Rules and Regulations
When to Hunt
There is an early wood duck and teal season in September; a nine-day segment that overlaps Thanksgiving; and a longer segment that covers most of December and January. Find current waterfowl and other migratory bird hunting season dates and bag limits.
Florida’s Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days are held the Saturday before the opening of the regular duck season in November and the second Saturday after duck season ends in February. Only youth 15 and younger are allowed to hunt ducks, geese, coots and common gallinules (moorhens) while supervised by a nonhunting adult. The same regulations and bag limits as the regular season apply, and only youth may shoot and harvest waterfowl. No license or permit is required of the youth or supervising adult.
Learn more about Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days.
Veterans and members of the Armed Forces on active duty, including members of the National Guard and Reserves, have a special weekend to hunt ducks, geese, mergansers, coots and common gallinules (moorhens) when waterfowl hunting is closed to the general public. Veterans and Active Military Waterfowl Days are held the first Saturday and Sunday following the close of the second phase of the regular waterfowl season.
Many wildlife management areas that allow migratory game bird hunting are available for those who wish to participate in the Veterans and Active Military Waterfowl Days. Before you head afield, carefully review the WMA regulations brochure for the area you want to hunt to review license and permit requirements and other rules. Find WMAs available for hunting during Veterans and Active Military Waterfowl Days.
A hunting license, no-cost migratory bird permit, Florida waterfowl permit and Federal Duck Stamp are required to participate during this special weekend. Find information about individuals who are exempt from license and permit requirements (unless noted, exemptions do not apply to federal duck stamp requirements). Also, learn more about recreational license and permit information and requirements.
In addition, in November you can apply for Active Military and Veteran Waterfowl quota permits to participate in designated waterfowl hunts.
During Veterans and Active Military Waterfowl Days, bag and possession limits for each species are the same as the regular season.
Learn more about Veterans and Active Military Waterfowl Days.
Licenses and Permits
Hunters will need a hunting license, a Florida waterfowl permit, no-cost migratory bird permit and a federal duck stamp to hunt waterfowl. If you are hunting on a wildlife management area, you will also need a management area permit. Find information about individuals who are exempt from license and permit requirements (unless noted, exemptions do not apply to federal duck stamp requirements). Also, learn more about recreational license and permit information and requirements.
If you are hunting on a WMA, you also may need a quota permit. Check the WMA regulations under the “Migratory Bird Season” section for the specific area you wish to hunt for that information as well as what is legal to hunt, allowed methods of take, season dates, and more.
Licenses and permits can be purchased at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com, county tax collectors’ offices and most retail outlets that sell hunting and fishing supplies, or by calling toll-free 888-HUNT-FLORIDA (486- 8356). Quota permits may be applied for during specific application periods at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com and at county tax collectors’ offices.
NOTE: People who accompany hunters in the blind or boat to watch and are not participating in the hunt do not need a license or permit.
The daily bag limit is the maximum number of a single species that can be taken by one person in one day.
The possession limit for waterfowl is three times the daily bag limit and is the maximum number of a single species that one person may possess while in its whole (unprocessed/uncleaned) condition/form.
See current bag and possession limits for legal-to-take waterfowl and other migratory bird species. It is illegal to take or attempt to take harlequin ducks and purple gallinule.
- Legal methods of take: shotguns (not larger than 10 gauge) plugged to a three-shell capacity, bows and crossbows.
- Not legal methods of take: rifles, pistols, air guns, swivel guns, punt guns, battery guns, machine guns, sinkboxes, live birds as decoys, fish hooks, nets, traps, snares, drugs, poisons or explosive substances.
- While hunting ducks, geese and coots, you may only use and be in possession of nontoxic shot, such as iron (steel), bismuth-tin and various tungsten alloys. No lead shot may be used or on your person or boat/blind.
- Shooting waterfowl and migratory game birds while moving under power of a vehicle or vessel or herding or driving waterfowl/migratory birds with vehicles/vessels.
- Hunting waterfowl or other migratory birds over bait or with the aid of feed, where a person knows or reasonably should know an area is or has been baited.
Find more regulations information at FWS.gov.