Taking game

Legal methods of taking resident game

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, 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. Air guns may be used to take deer, turkey, gray squirrel and rabbit. 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 .40-caliber or larger. Muzzleloading guns firing two or more balls must be 20-gauge or larger.

Prohibited methods and equipment for taking game mammals and resident game birds

  • 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 except when taking deer, turkey, gray squirrel and rabbit
  • 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.
  • 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 with bows equipped with electronic computational (rangefinder) or light projection (laser) sights or aiming devices during archery season.
  • 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 deerdog registration on page 16).
  • 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, except as specifically authorized by a Federal or State issued license or permit.

Areas closed to hunting

  • 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.


FWC Facts:
Adult male black bears in Florida normally weigh between 250 and 400 pounds, with adult females normally weighing between 125 and 250 pounds.

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