Lower Econfina River WMA
This brochure is designed to provide the public with information and a summary of regulations pertaining to hunting and other recreational use on the Lower Econfina River Wildlife Management Area. Regulations that are new or differ substantially from last year are shown in bold print. Area users should familiarize themselves with all regulations. For exact wording of the wildlife laws and regulations, see the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s wildlife code, on file with the Secretary of State and state libraries. This brochure, the Florida Hunting Regulations handbook, and quota permit worksheets should provide the information necessary for you to plan your hunting activities. These publications are available at MyFWC.com.
Persons using wildlife management areas are required to have appropriate licenses, permits and stamps. The following persons are exempt from all license and permit requirements (except for quota permits when listed as “no exemptions,” recreational use permits, antlerless deer permits, released quail permits and the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp [federal duck stamp]): Florida residents who are 65 years of age or older; residents who possess a Florida Resident Disabled Person Hunting and Fishing Certificate; residents in the U.S. Armed Forces, not stationed in Florida, while home on leave for 30 days or less, upon submission of orders; and children under 16 years of age. Children under 16 years of age are exempt from the federal duck stamp. Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975 and 16 years of age or older must have passed a Commission-approved hunter-safety course prior to being issued a hunting license, except the Hunter Safety Mentoring exemption allows anyone to purchase a hunting license and hunt under the supervision of a licensed hunter, 21 years of age or older.
Licenses and permits may be purchased from county tax collectors, license agents, by telephone at 888-486-8356, or through the Commission's Recreational License Issuance Services (RLIS). A no-cost Migratory Bird Permit is available when purchasing a hunting license. Any waterfowl hunter 16 years of age or older must possess a federal duck stamp. Released quail permits may only be obtained online through RLIS.
Quota Permit Information:
Quota permits are not required for this area.
All general laws and regulations relating to wildlife and fish shall apply unless specifically exempted for this area. Hunting or the taking of wildlife or fish on this area shall be allowed only during the open seasons and in accordance with the following regulations:
- Any person hunting deer or accompanying another person hunting deer shall wear at least 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent-orange material as an outer garment, above the waistline. These provisions are not required when hunting with a bow and arrow during archery season.
- Taking of spotted fawn, swimming deer or roosted turkey is prohibited.
- It is illegal to hunt over bait or place any bait or other food for wildlife on this area.
- Driving a metal object into any tree, or hunting from a tree into which a metal object has been driven, is prohibited.
- No person shall cut, damage or remove any natural, man-made or cultural resource without written authorization of the landowner or primary land manager.
- Taking or attempting to take any game with the aid of live decoys, recorded game calls or sounds, set guns, artificial light, net, trap, snare, drug or poison is prohibited. Recorded calls and sounds can be used to hunt furbearers, wild hog and crows.
- The wanton and willful waste of wildlife is prohibited.
- Hunting, fishing or trapping is prohibited on any portion of the area posted as closed to those activities.
- People, dogs, vehicles and other recreational equipment are prohibited in areas posted as “Closed to Public Access” by FWC administrative action.
- Taking or herding wildlife from any motorized vehicle, aircraft or boat, which is under power is prohibited until power, and movement from that power, has ceased.
- Most game may be hunted from ½ hour before sunrise until ½ hour after sunset (see exceptions for each season).
- The release of any animal is prohibited, except by permit from FWC or written authorization from the landowner or primary land manager.
- The head and evidence of sex may not be removed from the carcass of any deer or turkey on the area.
- The planting or introduction of any plant is prohibited, without written authorization of the landowner or primary land manager.
- Wild hog may not be transported alive.
- A hunting license is not required to hunt wild hog.
- Littering is prohibited.
- Fires are prohibited.
- An FWC Law Enforcement Officer may search any camp, vehicle or boat, in accordance with law.
- Falconers may hunt during the statewide falconry season anytime a management area is open for public access.
- Open to public access year round but only from 1½ hours before sunrise until 1½ hours after sunset, unless in possession of a Special Use Authorization (SUA) from the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD).
- Motorized vehicles may be operated only on named or numbered roads.
- All-terrain vehicles and unlicensed and unregistered motorcycles are prohibited.
- Parked vehicles may not obstruct a road, gate or firelane.
- No motor vehicle shall be operated in areas designated as closed to vehicular traffic.
- Questions regarding the use of horses should be directed to the SRWMD (386-362-1001).
- Hunting equipment may not be taken onto the WMA until after 8 a.m. the day before the opening of a season and shall be removed by 6 p.m. 1 day after the end of the season.
- All deer harvested must be reported to the harvest reporting system within 24 hours of harvest. See Florida Hunting Regulations handbook for deer harvest reporting instructions.
- Hunting at night with a gun is prohibited (see exception for small game season).
- Muzzleloading guns used for taking deer must be .30 caliber or larger, if firing a single bullet, or be 20 gauge or larger if firing 2 or more balls.
- Hunting wildlife (other than migratory birds) with air guns is allowed. See Florida Hunting Regulations handbook for details.
- Hunting turkey with air guns is prohibited, except pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air guns propelling a bolt or arrow are allowed.
- Children under the age of 16 hunting with a firearm or air gun must be in the presence of a supervising adult.
- No person shall discharge a firearm or have a loaded firearm in hand while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- For hunting non-migratory game, only shotguns, rifles (muzzleloading and rimfire only), pistols, air guns, bows, crossbows or falconry may be used.
- For hunting migratory game, only shotguns, bows, crossbows or falconry may be used. Shotguns shall not be larger than 10 gauge and shall be incapable of holding more than 3 shells in the magazine and chamber combined.
- Hunting with full automatic firearms, centerfire rifles, explosive or drug-injecting devices and set guns is prohibited.
- The discharge of a firearm outside of periods open to hunting or in areas closed to hunting is prohibited per s. 790.15 FS.
- Hunting deer or wild hog with dogs is prohibited.
- Hunting with dogs, other than bird dogs or dogs with a shoulder height of 15 inches or less, is prohibited except during small game season when any dog may be used for hunting small game (quail, rabbit, squirrel and migratory birds) and by persons in possession of a SUA from the SRWMD that are hunting raccoon or opossum at night (see small game season for details).
- No person shall allow any dog to pursue or molest any wildlife during any period in which the taking of wildlife by the use of dogs is prohibited.
- Dogs on leashes may be used for trailing wounded game.
- For purposes other than hunting, dogs are allowed (except in areas posted as “Closed To Pets”), but must be kept under physical restraint at all times.
- Deer - No person shall exceed statewide bag limits.
- Area limits -
Archery season - See statewide limits below. During the period from October 5-20, that limit may include any combination of antlered and antlerless deer. Only antlered deer may be hunted after October 20.
Muzzleloading gun season - See statewide limits below.
- Statewide limits - Annual limit 5 deer (only 2 of which may be antlerless), daily limit 2, possession limit 4.
- As part of the statewide annual deer limit, youth less than 16 years of age may harvest 1 deer annually not meeting antler point requirements but having at least 1 antler 5 inches or more in length.
- Area limits -
- Wild hog - No size or bag limit.
- Turkey - No person shall exceed statewide bag limits.
- Area limits - Daily limit 1.
- Statewide limits - All fall seasons combined limit 2, spring season limit 2, daily limit 2, possession limit 2.
- Area limits - Daily limit 1.
- Gray squirrel and rabbit - Daily limit 12, possession limit 24 for each.
- Quail - Daily limit 12, possession limit 24 (No bag limit for released quail).
- Raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk and nutria - No bag limits.
- Bobcat and otter - Possession limit 1 unless in possession of a trapping license.
- Migratory birds - See Florida Hunting Regulations handbook.
October 5-20 and October 28 through November 10.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Hunting license, management area permit, archery permit, deer permit (if hunting deer), wild turkey permit (if hunting wild turkey) and migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds).
Legal to Hunt - Deer with at least 1 antler having 2 or more points (each point 1-inch or more in length) and having at least 1 antler 5-inches or more in length, antlerless deer (which includes does and bucks with antlers less than 5 inches in length, but not spotted fawn) through October 20, wild hog, turkey of either sex, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria and migratory birds in season.
Regulations Unique to Archery Season -
- Hunting with guns or crossbows (except by disabled crossbow permit) is prohibited, except that centerfire shotguns are allowed for hunting migratory birds.
- Hunting antlerless deer after October 20 is prohibited.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Hunting license, management area permit, muzzleloading gun permit, deer permit (if hunting deer) and migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds).
Legal to Hunt - Deer with at least 1 antler having 2 or more points (each point 1-inch or more in length) and having at least 1 antler 5-inches or more in length, wild hog, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria and migratory birds in season.
Regulations Unique to Muzzleloading Gun Season - Hunting with archery equipment or guns other than muzzleloading guns, is prohibited, except that centerfire shotguns are allowed for hunting migratory birds.
November 11 through March 1.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Hunting license, management area permit, released quail permit (if releasing northern bobwhite), migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds), and state waterfowl permit and federal duck stamp (if hunting waterfowl).
Legal to Hunt - Wild hog, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria and migratory birds in season. Bobcat and otter from December 1 through March 1.
Regulations Unique to Small Game Season -
- Hunting with centerfire rifles is prohibited.
- Hunting wild hog with dogs is prohibited.
- Dogs may be used to hunt quail, rabbit, squirrel and migratory birds.
- Northern bobwhite may be released and taken by shotgun provided each individual or group participating possesses a daily released quail permit and proof (including the name and address of the vendor and date of purchase) that the northern bobwhite were purchased within the past 90 days from a game farm licensed by the Commission or another state. See https://myfwc.com/hunting/quail/released-quail/ for more information.
- Persons in possession of a SUA from the SRWMD may hunt raccoon or opossum at night with the aid of a light and dogs, with .22 rimfire firearms other than .22 magnum, or with a single-shot .410 shotgun using shot no larger than No. 6. Hunting raccoon or opossum by display or use of a light from a moving vehicle, boat or animal is prohibited.
Youth Turkey: March 14-15.
Spring Turkey: March 21-29.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Hunting license, management area permit and wild turkey permit.
Legal to Hunt - Bearded turkey or gobbler.
Regulations Unique to Spring Turkey Season -
- Legal shooting hours are ½ hour before sunrise until sunset.
- Hunting other animals is prohibited.
- Only bows, crossbows, PCP air guns propelling a bolt or arrow and shotguns using a #2 or smaller shot size may be used for hunting.
- During the youth turkey hunt, only youth under 16 years of age may hunt and must be under the supervision and in the presence of an adult not younger than 18 years of age. Adults with required licenses and permits for taking wild turkeys may participate when in the presence of a youth, but may not harvest a wild turkey.
Rails, common moorhen, mourning dove, white-winged dove, snipe, ducks, geese, coot, woodcock and crows may be hunted during statewide migratory bird seasons that coincide with the seasons where migratory birds are listed as legal to hunt in this brochure.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Hunting license, management area permit, migratory bird permit, and state waterfowl permit and federal duck stamp (if hunting waterfowl).
Legal to Hunt - See Florida Hunting Regulations handbook.
Regulations Unique to Migratory Bird Seasons - All Migratory Bird Regulations shall apply.
- Hunting ducks, geese and coot with lead shot is prohibited.
- Centerfire shotguns are allowed for hunting during established area seasons when migratory birds are legal to hunt.
- Shooting hours for mourning and white-winged dove are noon until sunset during Phase 1 and ½ hour before sunrise until sunset during Phases 2 and 3.
Allowed year round.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Fishing license (if fishing) or management area permit (if frogging).
Legal to Take - See Florida Freshwater Fishing Regulations Summary.
Regulations Unique to Fishing - All General Freshwater Fishing Regulations shall apply. Shooting frogs is allowed only during the listed open hunting seasons and only with the legal methods of take during each particular season.
- Information for persons with disabilities can be found at MyFWC.com/ADA.
- If you have any questions about this material, please call the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 386-758-0525 (TDD 800-955-8771).
- The FWC is not responsible for protection of personal property and will not be liable for theft of or damage to personal property.
- Please report the location of any sick or extremely skinny deer to the Chronic Wasting Disease hotline, toll free at 866-293-9282.
Suwannee River WMD Rules and Information:
- These lands were acquired and are managed by the Suwannee River Water Management District (SRWMD) for the conservation and protection of water resources, public recreational use and the restoration of natural communities. The SRWMD lands may be used for recreational purposes that are compatible with these objectives.
- Public use of SRWMD lands is regulated by Chapter 40B-9, Florida Administrative Code in addition to the FWC rules listed above. For detailed information regarding public use rules and recreational opportunities on SRWMD lands, please visit mysuwanneeriver.com or contact the Land Management Specialist at 386-362-1001, 800-226-1066 (FL only) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The SRWMD management activities include prescribed burning and timber harvesting during most months of the year. For personal safety reasons, area users should contact the SRWMD for information and locations at 386-362-1001 or 800-226-1066 (FL only). Notices are posted at mysuwanneeriver.com.
- The possession of alcoholic beverages is prohibited.
If you see law violators or suspicious activities, contact your nearest Commission regional office or call 888-404-FWCC. You may qualify for a cash reward from the Wildlife Alert Reward Association.
The U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex or disability. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in any program, activity or facility as described above, or if you desire further information, please write to: The Office for Human Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. 20240. The project described in this publication is part of a program funded by federal dollars under the Wildlife Restoration Act. Federal funds pay 20 percent of the cost of the program.