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Message from the FWC

Message from the FWC by Chairman Rodney Barreto

Expanded WMA system providing more hunting opportunity

We’re excited about the new wildlife management area in northwest Florida: Tate’s Hell – St. James Island Unit. The FWC, in cooperation with the area’s lead land manger, the Florida Forest Service, is offering hunting opportunities for deer, wild turkey, wild hog, migratory birds and small game on this 8,182-acre area in Franklin County.

This newest public hunting opportunity is another example of the FWC, and its cooperators, working to establish new WMAs and increase the number of acres at existing areas throughout the state. Including St. James Island Unit, Florida’s WMA system has grown by about 90,000 acres in just the past five years. We established eight new WMAs, which provide nearly 44,000 acres of additional hunting opportunity. In addition, the FWC added over 45,000 acres to existing WMAs throughout Florida in the past five years that also provide hunting opportunity.

Our WMA system — at over 6 million acres — is one of the largest in the country. Much of this system is managed or owned by government agencies other than the FWC or private landowners the FWC is partnering with. WMAs are managed for wildlife conservation and provide a diversity of habitats. They also offer a variety of recreational opportunities with hunting being one of the most popular activities. Some areas even offer shooting range facilities and camping.

Both new and existing WMAs provide a range of hunting opportunities including quota hunts, special-opportunity hunts and public hunting areas where a quota permit isn’t required to hunt. Depending on the area and time of year, hunters may pursue deer, wild turkey, waterfowl, wild hogs, dove, quail, gray squirrels and more.

We invite you to get started finding public hunting opportunities on Florida’s WMA system at

Wildlife Alert Reward Program

Help conserve our fish and wildlife resources and maintain public safety by reporting hunting, fishing or boating violations to the FWC.

Call 888-404-3922 or visit

The Wildlife Alert program provides financial rewards to concerned citizens when their information leads to citations or arrests for hunting, fishing or boating violations in Florida. Those reporting violations can remain anonymous!

Florida's CWD Watch

866-CWD-WATCH (293-9282)

Chronic wasting disease (CWD) is a contagious disease of the brain and central nervous system that is always fatal to members of the deer family. CWD has not been detected in Florida. You can help guard against CWD by reporting sick or abnormally thin deer or deer dead of unknown causes to the CWD hotline at 866-CWD-WATCH (866-293-9282).

Learn more at

Outdoor Weekend Learning Seminars

For youth, women and families!

Learn about fishing, hunting/shooting sports, paddle sports, and wildlife discovery at one of our weekend seminars! We provide the equipment, expert instruction, and a safe, hands-on learning environment.

Learn more at

Florida Buck Registry

The Florida Buck Registry recognizes hunters for taking quality deer in Florida. A minimum Boone and Crockett score of 100 for typical antlers and 125 for nontypical antlers is required for entry into the registry. For more information, visit

Florida Wild Turkey Registry

The Florida Wild Turkey Registry recognizes quality wild turkeys taken in Florida.

  • To qualify for an “Outstanding Gobbler Certificate,” the beard must be 11 inches or longer and both spurs must be 1¼ inches or longer.
  • A “First Gobbler Certificate” also is awarded to hunters under age 16 for harvesting their first gobbler, regardless of beard and spur measurements.

Applications are available at

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. Visit for more information about these requirements. Visit for more information on chronic wasting disease.

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