Message from the FWC
Message from the FWC by Chairman Rodney Barreto
We are lucky to live in a state that provides opportunities to hunt throughout the year and access to one of the largest wildlife management area systems in the country. As Chairman of the Commission that conserves fishing and hunting resources for this generation and the next, I take this role very seriously. I am proud to lead the charge toward providing even more outdoor recreational opportunities.
I’m excited to share we’re adding two new areas to Florida’s 6-million-acre WMA system: Orange Hammock WMA, a 5,777-acre area in Sarasota County, and Everglades Headwaters WMA, Kissimmee Bend Unit, a 5,305-acre area in Okeechobee County. Both areas will provide new deer, turkey and small game hunting opportunities in counties that currently have no public hunting options.
Florida’s WMAs are managed for conservation and recreation. Hunting is a mainstay on the WMA system and offered at most areas. Depending on the WMA and time of year, hunters can pursue deer, turkey, waterfowl, wild hogs, dove, quail, gray squirrels and more. These public areas also provide opportunities for fishing, wildlife viewing, paddling, hiking, horseback riding and bicycling. Some areas even offer shooting range facilities and camping.
Those interested in hunting FWC-managed lands have a variety of opportunities to choose from including quota hunts and special-opportunity hunts. These limited entry hunts, which are issued via random drawing, are designed to provide an array of hunting experiences while meeting conservation objectives. There also are public hunting areas where a quota permit is not required to hunt during part or all of an area’s season.
The FWC’s online WMA search tool, WMA Finder, helps users locate public hunting opportunities based on location, season, species and type of hunt. Once you find a WMA you’re interested in, review the regulations brochure for that particular area to understand season dates, bag limits, permit requirements and other rules. These rules can vary from one area to another and from statewide rules. Learn more about WMA Finder at MyFWC.com/WMAbrochures.
As we work to expand hunting opportunity on the WMA system, we look forward to working with you and hearing more about the issues that matter to you. There are many opportunities for you to submit your ideas for rule changes and provide input to the FWC during the rulemaking process for WMAs. The FWC hosts stakeholder workshops and online commenting tools to get your feedback. The public comment sections at our Commission meetings are another opportunity to provide input on key issues. For more information about how to participate, visit MyFWC.com and click on “About Us” and then “Rules and Regulations.” Find hunting information and resources at MyFWC.com/Hunting.