This brochure is designed to provide the public with information and a summary of regulations pertaining to hunting and other recreational use on the Ocala 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:
Muzzleloading Gun (Church Lake Unit) - 250, no-cost, quota permits.
General Gun (Pipeline Unit) - 6,000, no-cost, quota permits.
General Gun Dog (Church Lake Unit) - 250 no-cost, quota permits.
General Gun Still (Church Lake Unit) - 250 no-cost, quota permits.
Youth Turkey - 15 (Hopkins Prairie Unit), 40 (Lake Delancy Unit), 10 (Church Lake Unit) and 110 (Pipeline Unit), no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions).
Spring Turkey - 30 (Hopkins Prairie Unit), 100 (Lake Delancy Unit), 15 (Church Lake Unit) and 220 (Pipeline Unit), no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions) for each of 4 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 through GoOutdoorsFlorida.com, a quota permit holder (host) may take a guest hunter by obtaining a guest permit. Guest hunters are not allowed during youth turkey 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; ATVs may be ridden independently. 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 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: Quota and guest permits are not 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 or guest 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 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 permits during hunts requiring them.
- Open to public access year round.
- Motorized vehicles are only allowed on National Forest System roads and trails as shown on the Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) that are designated for motor vehicle use. The MVUM also identifies the vehicle classes allowed on each route and in each area; and any seasonal restrictions. General Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) access information, maps and downloadable apps are available at the following websites: www.fs.usda.gov/main/florida/maps-pubs
www.fs.usda.gov/activity/ocala/recreation/ohv. Free OHV maps are available at the Lake George and the Seminole Ranger District Offices.
- Parked vehicles may not obstruct a road, gate or firelane.
- No motor vehicle shall be operated in areas designated as closed to vehicular traffic.
- A marked trail called the Florida Trail traverses the area. This trail is open to hikers throughout the year.
- 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.
- No deer or turkey shall be dismembered or transported out of the hunt area until checked at a check station.
- All deer harvested must be reported to the harvest reporting system within 24 hours of harvest in addition to checking required game (deer and turkey) at the check stations. See Florida Hunting Regulations handbook for deer harvest reporting instructions.
- Any person who in taking or attempting to take any wildlife knowingly propels or causes to be propelled any potentially lethal projectile (which includes any projectile launched from any firearm, bow, crossbow, or similar tensile device) over or across private land without authorization commits trespass, a felony of the third degree.
- Taking of wildlife by use of a gun on or from the rights-of-way of all paved roads; Forest Road 69 from State Road 42 to County Road 445; Forest Road 14; Forest Road 13; Blue Creek Lodge Road; Deerhaven Road; North Boulevard; Forest Road 46 east of Forest Road 33; Forest Road 33 south of Forest Road 46; Forest Road 05 south of Forest Road 38; and all county, state and Forest Service Roads in the Church Lake Unit 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 at night with a gun is prohibited (see exception under fox, opossum, bobcat and raccoon seasons).
- 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 deer with rimfire or non-expanding, full metal jacket (military ball) ammunition is prohibited.
- Hunting wildlife (other than migratory birds) with air guns is allowed. See Florida Hunting Regulations handbook for details.
- Hunting deer with air guns is prohibited, except pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air guns propelling a bolt, arrow, or bullet .30 caliber or larger are allowed.
- Hunting turkey with air guns is prohibited, except 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.
- Dogs used for hunting may be taken onto the WMA 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.
- Hunting deer with dogs is only allowed in the Pipeline and Church Lake units during the general gun season, but not during the general gun still season in the Church Lake Unit.
- Hunting with dogs is prohibited in the Hopkins Prairie and Lake Delancy units, except bird dogs and retrievers are allowed during the dove and waterfowl seasons and dogs may be used for hunting small game (quail, rabbit, squirrel and migratory birds) during the small game season.
- Caged or leashed hunting dogs may be transported on established numbered roads in the Church Lake, Hopkins Prairie and Lake Delancy units.
- Dogs may be used to pursue rabbits from January 6 through April 12 in that portion of the Pipeline Unit south of S.R. 40 and west of S.R. 19.
- Deer dogs may be trained only in the Pipeline Unit from October 26 through November 4 from ½ hour before sunrise until ½ hour after sunset.
- 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 throughout the year. Use of trailers or self-propelled camping vehicles is prohibited except in designated campgrounds.
- During the general gun season, camping is prohibited, except in designated campgrounds and Juniper Prairie Wilderness.
- All camping on this area, including developed campgrounds and dispersed camping, is limited to a 14 day stay within a 30 day period by USFS regulations.
A guest hunter must share the host’s bag limit, except bag limits specified as per person. No person shall exceed statewide bag limits.
- Deer - No person shall exceed statewide bag limits.
- Area Limits - Daily limit 1 antlered deer per person. The take of antlerless deer is prohibited.
- 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.
- Wild hog - No size or bag limit.
- Turkey - No person shall exceed statewide bag limits.
- Area Limits -
Archery season - Daily limit 1.
Youth turkey hunt - 1 gobbler or bearded turkey per quota permit.Spring turkey season - 2 per quota permit, but only 1 per person.
- Statewide limits - All fall seasons combined limit 2, 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 21 through October 20.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Hunting license, management area permit, archery permit, deer permit (if hunting deer), wild turkey permit (if hunting wild turkey), 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 3 or more points (each point 1-inch or more in length) OR a main beam length of 10 inches or more, 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.
October 25-27 (Hopkins Prairie, Lake Delancy and Church Lake units).
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit (if hunting in Church Lake Unit), 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 3 or more points (each point 1-inch or more in length) OR a main beam length of 10 inches or more, 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 9 through January 5.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit (if hunting in the Pipeline Unit), hunting license, management area 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 3 or more points (each point 1-inch or more in length) OR a main beam length of 10 inches or more, wild hog, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria and migratory birds in season. For the Lake Delancy and Hopkins Prairie units, bobcat and otter are legal to hunt beginning December 1. For the Pipeline Unit, otter is legal to hunt beginning December 1. See Fox, Opossum, Bobcat and Raccoon Season section for information about hunting bobcat in the Pipeline Unit.
Regulations Unique to General Gun Season -
Hunting deer with dogs is allowed in the Pipeline Unit only.
General Gun Dog: November 9-17.
General Gun Still: November 23 through December 1.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - General gun dog quota permit (if hunting November 9-17), general gun still quota permit (if hunting November 23 through December 1), hunting license, management area 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 3 or more points (each point 1-inch or more in length) OR a main beam length of 10 inches or more, wild hog, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria and migratory birds in season. See Fox, Opossum, Bobcat and Raccoon Season section for information about hunting bobcat in the Church Lake Unit.
Regulations Unique to General Gun Seasons in the Church Lake Unit - Hunting deer with dogs is allowed from November 9-17 only.
November 9 through April 12.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit (if hunting during any quota period), hunting license and management area permit.
Legal to Hunt - Raccoon, opossum, bobcat and fox may be hunted in accordance with the season-specific regulations set forth below. Bobcat may be harvested only from Dec. 1 through Mar. 1. Raccoon and opossum may be harvested each day of the season. Killing fox is prohibited.
Regulations Unique to Fox, Opossum, Bobcat and Raccoon Season -
- From November 9 through March 1 only: Raccoon and opossum may be hunted at night by the aid of light and dogs, with a .22 rimfire firearm other than .22 magnum, or a single shot .410 gauge shotgun using shot no larger than No. 6.
- Fox and bobcat may be chased, with the use of free-running dogs, in that portion of the Pipeline Unit south of S.R. 40 and west of S.R. 19, from January 6 through April 12.
- Raccoons may be chased, with the use of free-running dogs, in that portion of the Pipeline Unit south of S.R. 40 and west of S.R. 19, from March 2 through April 12.
December 1 through March 1.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Trapping license and management area permit.
Legal to Trap - Raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria, otter and bobcat.
December 2 through March 1 (Church Lake Unit).
January 6 through March 1 (Pipeline, Lake Delancy and Hopkins Prairie units).
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - 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 - Wild hog, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria, bobcat, otter and migratory birds in season. Bobcat and otter through March 1.
Regulations Unique to Small Game Season - Hunting with centerfire rifles is prohibited.
Youth Turkey: March 14-15.
Spring Turkey: March 26-29, April 2-5, 9-12 and 16-19.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit, 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, 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. Mourning dove and white-winged dove may be hunted during the statewide dove seasons. Ducks may also be hunted during September duck seasons.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit (if hunting during any quota period), 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 take.
- 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 352-732-1225 (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.
U.S. Forest Service Rules:
- Camping is allowed year round except camping with equipment drawn, propelled or contained by a motor vehicle is prohibited except in designated areas.
- The Forest Service is not responsible for hunting equipment left on the area. Prescribed burning and logging activities are conducted year round. There is a risk that any hunting equipment left on the area may be damaged or destroyed.
- The use of all-terrain vehicles or any motor vehicle that is not street legal is prohibited from 1½ hours after sunset until 1½ hours before sunrise.
- The Navy Bombing Range is closed to the public.
- Construction of permanent or semi-permanent structures is prohibited.
- A valid permit is required before firewood may be removed from the area.
- Leaving debris or garbage, or depositing sewage or other waste, except into receptacles provided for that purpose, is prohibited.
- Discharge of a firearm from, across or on a Forest Development Road or within the safety zones posted around recreation areas is prohibited. Where no signs are posted, discharge of a firearm within 150 yards of a recreation facility or residence is prohibited.
- For all other information on the area, including camping, boating, recreational access, prescribed burning and updates on the Forest Access Plan implementation: For that portion of the area north of S.R. 40, call the Lake George Ranger Station at 352-625-2520, and for that portion of the area south of S.R. 40, call the Seminole Ranger Station at 352-669-3153, or visit www.fs.usda.gov/ocala.
- Possessing, storing or leaving any food, refuse or bear attractant is prohibited unless it is properly stored in a bear-resistant container; suspended at least 10 feet clear of the ground at all points, suspended at least 4 feet horizontally from any other tree or pole next to the supporting tree or pole; stored in a closed motor vehicle without a soft convertible top; or being eaten, being prepared for eating or being transported.
- Discarding or abandoning any food, refuse or bear attractant is prohibited unless it is disposed of in a bear-resistant trash receptacle which has been provided by the Forest Service for that purpose.
- Burning or burying any food, refuse or bear attractant 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.