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White-tailed Deer Management Program

Share Your Thoughts on a Draft Rule Amendment Prohibiting Deer Carcass Importation

The FWC is at the beginning stages of rule development for the 2021-22 hunting season. We’re seeking input on a package of hunting-related draft rule changes, including one, which if passed, would prohibit importing or possessing carcasses or certain parts therefrom of all members of the deer family originating from outside of Florida. This rule amendment is being proposed to reduce the risk of chronic wasting disease (CWD) being introduced into or spread throughout Florida. Learn more and share your input.

Help Keep Florida Free of CWD!

logo for chronic wasting disease program

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has not been found in Florida. The FWC is working with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, hunters, captive cervid owners, landowners, and the public to reduce the risk of CWD spreading into Florida. If you see a sick or abnormally thin deer or deer dead of unknown causes, please report its location to the CWD hotline, (866) CWD-WATCH (293-9282).

Learn more about CWD.

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About White-tailed Deer in Florida

White-tailed deer are the most popular game species in Florida. In addition to being valued by hunters, deer are appreciated by hikers, wildlife photographers, and other outdoor enthusiasts.
 
FWC’s Hunting and Game Management Division applies scientific expertise to manage Florida’s hunting activities and associated wildlife resources, ensuring that conservation objectives are met and hunting opportunities are sustainable. FWC also provides training and information to encourage safe, responsible hunting.
 

Research Projects

The South Florida Deer Research Project, one of the largest white-tailed deer studies conducted in the country, is now complete. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission worked with University of Georgia, Virginia Tech, Jones Center at Ichauway, and several other partners to learn more about how water levels, predation and hunting impact deer populations in south Florida. Learn about South Florida Deer Research Project findings.

Deer Breeding Chronology Study

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) has been collecting biological data since 2009 from white-tailed deer to estimate the breeding dates for deer across the state. These data have been used to inform management decisions regarding hunting season dates and location of zonal lines. In addition, the data provides local information on peak breeding, something that is of interest to white-tail enthusiasts. In the northern U.S., the duration of the breeding season (or rut) is short and there is little variation from area to area. Breeding occurs in the fall, and fawning occurs in the spring. In the southeast, with mild winters and long growing season, the timing of fawning is not as critical and deer breeding activity is more variable. 

State Wide Model Map

However, Florida has more variability in breeding than any other state -- from July in southern Florida to February in northwest Florida. During this ongoing study, FWC biologists have documented breeding to occur in every single month except May. FWC will continue to collect breeding chronology data as needed. Maps are updated as additional information is collected.