Legal methods of taking game
Definition of “taking” wildlife: Taking is defined to include taking, attempting to take, pursuing, hunting, harassing, capturing or killing any wildlife.
Resident game birds and mammals: Rifles, shotguns, pistols, longbows, compound bows, recurve bows, crossbows and birds of prey (falcons, hawks and great horned owls) may be used. Longbows, compound bows, recurve bows and crossbows must have minimum draw weights of 35 pounds. Hand-held releases may be used. Arrows used to take deer, turkeys or hogs must be equipped with broadheads having at least two sharpened edges with minimum widths of 7/8 inch. Nonmigratory game can be taken from stationary vehicles.
Hunting deer with a muzzleloader: Muzzleloading guns firing single bullets must be at least .40-caliber. Muzzleloading guns firing two or more balls must be 20-gauge or larger.
Migratory game birds: Shotguns (not larger than 10-gauge) plugged to a three-shell capacity including a one-piece filler that cannot be removed without disassembling the gun and are incapable of holding more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined, birds of prey, bows and crossbows may be used.
Prohibited methods and equipment for taking game
- 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
- Rifles or pistols for taking migratory game birds
- Fully automatic or silencer-equipped firearms
- Explosive or drug-injecting arrows
- Taking or attempting to take game 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 the vessel’s progress must cease from such motor or sail before hunters may shoot wildlife.
- Herding or driving wildlife with vehicles, boats or aircraft
- Hunting turkeys with dogs
- Shooting turkeys while they are on the roost
- Taking migratory game birds over baited areas
- Taking turkeys over baited areas
- 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 with bows equipped with sights or aiming devices with electronic computational capabilities or light projection (laser) features during archery season
- Hunting resident game using bows and crossbows 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 deer-dog registration on page 21)
- Taking game with modern firearms while hunting during archery, crossbow and muzzleloading gun season
- 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, unless authorized by permit from the FWC executive director
Areas closed to hunting
- Persons should be aware of and adhere to any local ordinances that prohibit the discharge of firearms.
- 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. Casting dogs from rights-of-way is considered attempting to take wildlife and constitutes violation of this regulation. The exception to this rule is amphibians or reptiles may be taken without the use of firearms from the above mentioned rights-of-way.
- 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 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.
Antlerless deer permits — private lands
An antlerless deer permit is required to take antlerless deer on private lands during the crossbow, muzzleloading gun and general gun seasons in accordance with the following conditions:
- A person who owns, leases or has written permission to take antlerless deer on at least 640 acres or not less than 150 acres, if the property is adjoining land already receiving antlerless deer permits, may apply for permits. A group with adjoining lands also may apply together provided the total combined acreage is at least 640 acres.
- Applications must be submitted no later than 30 days prior to the final day of general gun season in the hunting zone that the property is situated. Antlerless deer permit applications may be submitted at MyFWC.com/Hunting.