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Message from the FWC by Chairman Rodney Barreto

St. James Island

Expanded WMA system providing more hunting opportunity

We’re excited about the new wildlife management area in northwest Florida: Tate’s Hell – St. James Island Unit. The FWC, in cooperation with the area’s lead land manger, the Florida Forest Service, is offering hunting opportunities for deer, wild turkey, wild hog, migratory birds and small game on this 8,182-acre area in Franklin County.

This newest public hunting opportunity is another example of the FWC, and its cooperators, working to establish new WMAs and increase the number of acres at existing areas throughout the state. Including St. James Island Unit, Florida’s WMA system has grown by about 90,000 acres in just the past five years. We established eight new WMAs, which provide nearly 44,000 acres of additional hunting opportunity. In addition, the FWC added over 45,000 acres to existing WMAs throughout Florida in the past five years that also provide hunting opportunity.

Our WMA system – at over 6 million acres – is one of the largest in the country. Much of this system is managed or owned by government agencies other than the FWC or private landowners the FWC is partnering with. WMAs are managed for wildlife conservation and provide a diversity of habitats. They also offer a variety of recreational opportunities with hunting being one of the most popular activities. Some areas even offer shooting range facilities and camping.

Both new and existing WMAs provide a range of hunting opportunities including quota hunts, special-opportunity hunts and public hunting areas where a quota permit isn’t required to hunt. Depending on the area and time of year, hunters may pursue deer, wild turkey, waterfowl, wild hogs, dove, quail, gray squirrels and more.

We invite you to get started finding public hunting opportunities on Florida’s WMA system at

Find hunting information and resources at