Recreational Use permits are designed to provide more revenue to landowners in the Wildlife Management Area (WMA) system. Money set aside by the FWC to compensate those landowners for hunting use on their lands was not sufficient enough to compete with private hunting leases. Rather than have WMAs drop out of the system, the FWC offers Recreational Use permits. Fees collected from these permits supplement the private landowners, keeping their lands open to public hunting.
Except for hunting, permit holders and their spouses or dependent children may participate in other activities on designated WMAs. Most Recreational Use areas are closed to recreational access except during periods open to hunting and a week before each hunting season. Only permit holders and one dependent child (under age 16) may hunt. If spouses or more than one dependent child (under age 16) wish to hunt, they must purchase a Recreational Use permit. Recreational Use permits also include a $26.50 management area permit in the purchase price required in addition to other license and permits when hunting public lands not in the recreational use program. Recreational Use permits do not apply to other recreational use program areas.
Once permits are issued, they can be renewed annually for two additional years, essentially making them a three-year permit. Permit renewals are mailed to eligible applicants in early April. Eligible applicants have until May 15 to renew their Recreational Use permits for the next season. Permits not renewed by May 15 will be forfeited, and they will be made available to the public on a first-come, first-served basis.
Permits are issued individually on a first-come, first-served basis for Gulf Hammock. Permits for the other areas are issued by random drawing. Applications may be submitted online or take a completed worksheet to a tax collectors' office or any license agent and they will submit the application for you. Worksheets are available online and at FWC regional offices. Quota hunt permits are not required on WMAs within the recreational use program since only Recreational Use Permit holders may use the area.
The following are the cost of the permit and total number of hunters allowed: Flint Rock, $206, 450; Gulf Hammock $275, 550; and Grove Park $475, 200. The number of recreational use permits available for purchase will not be known until after the renewals have been completed.