FWC extends crossbow season; restricts firearms used on public-land spring turkey hunts
Wednesday, September 01, 2010
Media contact: Tony Young, 850-488-7867
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) passed a new rule Wednesday in Pensacola Beach
that will extend zonal crossbow seasons by a month, thereby running
concurrently with archery season, beginning July 2011.
The FWC received requests from Florida hunters who
want more crossbow-hunting opportunities - not only more hunting
days, but also to be allowed to take deer of either sex, which is
legal in many other states, including Georgia and Alabama.
Because of the request, the FWC checked with
Florida's hunters through an online poll, and more than 70 percent
of those who responded supported increasing crossbow opportunities
on private lands.
The new rule adds 30 days to the crossbow season in
zones A, B and C, and it adds 33 days in Zone D, thereby making it
coincide with the archery season.
Starting with the 2011-2012 hunting season, any
hunter with a hunting license, deer permit and crossbow permit will
be able to get in the woods a month early on private lands and use
a crossbow (or a bow) to take deer of either sex.
This rule is intended to give hunters more
opportunities and enable youths and others who have difficulty
using a vertical bow to have more hunting days, thereby helping to
recruit and retain more people into the tradition of hunting.
The Commission also passed another rule that limits
the methods of take allowed during spring turkey hunts on
FWC-managed areas beginning, with the next spring turkey season
(March 2011). However, all legal bows and crossbows are still
The new rule restricts firearms to shotguns and
muzzleloading shotguns only, using shot no larger than No. 2.
All rifles, pistols, buckshot and slugs are now prohibited during
spring turkey hunts on wildlife management areas (WMAs), except on
Joe Budd WMA, Raiford WMA and Santa Fe Swamp Wildlife and
Environmental Area. On these three areas, muzzleloading rifles will
still be allowed, because spring turkey hunting on these areas is
restricted to primitive guns only.
This rule came about after public-land turkey
hunters and others expressed safety concerns, prompting the FWC to
ask Florida's hunters, again through an online survey. More than 75
percent of those who responded supported the restriction on
firearms during spring turkey hunts on WMAs.
"If we can save one life by passing this rule, it's
certainly worth doing," said Commissioner Ron Bergeron.