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New Hunter

Watching the dog work on a duck hunt

Hunting is a safe, relaxing and exciting way for friends and family to spend time together while experiencing Florida’s natural beauty. Every hunting adventure is an opportunity to gain new understanding about wildlife and their habitats, while building important outdoor skills. And when the trip afield is successful, it means prolonging those treasured memories by cooking healthy, locally-sourced meals. 

Hunting in Florida

Florida has one of the largest systems of public hunting lands in the country at nearly 6 million acres. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission uses its scientific expertise to manage Florida’s wildlife resources to make sure conservation objectives are met and hunting opportunities are sustainable.

The Sunshine State offers a diversity of species to pursue from white-tailed deer, hogs, alligators and turkeys to waterfowl, dove, bobwhite quail and small game species such as gray squirrel, rabbits and raccoons. Learn more about game species, season dates and hunting tips

Safety & Education

Anyone born after May 31, 1975, who is 16 years old or older must pass a state certified hunter safety course before they can purchase a Florida hunting license that allows them to be able to hunt unsupervised. Hunter safety courses are designed to help students become safe, responsible and knowledgeable hunters and learn about conservation.

Learn more about hunter safety course options.

Licenses and Permits

Those between the ages of 16 and 64 are required to have a hunting license and additional permits when hunting specific species and during certain seasons in Florida. Some military personnel, those with a Florida Resident Persons with Disabilities Hunting and Fishing License, and those hunting on their homestead are exempt from these license and permit requirements. Learn more about hunting licenses and permits.

Visit GoOutdoorsFlorida.com to buy a hunting license and permits.

Public Hunting opportunities

Florida has one of the largest wildlife management area (WMA) systems in the country at nearly 6 million acres. 

To hunt on a WMA, you must possess a management area permit and a hunting license, (and often other permits depending on species and season), unless exempt. Limited entry/quota permits are required on WMAs during certain time periods. They can only be applied for during the scheduled application periods. The worksheets with the hunt choices and hunt dates are usually posted about two weeks before the permit application period opens.

During certain time periods, there are WMAs that allow hunting without a quota permit.

Youth and Family Hunting Opportunities

The FWC offers several youth and family hunting opportunities including special youth seasons, mentored youth hunts and more.

Many wildlife management areas allow youth (age 15 and younger) supervised by an adult to hunt during archery, muzzleloading gun, general gun, small-game and spring turkey seasons without having quota permits. Youths also may hunt areas that require a quota permit if accompanied by a quota permit holder, who is 18 or older, provided the quota permit holder and youth share a single bag limit.

Outfitters and Guides

Find a list of outfitters and guides who operate in Florida

 

Becoming an Outdoors-Woman (BOW) Program 

Offers outdoor skills training for anyone 18 years of age or older. The workshop features expert instructors and safe, hands-on opportunities to learn about fishing, archery, paddling, hunting, nature photography, outdoor survival, boating, birdwatching and more. See MyFWC.com/BOW.

National Archery in the Schools Program

Teaches international style target archery in 4th-12th grade physical education classes. Core content covers archery history, safety, technique, equipment, mental concentration, and self-improvement. For more information, visit MyFWC.com/NASP.

Hunter Safety Course

Teaches firearms safety, wildlife conservation, responsible hunting and more. Students can attend a no-cost traditional classroom course. Or they can complete the classroom portion online. FWC’s website offers several online courses including a FREE option. After the online classroom portion is complete, students must sign up and attend a free skills day. Learn more about Florida’s hunter safety course options.

Youth Hunter Education Challenge

Provides opportunities for hunter safety course graduates 18 and younger to learn more about leadership, ethics and safety while expanding their knowledge about conservation, target shooting and hunting. Learn more at MyFWC.com/YHEC.

Bowhunter Education Course

Covers conservation, bowhunting history, safe and responsible hunting, fundamental skills, techniques, gear and more. Get details about traditional and online bowhunter education course options.

Youth Summer Camps

Fun, safe and affordable outdoor adventure/conservation education youth summer camps are hosted throughout the state. These camps provide opportunities for youth to experience nature, learn about conservation and develop outdoor skills such as archery, hunting, fishing, wildlife discovery, and more. Discover youth summer camp opportunities.

Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network (FYCCN)

Works with more than 350 partners across the state to introduce rural and urban youth and families to fishing, boating, shooting sports and wildlife discovery and teach them how to conserve our natural resources. Find FYCCN partner facilities and get tips on boating, fishing, the shooting sports and wildlife discovery at FYCCN.org/Activities.

Additional Program and Resources

Find other hunting-related resources and programs

 

Hunters support conservation in a variety of ways. The purchase of a hunting license directly supports conservation and also contributes in a less obvious way. Every hunting license that’s bought is factored into a formula that determines the amount of Wildlife Restoration grant funding a state receives. The more Florida licenses purchased, the more money from shooting sports industries and participants that comes directly back to Florida for conservation.

Many hunters also participate in on-the-ground conservation projects. They also serve as the eyes and ears in the field, providing the FWC with important information about what’s happening in the most remote parts of the state. They report on habitat conditions and fish and wildlife violations, helping the agency protect and conserve Florida’s natural resources.

As a new hunter, you’ll be a part of this proud tradition of hunter-conservationists while treasuring opportunities to see wildlife in their natural habitat, experience the woods waking up at sunrise, and sharing stories with friends and family around the campfire.