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Hunting season a perfect time for conservation-minded holiday sharing, gifts

Message from Kathy Barco

Monday, November 28, 2011

Media contact: Kathy Barco

The holiday season is here, bringing with it some much-appreciated cooler weather to the Sunshine State. Many of us will be taking time off from work, and children will be out of school on winter break soon. For me, this much-needed vacation provides a wonderful opportunity to take to the woods and go hunting, now that hunting season is in full swing.

It's also a perfect time to give children supervised hunting experiences with you.

Hunting is a proven and very necessary tool of wildlife and habitat management, especially when habitat is lost to urbanization and wildlife gets displaced because of our state's ever-growing population.

Scientific findings have shown that those who hunt and engage in outdoor recreation with their families develop a sense of stewardship for nature and a desire to conserve it.

In fact, hunters form a foundation for wildlife conservation. Through the sale of hunting licenses and permits, and the excise tax generated from hunting equipment, hunters as a whole pay most of the cost of wildlife conservation and research, public land acquisitions, habitat protection, science-based fish and wildlife management and law enforcement. All of us get to enjoy the benefits of these efforts.

Even non-hunting spouses and significant others can share in the spirit of stewardship with a couple of good holiday gift ideas. For the hunters (or anglers) in your family or circle, why not buy them a five-year license, or make a stocking-stuffer of a one-year license? Licenses may be purchased at

If they already have one of those, consider getting them a conservation license plate for their vehicle. Not only will one of them look great on their truck, recreational vehicle or car, but in purchasing one, you will be helping to conserve wildlife for generations to come. To order online, go to You can also purchase or renew any plate at your local tax collector's office.

Here's how hunters can enjoy the many traditional hunting seasons Florida offers: 

During general gun season, which coincides with holiday-gift-shopping time, most hunters are in pursuit of deer, but they also can bag wild hogs, rabbits, raccoons and coyotes. And quail and gray squirrel season is in and runs through March 4. Snipe season is also in and runs through Feb. 15 statewide.

Bird hunters wanting to experience something different should try hunting woodcock. Woodcock season runs Dec. 18 - Jan. 31 statewide, and they make excellent game birds because they provide a challenging shot when flushed. Small-game hunting such as this provides a great opportunity to introduce a kid to the great sport of hunting.

And for all the duck hunters out there, the second phase of the waterfowl and coot season will last through Jan. 29 and includes geese.

As you can see, the winter holidays provide a wealth of opportunities, from sharing time with family to giving a gift that is both personal and conservation-minded, to experiencing the heritage of hunting in Florida's great outdoors. For more information on hunting in Florida, go to

FWC Facts:
American eels spend 10 to 20 years in fresh or brackish waters only to migrate hundreds of miles to spawn in saltwater in the Atlantic’s Sargasso Sea.

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