA brochure for the area you want to hunt.
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 gun or bow 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 2005 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.
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 are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset and on WMAs, shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to 1 p.m.
Shooting hours for migratory game birds
One-half hour before sunrise to sunset, except during first phase of dove season in which shooting hours for doves are noon to sunset. For migratory game bird hunting regulations obtain the following brochures at your county tax collectors’ office or at MyFWC.com/Hunting: 2014–2015 Migratory Bird Regulations for Dove, Snipe, Woodcock, Rail, Moorhen, Crow and Early Waterfowl Seasons (available in mid-September) and 2014–2015 Migratory Game Bird Regulations for Waterfowl and Coot Seasons (available in mid-October).
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 archery season.
Dogs may be used as an aid in taking game mammals and game birds, 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 and hogs 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 on private property. On private land rabbit, raccoon, opossum, skunk, nutria, beaver, coyote, hog, fox and bobcat may be chased throughout the year with free running dogs. For more information, contact an FWC regional office.
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 (see Hunting Season Dates & Bag Limits). 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. Registration may be issued to landowners, hunting clubs or anyone having rights to hunt the property. Once a registration number has been issued, the unique number must be affixed or attached to collars of dogs used to hunt deer on registered properties. All persons participating in the hunt must possess copies of the registration while hunting. To comply with the 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. Applications may be submitted at MyFWC.com/Deer. 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.
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. Training bird dogs is permitted during specified periods on Fred C. Babcock/Cecil M. Webb, J.W. Corbett, Blackwater, Apalachicola, Point Washington, Twin Rivers Blue Springs Unit and Citrus WMAs.
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.
In addition to normal agricultural harvesting or planting methods, mourning and white-winged doves may be hunted over agricultural crops that have been harvested or manipulated and over natural vegetation that has been manipulated.
Buying or selling game
Selling or purchasing game is prohibited except for pen-raised game produced on licensed game farms that are lawfully identified and handled. When lawfully taken, the feathers or skins of non-protected or resident game birds or the skins of deer, squirrels, or rabbits may be sold.
Positive evidence of sex identification, including the head, 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 camp or forest or is enroute to the domicile of its possessor or until such deer or turkey has been cooked or stored at the domicile of its possessor.
Deer and turkeys may be dismembered in field or camp, however tags must be attached to each portion identifying names, addresses and hunting license numbers (if hunting licenses are required) 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. On some WMAs, deer and turkeys cannot be dismembered until checked at designated check stations.
Transport of game
It is unlawful for anyone to throw or dump trash or in any way litter highways, public lands and waters of the state or private properties.
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. In the South Region (Everglades, Rotenberger and Holey Land WMAs), taking wildlife from tracked vehicles not in compliance with Florida Administrative Code 68A-11.005 is prohibited. For more information, contact the South Region Office in West Palm Beach at 561-625-5122. See specific WMA brochures for additional information concerning motor vehicles.
Use of structures on vehicles
In the South Region (Everglades, Rotenberger and Holey Land WMAs), taking wildlife is prohibited from conveyances having a structure capable of bearing the weight of a person if that structure is more than eight feet wide and more than 12 feet from the ground excluding antennas and tops used for shade.
Using tree stands to take wildlife is permitted. Driving any metal object such as nails, screws or spikes into trees on WMAs is prohibited.
Waterfowl hunting is prohibited from or within 30 yards of any permanent blind on lakes Miccosukee, Iamonia, Jackson and Carr Lake in Leon and Jefferson counties. A permanent blind is defined as anything that provides shelter, cover or place of concealment for a person but does not include any rooted vegetation or a shelter, cover or place of concealment remaining in place only while the person is present. For additional information, visit MyFWC.com/Duck.
Florida’s CWD watch
Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a progressive fatal disease of the brain and nervous system in deer. The FWC has not found CWD in or near Florida but we must continue to be vigilant. If you find a deer dead of unknown causes or observe or harvest a deer that is extremely thin, sick, or diseased immediately contact the FWC at 866-CWD-Watch (866-293-9282). For more information about CWD, visit MyFWC.com/CWD.
Diseases in wild hogs
Many wild hogs in Florida carry swine brucellosis—a bacterial disease that also is infectious to people and dogs. People handling wild hog carcasses or raw hog meat should avoid eating, drinking or using tobacco when field-dressing or handling carcasses and use latex or rubber gloves when handling the carcass or raw meat. Gloves are especially important when handling blood, reproductive organs and fecal matter to prevent infection through cuts or open wounds. Eye protection should be used when there is a possibility of splashing. Clean and disinfect knives, cleaning area, clothing and any other exposed surfaces when finished; and wash hands thoroughly with soap and water. Only healthy appearing hogs should be used for human consumption, and meat from wild hogs and other wild game should always be thoroughly cooked before eating. Wild hogs also may carry pseudorabies. Although not a risk to people, the virus can be deadly to dogs that are exposed to it. For more information on swine brucellosis and pseudorabies, go to http://myfwc.com/wildlifehabitats/health-disease. For more information about Brucella and other animal diseases that can cause illness in people and dogs, please call your county health department or visit the Florida Department of Health’s website at: http://myfloridaeh.com/medicine/arboviral/Zoonoses/Zoonotic-index.html.
Regulations in red are new this year.
Purple text indicates an important note.