This brochure is designed to provide the public with information and a summary of regulations pertaining to hunting and other recreational use on the Hilochee 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.Release quail permits may only be obtained online through RLIS.
Quota Permit Information:
Wild Hog-Still - 40, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions) for each of 3 hunts.
Archery - 10, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions).
Muzzleloading Gun - 10, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions).
Youth Turkey - 5, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions).
Spring Turkey - 5, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions) for each of 2 hunts.
Fishing - 20, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions) for each weekend (permits valid for Saturday and Sunday). Permits are available by calling the Southwest Regional Office at 863-648-3200.
Permit applications: Hunters must submit electronic applications for quota and special-opportunity permits through RLIS. 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 the RLIS, 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 host must share the bag limit with the guest hunter and the host is responsible for violations that exceed the bag limit. 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 for which quota permits are issued, at least 1 person in the party must be in possession of a quota permit.
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.
Daily-Use Permit Information:
Persons engaged in recreational activities other than hunting must possess a daily-use permit or a management area permit. Permits may be purchased at designated entry points of the management area. A daily-use permit is $3 per person, $6 per non-commercial vehicle, $75 per group of 25 to 100 people and $150 for groups of 101 people or more. Cash and personal checks are acceptable methods of payment. Members of a management area permit holder’s immediate family (spouse and dependent children) while traveling in the same vehicle or in the company of a permit holder, and persons exempt from the management area permit requirement, are exempt from this permit requirement for recreational uses other than hunting.
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 permits during hunts requiring them.
- Hunting on the posted dove field is allowed by special-opportunity dove permit only until the last dove hunt has occurred. After the last special-opportunity dove hunt, the dove field will be open for other hunters to use. Refer to the Hilochee Dove Field brochure for additional information.
- Open to public access year round but only from 1½ hours before sunrise until 1½ hours after sunset. During non-hunting periods, public access other than on foot, bicycle or horse is prohibited.
- Persons participating in the raccoon season are allowed on the WMA and may operate motorized vehicles during the raccoon season from 1½ hours before sunset on Thursdays until 1½ hours after sunset on Sundays.
- All persons must enter and exit the area at a designated entrance.
- Motorized vehicles are allowed during hunting periods, on Saturdays and Sundays by persons with a valid fishing permit, and 1 day prior to each hunting period, except prior to small game and raccoon seasons.
- Motorized vehicles may be operated on named roads only.
- Vehicles must be parked in designated parking areas or 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, unlicensed and unregistered motorcycles or any boat propelled by an internal combustion engine is prohibited.
- Horses are allowed throughout the year and may be ridden only on named roads or designated horse trails.
- Public access is prohibited in the area posted as “Closed to Public Access” (see map).
- 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. Vehicle access is not allowed the day following the close of a season.
- Hunters must enter and exit the area at a designated entrance.
- Hunting at night with a gun is prohibited (see raccoon season for exception).
- Muzzleloading guns used for taking deer must be .40 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 on hunting with air guns.
- Hunting turkey with air guns is prohibited, except pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air guns propelling a bolt or arrow.
- 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, 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 or wild hog with dogs is prohibited.
- Only bird dogs or retrievers may be used for hunting, except any dog may be used to hunt small game (quail, rabbit, squirrel and migratory birds) during small game season, and any dog may be used during raccoon 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.
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 - Daily limit 2, possession limit 4.
- Wild hog - No size or bag limit.
- Turkey -
- Archery season - Daily limit 1, season limit 2, possession limit 2.
- Youth turkey hunt - 1 per quota permit.
- Spring turkey hunts - 2 per quota permit, but only 1 per person.
- Gray squirrel and rabbit - Daily limit 12 per person, 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.
August 2 through September 23 (1½ hours before sunset on Thursdays until 1½ hours after sunrise on Sundays only).
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Hunting license and management area permit.
Legal to Hunt - Raccoon and opossum.
Regulations Unique to Raccoon Season -
- Raccoon or opossum may be hunted at night by the aid of a light and dogs, with .22 rimfire firearms other than .22 magnum, or with a single-shot .410 gauge 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.
- Hunts end at 1½ hours after sunrise on Sundays, but participants are allowed vehicle access until 1½ hours after sunset.
November 16-18, November 30 through December 2 and 14-16.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit and management area permit.
Legal to Hunt - Wild hog.
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, bobcat, otter and migratory birds in season.
Regulations Unique to Small Game Season -
- Hunting small game (quail, rabbit, squirrel and migratory birds) with dogs is allowed. Hunting wild hog with dogs is prohibited.
- Hunting with centerfire rifles is prohibited.
- 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 http://www.myfwc.com/hunting/by-species/quail/released-quail/ for more information. All individuals participating must enter through the Riddick Grove Road entrance.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit, 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 3 or more points (each point 1-inch or more in length) OR a main beam length of 10 inches or more, antlerless deer (which includes does and bucks with antlers less than 5 inches in length, but not spotted fawn), wild hog, turkey of either sex, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria, bobcat, otter and migratory birds in season.
Regulations Unique to Archery Season -
- Youth less than 16 years of age may harvest antlered deer with at least 1 antler 5 inches or more in length.
- Hunting with guns or crossbows (except by disabled crossbow permit) is prohibited, except that centerfire shotguns are allowed for hunting migratory birds.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit, 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, bobcat and migratory birds in season.
Regulations Unique to Muzzleloading Gun Season -
- Youth less than 16 years of age may harvest antlered deer with at least 1 antler 5 inches or more in length.
- Hunting with archery equipment or guns, other than muzzleloading guns, is prohibited, except that centerfire shotguns are allowed for hunting migratory birds.
Youth Turkey: March 9-10.
Spring Turkey: March 22-24 and April 5-7.
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, 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 - 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 on the posted dove field is allowed by special-opportunity dove permit only until the last Hilochee Public Small Game Hunting Area (PSHA) area special-opportunity dove hunt has concluded. After the last special-opportunity dove hunt, the dove field will be open for other hunters to use. Refer to the Hilochee PSHA brochure for additional information.
- 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 on Saturdays and Sundays during daylight hours only.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Fishing quota permit, daily-use permit or management area permit, and fishing license.
Legal to Take - See Florida Freshwater Fishing Regulations Summary.
Daily Bag Limits -
- Black crappie - 10.
- Bluegill - 20.
- Catfish - 6.
- Other - See Florida Freshwater Fishing Regulations Summary.
Regulations Unique to Fishing - All General Freshwater Fishing Regulations shall apply.
- Fishing is allowed on Hidden Lake, Little Peat Lake, Peat Lake, Stock Lake and Turtle Pond only.
- No person shall kill or possess any largemouth bass.
- No person shall kill or possess any bluegill less than 8 inches total length or black crappie less than 10 inches total length.
- Possession of nets (except dip nets), fish traps, trotlines, set lines, minnow seines, cast nets or bush hooks is prohibited.
- Operation of any boat propelled by an internal combustion engine is prohibited.
- Frogging is prohibited.
- 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 863-648-3200 (TDD 800-955-8771).
- This land was acquired under the Conservation and Recreational Lands (CARL) Program. The purpose of CARL is to conserve and protect unique and irreplaceable lands, restore areas to their original condition as much as possible, and allow controlled multiple recreational and educational uses consistent with this purpose.
- 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.
It is critical for the FWC to conduct controlled burns during hunting seasons to maintain quality wildlife habitat. All persons using the area should become familiar with the status of potential burn 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.