Econfina Creek Wildlife Management Area

Regulations Summary and Area Map
July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015

Brochure Adobe PDF | Map Only Adobe PDF

This brochure is designed to provide the public with information and a summary of regulations pertaining to hunting and other recreational use on the Econfina Creek Wildlife Management Area. Regulations that are new or differ substantially from last year are shown in bold print. Area users should familiarize themselves with all regulations. For exact wording of the wildlife laws and regulations, see the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s wildlife code, on file with the Secretary of State and state libraries. This brochure, the Florida Hunting Regulations handbook, and quota permit worksheets should provide the information necessary for you to plan your hunting activities. These publications are available from any Commission office, county tax collector and at MyFWC.com.

Persons using wildlife management areas are required to have appropriate licenses, permits and stamps. The following persons are exempt from all license and permit requirements (except for quota permits when listed as “no exemptions”, recreational use permits, antlerless deer permits and the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp [federal duck stamp]): Florida residents who are 65 years of age or older; residents who possess a Florida Resident Disabled Person Hunting and Fishing Certificate; residents in the U.S. Armed Forces, not stationed in Florida, while home on leave for 30 days or less, upon submission of orders; and children under 16 years of age. Children under 16 years of age are exempt from the duck stamp. Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975 and 16 years of age or older must have passed a Commission-approved hunter-safety course prior to being issued a hunting license, except the Hunter Safety Mentoring exemption allows anyone to purchase a hunting license and hunt under the supervision of a licensed hunter, 21 years of age or older.

Licenses and permits may be purchased from county tax collectors, license agents, at MyFWC.com/license or by telephone at 888-486-8356. A no-cost Migratory Bird Permit is available when purchasing a hunting license. Any waterfowl hunter 16 years of age or older must possess a federal duck stamp; available where hunting licenses are sold, at most post offices or at DuckStamp.com External Website. Mobility-impaired certificate applications are available from regional offices of the Commission and at MyFWC.com.

Quota Permit Information:

Archery (Cat Creek area) - 30, no-cost, quota permits for each of 2 hunts.
Archery (Fitzhugh Carter area) - 15, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions) for each of 2 hunts.
Muzzleloading Gun (Cat Creek area) - 30, no-cost, quota permits.
Muzzleloading Gun (Fitzhugh Carter area) - 15, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions).
General Gun (still hunt area, first 13 days) - 50, no-cost, quota permits.
General Gun (dog hunt area) - 80, no-cost, quota permits.
General Gun (Cat Creek area) - 30, no-cost, quota permits for each of 3 hunts.
General Gun (Fitzhugh Carter area) - 15, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions) for each of 3 hunts.
Mobility-impaired General Gun - 20, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions) for each of 5 hunts.
Youth Turkey (still hunt and dog hunt areas) - 10, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions).
Youth Turkey (Cat Creek area) - 3, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions).
Youth Turkey (Fitzhugh Carter area) - 3, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions).
Spring Turkey (still hunt and dog hunt areas, first 9 days) - 25, no-cost, quota permits.
Spring Turkey (Cat Creek area) - 5, no-cost, quota permits for each of 3 hunts.
Spring Turkey (Fitzhugh Carter area) - 5, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions) for each of 3 hunts.

Permit applications: Hunters must submit electronic applications for quota and special-opportunity permits through the Commission’s Recreational License Issuance Services (RLIS). Worksheets listing hunts, application periods, deadlines and instructions are available at county tax collector’s offices, FWC offices or MyFWC.com. Quota application periods occur throughout the year beginning April 1; please refer to the hunting handbook or MyFWC.com for specific dates. Worksheets will be available about 2 weeks prior to each application period.

Guest hunters: For each non-transferable archery, muzzleloading gun, general gun, wild hog, spring turkey and mobility-impaired quota permit issued through the Commission’s RLIS, a quota permit holder (host) may take a guest hunter by obtaining a guest permit. Guest hunters are not allowed during youth turkey hunts. A guest hunter must possess a completed guest permit while hunting except the following persons may be a guest hunter without a guest permit: a youth under 16 years of age, a youth supervisor, a mentor license holder or a mentor license supervisor. A host may only bring 1 guest hunter at a time and may only use 1 guest permit per day. The following persons are not considered to be guest hunters: other quota permit holders, non-hunters and exempt hunters (on areas and during seasons that allow exemptions). The host must share the bag limit with the guest hunter and the host is responsible for violations that exceed the bag limit. The guest hunter and host must enter and exit the area together and must share a street-legal vehicle while hunting on the area. The guest hunter may hunt only while the host is on the area. Refer to the quota hunt worksheets for additional information.

Youth and mentor license holders: A youth hunter (less than 16 years of age) must be supervised by a person at least 18 years of age. A mentor license holder must be supervised by a licensed hunter at least 21 years of age. Unless exempt, only those supervisors with proper licenses and permits may hunt. If the supervisor is hunting during any hunt for which quota permits are issued, at least 1 person in the party must be in possession of a quota permit. During a hunt that allows exemptions, a non-exempt supervisor of a youth must have a quota permit to hunt. A non-hunting supervisor is allowed to accompany a youth or mentor license holder during any hunt.

Assistant for mobility-impaired hunters: Mobility-impaired hunters may be accompanied by a guest hunter, as specified above, and 1 non-hunting assistant that may participate in the hunt (no license required), but the assistant may not harvest wildlife with archery equipment or a gun.

Transfer of permits: Quota and guest permits are not transferable. A positive form of identification is required when using a non-transferable permit, except for youth under 16 years of age. The sale or purchase of any quota permit or guest permit is prohibited.

General Area Regulations:

All general laws and regulations relating to wildlife and fish shall apply unless specifically exempted for this area. Hunting or the taking of wildlife or fish on this area shall be allowed only during the open seasons and in accordance with the following regulations:

  1. Any person hunting deer or accompanying another person hunting deer shall wear at least 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent-orange material as an outer garment, above the waistline. These provisions are not required when hunting with a bow and arrow during archery season.
  2. Taking of spotted fawn, swimming deer or roosted turkey is prohibited. Species legal to hunt are listed under each season.
  3. It is illegal to hunt over bait or place any bait or other food for wildlife on this area.
  4. Driving a metal object into any tree, or hunting from a tree into which a metal object has been driven, is prohibited.
  5. No person shall cut, damage or remove any natural, man-made or cultural resource without written authorization of the landowner or primary land manager.
  6. Taking or attempting to take any game with the aid of live decoys, recorded game calls or sounds, set guns, artificial light, net, trap, snare, drug or poison is prohibited.Recorded calls and sounds can be used to hunt furbearers, wild hog and crows.
  7. The wanton and willful waste of wildlife is prohibited.
  8. Hunting, fishing or trapping is prohibited on any portion of the area posted as closed to those activities.
  9. People, dogs, vehicles and other recreational equipment are prohibited in areas posted as “Closed to Public Access” by FWC administrative action.
  10. Taking or herding wildlife from any motorized vehicle, aircraft or boat, which is under power is prohibited until power, and movement from that power, has ceased.
  11. Most game may be hunted from ½ hour before sunrise until ½ hour after sunset (see exceptions for each season).
  12. The release of any animal is prohibited, without written authorization of the landowner or primary land manager.
  13. The head and evidence of sex may not be removed from the carcass of any deer or turkey on the area.
  14. The planting or introduction of any non-native plant is prohibited, without written authorization of the landowner or primary land manager.
  15. Wild hog may not be transported alive.
  16. A hunting license is not required for the take of wild hog.
  17. Littering is prohibited.
  18. It is unlawful to set fire to any forest, grass or woodlands.
  19. A Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Law Enforcement Officer may search any camp, vehicle or boat in accordance with law.
  20. Falconers may hunt during the statewide falconry season anytime a management area is open for public access. Falconers are not exempt from quota permits during hunts requiring them.
  21. The possession or consumption of intoxicating beverages is prohibited.

Public Access And Vehicles:

  1. Open to public recreational access year round.
  2. All persons entering or exiting the Fitzhugh Carter area may do so only at a designated entrance (see map).
  3. Vehicles may be operated only on named or numbered roads, except in the mobility-impaired area. During periods open to hunting in the mobility-impaired area, vehicles are not restricted to named or numbered roads, but only persons participating in the hunt are allowed vehicular access.
  4. During periods closed to hunting, vehicular access is prohibited on dog roads 1-8, 10, 13-17, 19-28 and 33-37, Enfinger Road and numbered roads in the mobility-impaired area. Detailed maps of dog roads and the mobility-impaired area are available at nwfwmd/recreation/econfinacreek.html.
  5. Parked vehicles may not obstruct a road, gate or firelane.
  6. No motor vehicle shall be operated on any part of any wildlife management area that has been designated as closed to vehicular traffic.
  7. The use of all-terrain vehicles is prohibited except in the mobility-impaired area by persons possessing mobility-impaired certificates.
  8. Horses are allowed on designated horse trails only; horses and the use of bicycles are prohibited in the Fitzhugh Carter area.
  9. A marked footpath called the Florida National Scenic Trail (Florida Trail) traverses the area. This trail is open to hikers throughout the year.

Hunters And Check Stations:

  1. Hunters using the Fitzhugh Carter area must check in at the check station when entering and check out when leaving and check all game harvested.
  2. Hunting equipment may not be taken onto the WMA until after 8 a.m. the day before the opening of a season and shall be removed by 6 p.m. 1 day after the end of the season.

Guns:

  1. Hunting with a gun or archery equipment on or from rights-of-way of Thomas, Rattlesnake, Strickland, Porter Pond, Duma Jack/Deadening, Greenhead, Cat Creek and Enfinger roads, Hampshire Boulevard, S.R. 20 or C.R. 388 is prohibited.
  2. Hunting at night with a gun is prohibited (see exception for the raccoon season).
  3. Muzzleloading guns used for taking deer must be .40 caliber or larger if firing a single bullet, or be 20 gauge or larger if firing 2 or more balls.
  4. Hunting deer with rimfire or non-expanding, full metal jacket (military ball) ammunition is prohibited.
  5. Air guns may be used to hunt gray squirrel and rabbits only during small game and general gun hunts. Refer to specific seasons for areas and dates.
  6. Children under the age of 16 hunting with a firearm or air gun must be in the presence of a supervising adult.
  7. No person shall discharge a firearm or have a loaded firearm in hand while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  8. For hunting non-migratory game, only shotguns, rifles, pistols, bows, crossbows or falconry may be used. Hunting during the spring turkey season with firearms other than shotguns or using a shot size larger than #2 is prohibited.
  9. For hunting migratory game, only shotguns, bows, crossbows or falconry may be used. Shotguns shall not be larger than 10 gauge and shall be incapable of holding more than 3 shells in the magazine and chamber combined.
  10. Hunting with full automatic or silencer-equipped firearms, centerfire semi-automatic rifles having a magazine capable of holding more than 5 rounds, explosive or drug-injecting devices and set guns is prohibited.
  11. The discharge of a firearm outside of periods open to hunting or in areas closed to hunting is prohibited per s. 790.15 FS.

Dogs:

  1. Hunting with dogs, other than bird dogs or retrievers, is prohibited in the designated still hunt, Cat Creek, Fitzhugh Carter and mobility-impaired areas; however, dogs may be used to hunt raccoons (except in the mobility-impaired, Cat Creek and Fitzhugh Carter areas).
  2. No person shall allow any dog to pursue or molest any wildlife during any period in which the taking of wildlife by the use of dogs is prohibited.
  3. Dogs on leashes may be used for trailing wounded game.
  4. For purposes other than hunting, dogs are allowed, but must be kept under physical restraint at all times.

Camping:

Camping is allowed only at designated campsites (see map).  A permit from the Northwest Florida Water Management District (NWFWMD) is required and camping is subject to permit provisions.  For more information about camping on NWFWMD property, please visit www.nwfwater.com or call (850) 539-5999.

Bag And Possession Limits:

A guest hunter must share the host’s bag limit. No person shall exceed statewide bag limits.

  1. Deer - Daily limit 2, possession limit 4. In the mobility-impaired area, antlerless deer may be hunted by mobility-impaired hunters only (limit 2 per quota permit; daily limit 1).
  2. Wild hog - No size or bag limit.
  3. Turkey - Daily limit 1, except the youth turkey limit is 1 per quota permit; season limit 2, possession limit 2.
  4. Gray squirrel, quail and rabbit - Daily limit 12, possession limit 24 for each.
  5. Raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk and nutria - No bag limits.
  6. Bobcat and otter - Possession limit 1 unless in possession of a Trapping License.
  7. Migratory birds - See Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations pamphlet.

Archery Season:

October 25 through November 23 (except in the Cat Creek, Fitzhugh Carter and mobility-impaired areas).

October 25-31 and November 1-9 (Cat Creek and Fitzhugh Carter areas).

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit (if hunting in the Cat Creek or Fitzhugh Carter areas), hunting license, management area permit, archery permit, deer permit (if hunting deer),wild turkey permit (if hunting wild turkey) and migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds).

Legal to Hunt - Deer with at least 1 antler having 2 or more points (each point 1-inch or more in length) and having at least 1 antler 5-inches or more in length, antlerless deer (which includes does and bucks with antlers less than 5 inches in length, but not spotted fawn), wild hog, turkey of either sex, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria and migratory birds in season.

Regulations Unique to Archery Season -

  1. Youth 15 years of age and under may harvest antlered deer with at least 1 antler 5 inches or more in length.
  2. Hunting with guns or crossbows (except by disabled crossbow permit) is prohibited except as allowed during other open seasons.
  3. Hunting is prohibited in the mobility-impaired area.

Small Game Season:

November 8 through March 1 (except in the Cat Creek, Fitzhugh Carter and mobility-impaired areas).

December 13-28 (Cat Creek and Fitzhugh Carter areas).

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit (if hunting during any quota period), hunting license, management area permit, migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds) and state waterfowl permit and federal duck stamp (if hunting waterfowl).

Legal to Hunt - Wild hog, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria and migratory birds in season. Bobcat and otter (except in the Fitzhugh Carter area) December 1 through March 1.

Regulations Unique to Small Game Season -

  1. Hunting with centerfire rifles is prohibited, except during general gun season.
  2. Hunting is prohibited in the mobility-impaired area.

General Gun Season:

November 27-30 and December 13 through February 4 (except in the Cat Creek, Fitzhugh Carter and mobility-impaired areas).

November 27-30, January 24-27 and January 28 through February 1 (Cat Creek and Fitzhugh Carter areas).

November 28-30, January 16-18, 23-25, January 30 through February 1 and February 4-6 (mobility-impaired area).

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit (if hunting in the Cat Creek, Fitzhugh Carter, mobility-impaired or dog hunt areas and if hunting before December 22 in the still hunt area), hunting license, management area permit, deer permit (if hunting deer),migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds) and state waterfowl permit and federal duck stamp (if hunting waterfowl).

Legal to Hunt - Deer with at least 1 antler having 2 or more points (each point 1-inch or more in length) and having at least 1 antler 5-inches or more in length, antlerless deer (which includes does and bucks with antlers less than 5 inches in length, but not spotted fawns) in the mobility-impaired area by mobility-impaired hunters only, wild hog, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria and migratory birds in season. Bobcat and otter (except in the Fitzhugh Carter area) beginning December 1.

Regulations Unique to General Gun Season -

  1. Youth 15 years of age and under may harvest antlered deer with at least 1 antler 5 inches or more in length.
  2. Only mobility-impaired hunters may take antlerless deer (limit 2 per quota permit; daily limit 1).
  3. A quota permit is not required to take raccoon in the still hunt and dog hunt areas from 1 hour after sunset until 1 hour before sunrise.

Muzzleloading Gun Season:

December 6-8 (except in the mobility-impaired area).

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit (if hunting in the Cat Creek or Fitzhugh Carter areas), hunting license, management area permit, muzzleloading gun permit, deer permit (if hunting deer) andmigratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds).

Legal to Hunt - Deer with at least 1 antler having 2 or more points (each point 1-inch or more in length) and having at least 1 antler 5-inches or more in length, wild hog, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria, bobcat, otter and migratory birds in season. Hunting bobcat and otter is prohibited in the Fitzhugh Carter area.

Regulations Unique to Muzzleloading Gun Season -

  1. Youth 15 years of age and under may harvest antlered deer with at least 1 antler 5 inches or more in length.
  2. Hunting with archery equipment or guns, other than muzzleloading guns, is prohibited except as allowed during other open seasons.
  3. Hunting is prohibited in the mobility-impaired area.

Archery/Muzzleloading Gun Season:

February 5-15 (except in the Cat Creek, Fitzhugh Carter and mobility-impaired areas).

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Hunting license, management area permit, archery permit (if hunting with archery equipment), muzzleloading gun permit (if hunting with a muzzleloading gun), deer permit (if hunting deer) and migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds).

Legal to Hunt - Deer with at least 1 antler having 2 or more points (each point 1-inch or more in length) and having at least 1 antler 5-inches or more in length, wild hog, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria, bobcat, otter and migratory birds in season.

Regulations Unique to Archery/Muzzleloading Gun Season -

  1. Youth 15 years of age and under may harvest antlered deer with at least 1 antler 5 inches or more in length.
  2. Hunting with crossbows (except by disabled crossbow permit) or guns (except muzzleloading guns) is prohibited except as allowed during other open seasons.

Spring Turkey Season:

Youth Turkey: March 14-15 (except in the mobility-impaired area).

Spring Turkey: March 21 through April 26 (except in the Cat Creek, Fitzhugh Carter and mobility-impaired areas).

March 21-23, April 3-5 and 17-19 (Cat Creek and Fitzhugh Carter areas).

March 21-22, 27-29, April 3-5, 10-12, 17-19 and 24-26 (mobility-impaired area).

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit (if hunting in the Cat Creek or Fitzhugh Carter areas or before March 30 in the remainder of the area), mobility-impaired certificate (if hunting in the mobility-impaired area unless accompanying a person possessing a mobility-impaired certificate), hunting license, management area permit and wild turkey permit.

Legal to Hunt - Bearded turkey or gobbler.

Regulations Unique to Spring Turkey Season -

  1. Legal shooting hours are ½ hour before sunrise until 1 p.m.
  2. Hunting other animals is prohibited.
  3. Hunting with firearms other than shotguns or using a shot size larger than #2 is prohibited.
  4. During the youth turkey hunt, only youth under 16 years of age may hunt and must be under the supervision and in the presence of an adult not younger than 18 years of age. Adults with required licenses and permits for taking wild turkeys may participate when in the presence of a youth, but may not harvest a wild turkey.

Raccoon Season:

November 8 through March 13 and April 27 through July 31 (except in the Cat Creek, Fitzhugh Carter and mobility-impaired areas).

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit (if hunting from 1 hour before sunrise until 1 hour after sunsetduringquota hunt periods of the general gun season), hunting license and management area permit.

Legal to Hunt - Raccoon.

Regulations Unique to Raccoon Season - Raccoon may be taken at night by the aid of a light and dogs, with .22 rimfire firearms other than .22 magnum, or with a single-shot .410 gauge shotgun using shot no larger than No. 6. The hunting of raccoon by display or use of a light from a moving vehicle, boat or animal is prohibited.

Trapping:

Prohibited.

Migratory Bird Seasons:

Rails, common moorhen, mourning dove, white-winged dove, snipe, ducks, geese, coot, woodcock and crows may be hunted during seasons established by the Commission for these species except in the Cat Creek, Fitzhugh Carter and mobility-impaired areas, where these species may be hunted only during seasons that coincide with the archery, muzzleloading gun, general gun or small game seasons. Waterfowl may be hunted on the Fitzhugh Carter area during the special September duck season.

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit (if hunting during any quota period), mobility-impaired certificate (if hunting in the mobility-impaired area unless accompanying a person possessing a mobility-impaired certificate), hunting license, management area permit, migratory bird permit and state waterfowl permit and federal duck stamp (if hunting waterfowl).

Legal to Hunt - See Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations pamphlet.

Regulations Unique to Migratory Bird Seasons - All Migratory Bird Regulations shall apply.

  1. Hunting ducks, geese and coot with lead shot is prohibited
  2. Centerfire shotguns are allowed for hunting during established area seasons when 1 or more migratory birds are legal to take.

Fishing And Frogging:

Allowed year round (except in the Fitzhugh Carter area - refer to the Fitzhugh Carter Tract brochure at MyFWC.com for specific regulations or call 850-265-3676 [TDD 800-955-8771] for a copy of this brochure).

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Fishing license (not required when frogging).

Legal to Take - See Florida Freshwater Fishing Regulations Summary.

Regulations Unique to Fishing and Frogging - All General Freshwater Fishing Regulations shall apply.

  1. Anglers must check in at the check station when entering and check out when leaving the Fitzhugh Carter area and shall check all fish taken.
  2. On all Fitzhugh Carter area lakes and other water bodies, fishing is allowed only by permit issued by the Commission. Days and hours of operation, fish bag and size limits, angler quotas and other related rules shall be as designated by the Commission and posted at the check station.
  3. Shooting frogs is allowed only during the listed open hunting seasons and only with the legal methods of take during each particular season.

General Information:

  1. Information for persons with disabilities can be found at MyFWC.com/ADA.
  2. If you have any questions about this material, please call the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 850-265-3676 (TDD 800-955-8771).
  3. The FWC is not responsible for protection of personal property and will not be liable for theft of or damage to personal property.
  4. Please report the location of any sick or extremely skinny deer to the Chronic Wasting Disease hotline, toll free at 866-293-9282.

Northwest Florida WMD Rules And Information:

  1. This land was acquired by the Northwest Florida Water Management District (District) to protect public water resources. The purpose of the District's land acquisition and management program is to conserve and protect unique and irreplaceable land and water resources, restore areas to their original condition as much as possible and allow controlled multiple recreational and educational uses consistent with this purpose.
  2. Recreation maps of the area are available at nwfwmd.state.fl.us/recreation/econfinacreek.html.
  3. The District’s land management activities for this area may include prescribed burning and timber harvesting during most months of the year. For personal safety reasons, area users should be aware of activities in the area and contact the District's Land Management office at 850-539-5999 with any questions. The District has no responsibility or obligation to identify and/or protect personal property while undertaking its land management activities.

Cooperation Requested:

If you see law violators or suspicious activities, contact your nearest Commission regional office or call 888-404-FWCC. You may qualify for a cash reward from the Wildlife Alert Reward Association.

The U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in any program, activity or facility as described above, or if you desire further information, please write to: The Office for Human Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. 20240. The project described in this publication is part of a program funded by federal dollars under the Wildlife Restoration Act. Federal funds pay or 20 percent of the cost of the program.



FWC Facts:
The FWC is lead manager or landowner on about 1.1 million acres of Florida's Wildlife Management Area (WMA) system. More than 5.8 million acres of land are open for public hunting.

Learn More at AskFWC