Upper Hillsborough 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 Upper Hillsborough 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 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.
Quota Permit Information:
Wild Hog-Dog - 20, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions).
Archery - 75, no-cost, quota permits for each of 4 hunts.
Muzzleloading Gun - 75, no-cost, quota permits for each of 4 hunts.
Small Game - 150, no-cost, daily quota permits are available first-come, first-served at the check station each day of the season.
Spring Turkey - 75, no-cost, daily quota permits are available first-come, first-served at the check station each day of the season.
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 RLIS, a quota permit holder (host) may take a guest hunter by obtaining a guest permit. 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. 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 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.
- Open to public access year round. Public access other than on foot, bicycle or horse is prohibited, except motor vehicles may be used as allowed in #2.
- Motor vehicles may be operated between the designated entrance and the designated campsite anytime camping is allowed. Motor vehicles may be operated beyond the designated campsite from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. one day prior to each archery, muzzleloading gun and spring turkey hunt. During all hunts, motor vehicles may be operated beyond the designated campsite only during hours that the check station is in operation.
- Vehicles may be operated only on named roads.
- 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 airboats, tracked vehicles, all-terrain vehicles or unlicensed and unregistered motorcycles is prohibited.
- Horses are prohibited during hunting periods, but are allowed at other times with a free day-use reservation from the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
- Bicycles may be ridden only on named roads or designated bicycle trails.
- A marked footpath called the Florida Trail traverses the area. This trail is open to hikers throughout the year.
- All hunters must enter and exit the area at a designated entrance on County Road 54.
- Each day, hunters must check in prior to hunting and check out when finished hunting for the day.
- Hunting equipment may not be taken onto the WMA until after 8 a.m. the day before each archery, muzzleloading gun or spring turkey hunt and after 3 p.m. the day before each wild hog-dog and small game hunt. Hunting equipment shall be removed by 8 p.m. the last day of each hunt, except spring turkey when equipment shall be removed by 5 p.m. (Vehicle access beyond the designated campsite is not allowed prior to wild hog-dog or small game hunts.)
- Hunters must check all game harvested.
- No deer, wild hog or turkey shall be dismembered until checked at the check station.
- Check station hours during hunts are 5:30 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 8 p.m. and the spring turkey season when hours are 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday and 5:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday during Eastern Daylight Saving Time and 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday and 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday during Eastern Standard Time. The day prior to archery, muzzleloading gun and spring turkey hunts, check station hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Only shotguns and air guns are allowed for hunting during the small game season.
- Only bows, crossbows and shotguns are allowed for hunting during the spring turkey season.
- Only shotguns, centerfire handguns and air guns are allowed for hunting during the wild hog-dog season.
- 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 are allowed.
- Hunting at night with a gun is prohibited.
- 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.
- 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, centerfire handguns, muzzleloading guns, 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 with dogs, other than bird dogs is prohibited, except dogs may be used for hunting small game (quail, rabbit, squirrel and migratory birds) during small game season and dogs may be used during the wild hog-dog season.
- Hunting wild hog with dogs is prohibited except 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.
- Prohibited except at the designated campsite during the times listed in #2.
- Archery and muzzleloading gun: Camping is allowed beginning at 8 a.m. one day prior to each hunt until 8 p.m. on the last day of each hunt. Wild hog-dog and small game: Camping is allowed beginning at 3 p.m. one day prior to each hunt until 8 p.m. on the last day of each hunt. Spring turkey: Camping is allowed beginning at 8 a.m. one day prior to each hunt until 5 p.m. on the last day of each hunt.
- Camping equipment is prohibited on the WMA, except when camping is allowed.
- Only tents, trailers or self-propelled camping vehicles may be used for camping.
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 - Daily limit 1, season 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.
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.
- Hunting with archery equipment or guns, other than shotguns, centerfire handguns and air guns, is prohibited.
December 1-2, 8-9, 29-30 and January 5-6.
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), 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, 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.
January 12-13, 19-20, 26-27 and February 2-3
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit, hunting license, management area permit, muzzleloading gun 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, bobcat, otter 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.
February 16-17, 23-24 and March 2-3.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Daily quota permit, hunting license, management area permit and migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds).
Legal to Hunt - Wild hog, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria and migratory birds in season. Bobcat and otter through February 24.
Regulations Unique to Small Game Season -
- Only shotguns may be used for hunting, except air guns may be used for hunting wildlife (other than quail and migratory birds).
- Small game (quail, rabbit, squirrel and migratory birds) may be hunted with dogs.
- Hunting wild hog with dogs is prohibited.
March 20-21, 27-28, April 3-4, 10-11 and 17-18.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Daily quota permit, hunting license, management area permit and wild turkey permit.
Legal to Hunt - Bearded turkey or gobbler.
Regulations Unique to Spring Turkey Season - In addition to these regulations, all General Area Regulations shall apply.
- 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 - Quota permit 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.
- Centerfire shotguns are allowed for hunting during established area seasons when migratory birds are legal to hunt.
Allowed year round.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Fishing license (not required when 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 863-648-3200 (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 Water Management District 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.
- 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.
- The consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited on this area.
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.