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Taking game

Find Florida migratory bird hunting regulations including season dates, bag limits, shooting hours and more.

Legal methods of taking resident game

Definition of take

The term shall include taking, attempting to take, pursuing, hunting, molesting, capturing, or killing any wildlife or freshwater fish, or their nests or eggs by any means whether or not such actions result in obtaining possession of such wildlife or freshwater fish or their nests or eggs.

Resident game birds and game mammals

Rifles, shotguns, pistols, air guns, longbows, compound bows, recurve bows, crossbows and birds of prey (falcons, hawks and great horned owls) may be used. Hand-held releases may be used. Arrows or bolts used to take deer or wild turkeys must be equipped with broadheads having at least two sharpened edges with minimum widths of 7/8 inch. Only pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air guns firing single bullets or bolts/arrows of at least .30-caliber to take deer and at least .20-caliber to take wild turkey. PCP air guns are commercially manufactured air guns that are charged from an external high compression source, such as an air compressor, air tank or external hand pump and are specifically designed to propel a bolt, arrow or other projectile commonly used for hunting.

Hunting deer with a muzzleloader

Muzzleloading guns firing single bullets must be at least .30-caliber or larger. Muzzleloading guns firing two or more balls must be 20-gauge or larger. Muzzleloading guns designed to allow accelerant (gun powder) to be loaded at the breech may be used during muzzleloading gun seasons.

Prohibited methods and equipment for taking game mammals and resident game birds

  • This document doesn’t address or advise persons as to local ordinances prohibiting the discharge of firearms or as to the validity of such ordinances.
  • Centerfire semi-automatic rifles having magazine capacities of more than five rounds.
  • Nonexpanding full metal case (military ball) ammunition for taking deer.
  • Firearms using rimfire cartridges for taking deer.
  • Fully automatic firearms.
  • Air guns that are not pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air guns when taking deer or wild turkey.
  • PCP air guns firing single bullets that are less than .30-caliber when taking deer and less than .20-caliber when taking wild turkey.
  • Explosive or drug-injecting arrows.
  • Taking or attempting to take with live decoys, recorded game calls or sounds, set guns, artificial lights, nets, traps, snares, drugs or poisons.
  • Shooting from vehicles, powerboats or sailboats moving under power. Motors must be shut off or sails furled, and progress must cease from such motor or sail before taking game.
  • Herding or driving game with vehicles, boats or aircraft.
  • Hunting wild turkeys with dogs.
  • Taking wild turkeys while they are on the roost.
  • Taking wild turkeys when the hunter is within 100 yards of a game-feeding station when feed is present.
  • Taking spotted fawn deer or swimming deer.
  • Using dogs without collars that identify the owners name and address.
  • Using dogs on private lands without written landowner permission. See information about statewide deer dog registration.
  • Using dogs not under physical restraint to pursue deer, fox, coyote and wild hog without a collar allowing remote tracking (GPS or telemetry) and behavior correction.
  • Using dogs to take deer or during deer-dog 
    training season on WMAs without a no-cost WMA deer-dog permit.
  • Placing, exposing or distributing soporific, anesthetic, tranquilizer, hypnotic or similar drugs or chemicals; preparation by baits; or by other means where game birds or game animals may be affected.
  • Shooting or attempting to shoot or harass any bird, fish or other animal from aircraft, except as specifically authorized by a federal or state issued license or permit.

Areas closed to hunting

  • Taking or attempting to take wildlife is illegal on, upon or from rights-of-way of federal, state or county-maintained roads, whether paved or otherwise, except reptiles and amphibians may be taken without the use of firearms and raptors may be taken per Rule 68A-9.005, F.A.C. Casting dogs from rights-of-way is considered attempting to take wildlife and constitutes violation of this regulation.
  • Discharging firearms over paved public roads, rights-of-way, highways, streets or occupied premises is prohibited.
  • Shooting or propelling potentially lethal projectiles over or across private land without authorization in order to take game is considered criminal trespassing and is a felony.
  • Taking deer is prohibited by any method in the Florida Keys.
  • Taking deer is illegal in that portion of Collier County lying south of S.R. 84 (I-75), west of S.R. 29, north of U.S. 41 and east of the western boundary of Fakahatchee Strand State Preserve.
  • Hunting is prohibited on most sanctuaries and parks.