Babcock Ranch Preserve

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 Babcock Ranch Preserve. 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 Babcock Ranch Preserve 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 federal 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 www.duckstamp.com External Website.

Quota Permit Information:

Archery - 40, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions) for each of 2 hunts.
Muzzleloading Gun - 40, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions).
Family Hunt - 30, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions) for each of 2 hunts.
General Gun - 40, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions) for each of 3 hunts.
General Gun Mobility-impaired - 25, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions).
Spring Turkey - 15, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions) for each of 2 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 family 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. 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 a 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 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.

Public Access and Vehicles:

  1. Except as authorized below for hunting purposes, public recreational use of this property is administered by Babcock Ranch Management, LLC.  Visit babcockranchpreserve.org for additional information. Recreational access is allowed at the Footprints Trail and Ecotour Trail entrances (see map).
  2. This area is a working ranch with ongoing cattle, timber and farming operations. Please be respectful of ranch staff, be aware and cautious of cattle, and leave all gates in the same position you find them.
  3. Public access during the open hunting seasons is allowed only by individuals participating in a hunt and only within the designated hunting area (see “FWC Hunting Area” on the map).
  4. On hunting days, access is allowed but only from 1½ hours before sunrise until 1½ hours after sunset.
  5. Persons participating in a hunt, except small game hunts, are allowed access for scouting from 8 a.m. to sunset 1 day prior to their hunts.
  6. The use of tracked vehicles, airboats, all-terrain vehicles, swamp buggies and unlicensed and unregistered motorcycles is prohibited, except all-terrain vehicles may be used only by certified mobility-impaired hunters during the general gun mobility-impaired season.
  7. Vehicles may be operated on named roads only, except all-terrain vehicles used by mobility-impaired hunters during the general gun mobility-impaired season. Additional roads may be opened for vehicle access if conditions allow (additional information will be available at the check station).
  8. Vehicles must be parked in a parking area or within 25 feet of a named road.
  9. Parked vehicles may not obstruct a road, gate or firelane.
  10. No motor vehicle shall be operated on any part of the area that has been designated as closed to vehicular traffic.

Hunters and Check Stations:

  1. Hunters must enter and exit the area at the designated entrance.
  2. Public access for hunting is allowed only by individuals participating in a hunt and allowed only within the designated hunting area (see “FWC Hunting Area” on the map).
  3. On hunting days, access is allowed from 1½ hours before sunrise to 1½ hours after sunset.
  4. Scouting is allowed 1 day prior to each hunt, except small game hunts, from 8 a.m. to sunset.
  5. Hunters must check in at the check station upon entering and check out upon leaving the area and check all game harvested.
  6. Anytime access is allowed for hunting or scouting, hunting equipment may be taken onto the and shall be removed by 1½ hours after sunset on the last day of each hunt.
  7. No deer, wild hog or turkey shall be dismembered until checked at the check station.
  8. Hunting quail is prohibited.

Guns:

  1. Hunting at night with a gun is prohibited.
  2. 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.
  3. Hunting deer with rimfire or non-expanding, full metal jacket (military ball) ammunition is prohibited.
  4. Air guns may be used to hunt gray squirrel and rabbits during any season when these species are legal to hunt, except archery and muzzleloading gun.
  5. Children under the age of 16 hunting with a firearm or air gun must be in the presence of a supervising adult.
  6. No person shall discharge a firearm or have a loaded firearm in hand while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  7. For hunting non-migratory game, only shotguns, rifles, pistols, bows, crossbows or falconry may be used.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 is prohibited, except bird dogs are allowed during the small game season.
    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: 

Prohibited.

Bag and Possession Limits:

 A guest hunter must share the host’s bag limit, except bag limits specified as per person. No person shall exceed statewide bag limits.

  1. Deer -
    1. Archery, family and general gun mobility-impaired hunts - 2 deer per quota permit. Only mobility-impaired hunters may harvest antlerless deer during the general gun mobility-impaired season.
    2. Muzzleloading gun and general gun hunts - 2 antlered deer per quota permit, but only 1 per person.
  2. Wild hog - No size or bag limit.
  3. Turkey - 2 per spring turkey quota permit, but only 1 per person.
  4. Gray squirrel and rabbit - Daily limit 12, possession limit 24 for each.
  5. Quail - Prohibited.
  6. Migratory birds - See Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations pamphlet.

Archery Season:

August 2-5 and 9-12.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit, hunting license, management area permit, archery permit, deer permit (if hunting deer).
Legal to Hunt - Any deer (except spotted fawn), wild hog, gray squirrel and rabbit.
Regulations Unique to Archery Season - Hunting with guns or crossbows (except by disabled crossbow permit) is prohibited.

Muzzleloading Gun Season:

September 6-8.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit, hunting license, management area permit, muzzleloading gun 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 5 inches or more in length, wild hog, gray squirrel, rabbit and migratory birds in season.
Regulations Unique to Muzzleloading Gun Season - Hunting with archery equipment or guns, other than muzzleloading guns, is prohibited, except that centerfire shotguns are allowed for hunting migratory birds when 1 or more species are legal to hunt (see Migratory Bird section and the current Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations pamphlet).

Family Hunt:

September 20-21 and December 20-21.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit, 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 - Any deer (except spotted fawn), wild hog, gray squirrel, rabbit and migratory birds in season.
Regulations Unique to Family Hunt -

  1. One or 2 youths (under 16 years of age but not younger than 8 years of age) per quota permit, may hunt under the direct supervision of an adult (at least 18 years of age), but the quota permit holder must be present for the youth to hunt.
  2. The quota permit holder may hunt, but only in the presence of at least 1 youth.

General Gun Season:

September 26-28, October 3-5 and December 12-14.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit, 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 5 inches or more in length, wild hog, gray squirrel, rabbit and migratory birds in season.

General Gun Mobility-impaired Season:

December 5-7.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit, 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 - Any deer (except spotted fawn), wild hog, gray squirrel, rabbit and migratory birds in season.
Regulations Unique to General Gun Mobility-impaired Season -

  1. All hunt participants are required to attend a pre-hunt orientation meeting at the check station at 3 p.m. on December 4 (scout day).
  2. Mobility-impaired hunters may be accompanied by 1 hunting guest and 1 non-hunting assistant that may participate in the hunt (no license required), but the non-hunting assistant may not harvest wildlife.
  3. Only mobility-impaired hunters may harvest antlerless deer (which includes does and bucks with antlers less than 5 inches in length, but not spotted fawn).

Small Game Season:

January 3-4, 10-11, 17-18 and January 31 through February 1.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - 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, rabbit and migratory birds in season.
Regulations Unique to Small Game Season -

  1. Hunting quail is prohibited.
  2. Hunting with bird dogs is allowed.
  3. Hunting with centerfire rifles is prohibited.

Trapping:  

Prohibited.

Spring Turkey Season:

March 7-9 and 14-16.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit, 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. Only bows, crossbows and shotguns using a #2 or smaller shot size may be used for hunting.

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 that coincide with the archery, muzzleloading gun, general gun mobility-impaired, family hunt, general gun or small game seasons.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit (if hunting during any quota period), 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 hunt.

Fishing and Frogging: 

Prohibited.

General Information:

  1. This area is a working ranch. Significant disruptions of the ranch operations could influence future public access. Please be respectful of ranch staff, be aware and cautious of cattle, and leave all gates in the same position you found them.
  2. Information for persons with disabilities can be found at MyFWC.com/ADA.
  3. If you have any questions about this material, please call the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 863-648-3200 (TDD 800-955-8771).
  4. The FWC is not responsible for protection of personal property and will not be liable for theft of or damage to personal property.
  5. Please report the location of any sick or extremely skinny deer to the Chronic Wasting Disease hotline, toll free at 866-293-9282.

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 disability. 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 20 percent of the cost of the program.



FWC Facts:
License fees for hunting and fishing (both freshwater and saltwater) are set by the Florida Legislature and are subject to change, along with stipulations on exemptions.

Learn More at AskFWC