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White-tailed Deer Management Program

Give Us Your Feedback on a Draft Rule Amendment Related to Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)

The FWC is seeking feedback on a draft rule amendment, 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. 

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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 help keep Florida CWD free. 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).

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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 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has partnered with University of Georgia to conduct a large-scale white-tailed deer research project in South Florida.  The research investigates several aspects of deer ecology in Big Cypress National Preserve and Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge.  To learn more about the project please visit the South Florida Deer Research Project website.

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.