Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) has been detected in Florida. If you see a sick or abnormally thin deer or deer dead of unknown causes, please report its location to the CWD hotline: (866) CWD-WATCH (293-9282).
An Executive Order has been issued, which contains additional information affecting captive game farms, hunt preserves, and rehabilitators.
For additional information regarding CWD and the CWD event in Florida, visit our CWD page.
Breeding Game Birds and Game Mammals
Persons interested in propagating game birds and game mammals for commercial or private use must first obtain a Permit to Operate a Game Farm (GFL) from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. The cost of the license is $50 per year.
Applicants for a GFL must submit application online through Go Outdoors Florida (GOF).
- Instructions for using GOF (creating an account and submitting an application)
- Game Farm Regulations
- Mallard Possession Permits
- Captive-Reared Waterfowl
- Releasing Game for Hunting
- USFWS Three Antelope Species Ruling Memorandum
- Regulations for Trapping and Transporting Feral Swine
This licensing requirement does not apply to:
- The possession, protection, propagation, raising or production of bison for commercial farming purposes.
- The possession, propagation, raising or production of 100 or fewer, live bob-white quail or non-native game birds (except non-native ducks and geese) for personal use, consumption, educational, dog training or other not-for-sale or exhibition purpose.
- Persons purchasing or receiving eggs for food or consumptive purposes.
A game farm may not exceed 2,000 acres of land owned or leased by the applicant and no two game farms may be joined. In order to raise native and exotic deer, applicants must erect an eight-foot high, deer-proof fence. Game farms must be fenced in such a manner so that domestic game, thereon, may not escape and wild game from surrounding lands may not enter. This fencing requirement does not apply when breeding game birds only. Stock for game farm operations must be captive reared, purchased from a game farm or other licensed entity, and may not be taken from the wild.
Please visit our Rules and Regulations page for additional regulations pertaining to game farms.
Sale of Venison
Non-native deer meat (venison) may be sold uncooked to the public. The sale of packaged, uncooked, non-native venison through grocery stores and other outlets is authorized under Rule 68A-12.004, Florida Administrative Code. The packages must be properly labeled in the manner required by the rule and appropriate documentation of legal source of acquisition must be maintained by the person possessing the venison for commercial purposes. The packages must be "tamper proof." A zip-lock, plastic bag does not meet the "tamper proof' requirements. However, plastic wrap packaging or other package types are acceptable, provided the container cannot be readily opened and resealed. We suggest placing a label or tape around the package to render it "tamper proof."
For more information regarding the sale of venison view, Rule 68A-12.004, Florida Administrative Code, Possession or Sale of Birds or Mammals.
Enclosure Requirements for Game Animals
(7) Facility requirements:
(a) Game farm boundaries shall not exceed an area of 2,000 acres and shall be owned or leased by the applicant. No game farm shall join, connect to or share a common fence with another game farm.
(b) Shelter shall be provided to all game birds and mammals.
- For game mammals, such shelter shall provide no less than 10 square feet of full shade per animal, which is continuously available and sufficient to cover the body mass of all animals in any posture housed within any enclosure. Access to bodies of water for cooling should be considered for those species which will utilize it. Shade can be provided by different structures over the course of the day.
- For game birds, such shelter shall provide full shade which is continuously available and sufficient to cover the body mass of all animals housed within any enclosure. Shade can be provided by different structures over the course of the day.
(c) All game farms enclosures shall be fenced in such a manner that game thereon cannot escape and wild game on surrounding lands cannot enter. Perimeter fencing shall meet the following criteria:
- Fencing for game mammals:
- Fence construction materials shall consist of not less than 12.5-gauge high-tensile class III galvanized steel wire with fixed knots or strength-equivalent material, and shall be attached to posts at no less than 5 equidistant locations with clips, staples, ties or other means used to connect fencing to posts that are a minimum of 14.5 gauge or strength equivalent material. For Class I Bovidae, construction materials shall meet the requirements of subsection 68A-6.011(3), F.A.C.
- Fence shall be no less than 8 feet in height, unless specified elsewhere. Fences may be installed up to 3 inches above the ground, provided that a strand of high-tensile barbed wire not less than 15.5 gauge is strung across the bottom. In addition, 1 strand of high-tensile barbed wire not less than 15.5 gauge may be strung no greater than 6 inches above the fence panel in order to achieve the 8-foot height requirement. Licensees shall maintain minimum fence height by leveling built up earthen material which has migrated to the base of the fence due to natural causes.
- Fence(s) shall be constructed of single panels of fencing material. Such fencing material shall be attached to singular construction posts no greater than 25 feet apart in a manner that ensures the fence maintains an above ground 8-foot vertical height, unless specified elsewhere, so as to prevent escape. The posts shall be securely anchored and braced at corners and elsewhere as necessary to keep fence properly stretched and erect.
- Fencing material shall have no greater than 7 inches between manufactured knots and be free of broken wires or gaps.
- Mounding type predator barriers shall not extend outward from the base of the perimeter fence more than 28 inches and not be higher than 20 inches from the ground. Predator barriers shall not provide increased accessibility for non-predator species into fenced enclosure.
(d) Minimum caging requirements for game mammals:
- Caging shall be designed and built to prevent injury and escape.
- Nest boxes and dens shall be built to allow for accurate inventory.
- Cervidae (deer family) and cursorial Bovidae (antelope):
- Large (e.g., elk, sambar, red deer, sable antelope, eland, wildebeest, and deer and antelope of similar size): For one or two animals, a paddock enclosing 1,250 square feet, 8 feet high. For each additional animal, increase paddock by 25% of the original footage, not to exceed 25 animals per acre.
- Medium (e.g., white-tailed, fallow, axis, sika, pronghorn, deer and antelope of similar size): For one or two animals, a paddock enclosing 800 square feet, 8 feet high. For each additional animal, increase paddock by 25 percent of the original footage, not to exceed 50 animals per acre.
- Small (e.g., roe, dik-dik, muntjac, brocket, pudu, Chinese water deer, musk deer, deer and antelope of similar size): For one or two animals, a paddock enclosing 450 square feet, 5 feet high. For each additional animal, increase paddock by 25% of the original footage, not to exceed 75 animals per acre, except in accordance with paragraph (9)(c) below.
- Wild swine (Suidae) and peccaries: For one or two animals, a paddock enclosing 200 square feet, 4 feet high. For each additional animal, increase paddock by 25% of the original footage.
- Wild goats/sheep (Caprinae): For one or two animals, a paddock enclosing 500 square feet, 8 feet high. For each additional animal, increase paddock by 25% of the original footage.
(e) Enclosures for game birds shall:
- Be constructed of materials sufficient to prevent escape or injury of birds.
- Provide protection from predators.
- Provide adequate space to allow the birds to have normal postural movements, stand erect and turn around without touching the sides of the enclosure or other wildlife.