Lake Panasoffkee 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 Lake Panasoffkee 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 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 at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com. 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.
Quota Permit Information:
Special-Opportunity Archery - 20, $100, special-opportunity permits (no exemptions) for each of 8 hunts.
Wild Hog-Still - 50, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions).
Wild Hog-Dog - 35, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions) for each of 2 hunts.
Small Game - 40, no-cost, daily quota permits are available first-come, first-served at the check station each day of the season.
Special-Opportunity Spring Turkey - 10, $100, special-opportunity permits (no exemptions) for each of 3 hunts.
Permit applications: Hunters must submit electronic applications for quota and special-opportunity permits at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com. Worksheets listing hunts, application periods, deadlines and instructions are available at county tax collector’s offices, FWC offices or MyFWC.com. Quota application periods occur throughout the year beginning April 1; please refer to the hunting handbook or MyFWC.com for specific dates. Worksheets will be available about 2 weeks prior to each application period.
Guest hunters: For each non-transferable archery, muzzleloading gun, general gun, wild hog, spring turkey and mobility-impaired quota permit issued GoOutdoorsFlorida.com, a quota permit holder (host) may take a guest hunter by obtaining a guest permit. Guest hunters are not allowed during special-opportunity hunts. A guest hunter must possess a completed guest permit while hunting except the following persons may be a guest hunter without a guest permit: a youth under 16 years of age, a youth supervisor, a mentor license holder or a mentor license supervisor. A host may only bring 1 guest hunter at a time and may only use 1 guest permit per day. The following persons are not considered to be guest hunters: other quota permit holders, non-hunters and exempt hunters (on areas and during seasons that allow exemptions). The guest hunter and host must enter and exit the area together and must share a street-legal vehicle while hunting on the area. The guest hunter may hunt only while the host is on the area. Refer to the quota hunt worksheets for additional information.
Youth and mentor license holders: A supervisor is required to accompany a youth or mentor license holder during any hunt. A youth hunter (less than 16 years of age) must be supervised by a person at least 18 years of age. A mentor license holder must be supervised by a licensed hunter at least 21 years of age. Unless exempt, only those supervisors with proper licenses and permits may hunt. If the supervisor is hunting during any hunt (not including special-opportunity) for which quota permits are issued, at least 1 person in the party must be in possession of a quota permit. During a hunt that allows exemptions, a non-exempt supervisor of a youth must have a quota permit to hunt.
Transfer of permits: Special-opportunity permits are transferable, except permits issued to persons exempt from paying permit fees are only transferable to another person exempt from paying permit fees; quota and guest permits are not transferable; antlerless deer permits are transferable. A positive form of identification is required when using a non-transferable permit, except for a youth under 16 years of age. The sale or purchase of any quota permit, guest permit or antlerless deer permit is prohibited.
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 non-native 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.
- It is unlawful to set fire to any forest, grass or woodlands.
- 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. Falconers are not exempt from quota or special-opportunity permits during hunts requiring them.
- Open to public access year round, except during special-opportunity archery and spring turkey seasons. During non-hunting periods, motor vehicle access is allowed only on Jones Creek Trail to the horse stable facility located near the campground.
- Individuals participating in a special-opportunity archery or wild hog hunt are allowed vehicle access to the area from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the day before the hunt; and those participating in a special-opportunity spring turkey hunt are allowed vehicle access to the area from 1½ hours before sunrise until 1½ hours after sunset on the day before the hunt.
- During periods open for hunting, the operation of a vehicle is allowed only from 1½ hours before sunrise until 1½ hours after sunset unless camping at a designated hunter campsite or by permit from the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
- Vehicles may be operated only on named roads.
- Vehicles must be parked within 25 feet of a named road.
- Parked vehicles may not obstruct a road, gate or firelane.
- No motor vehicle shall be operated in areas designated as closed to vehicular traffic.
- The use of tracked vehicles, all-terrain vehicles or unlicensed and unregistered motorcycles is prohibited.
- Horses are prohibited during wild hog-dog hunts.
- Horses and bicycles may be ridden on named roads or designated trails only.
- During special-opportunity archery and spring turkey seasons, an individual may accompany a special-opportunity permittee provided that while hunting or scouting the individual shall not occupy a vehicle separate from the permittee, shall not take wildlife with archery equipment or a gun, and shall be in the immediate vicinity (25 feet or less) of the permittee.
- Hunting equipment may not be taken onto the WMA until after 8 a.m. the day before each hunt and shall be removed the last day of each hunt, except hunting equipment is allowed beginning 1½ hours before sunrise the day before each special-opportunity spring turkey hunt.
- Hunters must enter and exit the area at the designated entrance.
- Hunters must check in at the check station upon entering and check out upon leaving the area and check all game harvested.
- All deer harvested must be reported to the harvest reporting system within 24 hours of harvest in addition to checking all game at the check station. See Florida Hunting Regulations handbook for deer harvest reporting instructions.
- No game shall be dismembered until checked at the check station. Hunters are requested to bring deer and turkey to the check station prior to any field dressing activity.
- Check station hours during hunts are 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. during Eastern Daylight Saving Time and 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. during Eastern Standard Time, except during the small game season when hours are 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the special-opportunity spring turkey season when hours are 4:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Check station hours the day prior to special-opportunity archery and wild hog hunts are from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. and from 1½ hours before sunrise until 1½ hours after sunset the day prior to special-opportunity spring turkey hunts.
- Hunting at night with a gun is prohibited.
- 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, 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 semi-automatic rifles having a magazine capable of holding more than 5 rounds, 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 with dogs is prohibited.
- Hunting with dogs is prohibited, except bird dogs or dogs with a shoulder height of 15 inches or less are allowed during the small game season, and no more than 3 free-running dogs per quota permit are allowed during the wild hog-dog season.
- 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, but must be kept under physical restraint at all times.
- Camping is allowed only at designated sites. Camping and camping equipment are allowed on designated campsites no earlier than 8 a.m. the day before each hunt and equipment shall be removed the last day of each hunt, except camping equipment is allowed no earlier than 8 a.m the first day of each small game hunt.
- Unless contained in mobile campers, kitchen stoves, refrigerators and freezers are prohibited. Lumber, sheet metal and other building materials are also prohibited.
- Tampering in any way with official markings of campsites is prohibited.
- Campers shall assure that their campsites are clean at all times.
- The name, address and telephone number of the person responsible for each campsite shall be visibly affixed to camping shelters.
- Only tents, trailers or self-propelled camping vehicles may be used for camping.
- Campground furniture and equipment, such as picnic tables and fire rings, should not be moved.
A guest hunter must share the host’s bag limit, except bag limits specified as per person, and the host is responsible for violations that exceed the bag limit.
- Deer -No person shall exceed statewide bag limits.
- Area limits - 1 antlered deer per special-opportunity permit and 1 antlerless deer per antlerless deer permit.
- Statewide limits - Annual limit 5 deer (only 2 of which may be antlerless), daily limit 2, possession limit 4.
- Wild hog - No size or bag limit.
- Turkey - No person shall exceed statewide bag limits.
- Area Limits - 1 per special-opportunity spring turkey permit, daily limit 1.
- Statewide limits - Spring season limit 2, daily limit 2, possession limit 2.
- Gray squirrel and rabbit - Daily limit 12 per person, possession limit 24 for each.
- Quail - Daily limit 12, possession limit 24.
- 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.
September 19-22, October 1-4, 10-13, 22-25, October 31 through November 3, November 12-15, December 3-6 and 12-15.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Special-opportunity permit, hunting license, archery permit, deer permit (if hunting deer), migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds), and state waterfowl permit and federal duck stamp (if hunting waterfowl).
Legal to Hunt - Deer with at least 1 antler having 4 or more points (each point 1-inch or more in length), antlerless deer by antlerless deer permit only (each antlerless deer permit allows the take of only 1 doe or 1 buck with antlers less than 5 inches in length, but not spotted fawn), wild hog, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria and migratory birds in season. Bobcat and otter beginning December 3.
Regulations Unique to Special-Opportunity Archery Season - Hunting with guns or crossbows (except by disabled crossbow permit) is prohibited.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit and management area permit.
Legal to Hunt - Wild hog.
January 24-26 and February 21-23.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit and management area permit.
Legal to Hunt - Wild hog.
Regulations Unique to Wild Hog-Dog Season -
- Each wild hog-dog quota permit allows the quota permit holder, a guest hunter and one additional hunter.
- Hunting with more than 3 free-running dogs per hunting group is prohibited.
January 31 through February 2, February 7-9 and February 28 through March 1.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Daily quota permit, hunting license, management area permit, migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds), and state waterfowl permit and federal duck stamp (if hunting waterfowl).
Legal to Hunt - Gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria and migratory birds in season. Bobcat and otter through March 1.
Regulations Unique to Small Game Season -
- Hunting with bird dogs or dogs with a shoulder height of 15 inches or less is allowed.
- Hunting with centerfire rifles is prohibited.
March 26-29, April 7-10 and 23-26.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Special-opportunity permit, hunting license and wild turkey permit.
Legal to Hunt - Bearded turkey or gobbler.
Regulations Unique to Special-Opportunity Spring Turkey Season -
- Legal shooting hours are ½ hour before sunrise until 1 p.m.
- 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.
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 - Special-opportunity or daily quota permit, 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.
- Hunting with shotguns is prohibited during the special-opportunity archery season.
- 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 and Frogging - 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 and the District are 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.
Southwest Florida WMD Rules and Information:
- Public use of District lands is regulated by Chapter 40D-9 of the Florida Administrative Code, in addition to the above-listed FWC rules. For detailed information regarding public-use rules and recreational opportunities on District lands, please visit WaterMatters.org/recreation or contact the District at 352-796-7211, 800-492-7862 (FL only), ext. 4470 or Recreation@WaterMatters.org.
- The consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on this area.
- All persons using the area should become familiar with the status of control burning areas on a daily basis. These areas will be posted at the check station. Please do not park vehicles or leave any equipment in or adjacent to these areas.
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.