Skip to main content

Exemptions - Do I need a license or permit?

Who needs a recreational hunting or fishing license or permit?

Florida residents and visitors are required to possess a Florida hunting, freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing license when engaged in fishing and hunting activities. 

  • A license is required to attempt to take fish.  If you cast a line or catch and release, you need a fishing license. 
  • A saltwater fishing license is required to attempt to take any native or nonnative marine organisms, such as crabs, lobsters, and marine plants.
  • Licenses and permits are required to help or assist in the take. Someone who is passively participating (setting decoys, calling birds or baiting hooks), whether actively fishing or hunting or not, must have a license and appropriate permits.
  • Persons who are listed on the National Saltwater Angler Registry are required to have a Florida recreational fishing license unless exempt as listed below.
  • Need help choosing the right license and permits?  Visit our Frequently Asked Questions and Answers for help!

Pursuant to Florida Statute 379.354, the following individuals are EXEMPT from recreational hunting, freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing licenses as well as Florida waterfowl, migratory bird, deer, turkey, snook, spiny lobster, archery, crossbow, muzzleloading and management area permit requirements (unless noted, these exemptions do not apply to federal duck stamp requirements):

  • Youth under 16 years of age (also exempt from federal duck stamp requirements).
  • Resident seniors age 65 or older with proof of age or residency (such as a valid Florida Driver's License or ID Card) or possessing an optional Resident 65+ Hunt/Fish Certificate (available at no-cost online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or at county tax collectors' offices)
  • Those freshwater fishing or hunting in your county of residence on your homestead (or the homestead of your spouse or minor child), or if you are a minor child freshwater fishing or hunting on the homestead of your parent.
  • Florida residents certified as totally and permanently disabled who possess a Florida Resident Disabled Person's Hunting and Fishing License.
  • Florida residents who are members of the Armed Forces of the United States, who are not stationed in this state and home on leave for 30 days or less, upon submission of orders.
  • Those hunting for wild hog on private land.
  • Individuals who are observing or filming someone else who is fishing or hunting and who are not assisting (baiting hooks, reeling, setting decoys, calling birds, etc.) in the take in any way. 
  • Disabled veterans or active or reserve duty military service members and their immediate family members and assistants, who are participating in a permitted outdoor recreational event, for which the Commission has issued a Military/Disabled Veteran Event License Exemption Permit to the event organizer.

In addition, the following are exempt from a freshwater fishing license:

  • Florida residents accepted as a client for developmental disabilities services by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities.  The agency must furnish proof to such clients.
  • Those fishing in a fish pond of 20 acres or less which is located entirely within the private property of its owner.  A fish pond is a man-made pond constructed for the primary purpose of fishing, entirely within the property lines of the owner and with no surface water connection to public waters.
  • Individuals fishing in a fish pond of 20 acres or more, whose owner has purchased a fish pond license  at a fee of $3 per surface acre.
  • Individuals who possess a Resident Freshwater Commercial Fishing License.
  • Those fishing in the St. Mary's River or Lake Seminole (but not including tributary creeks in Florida) and have a valid Georgia fishing license.
  • Those freshwater fishing during free freshwater fishing days.
  • Florida residents fishing with live or natural bait, using poles or lines that are not equipped with a fishing-line-retrieval mechanism, and fishing for noncommercial purposes in their home county (does not include fish management areas within the home county).

In addition, the following are exempt from a saltwater fishing license and snook or spiny lobster permits:

  • Florida residents accepted as a client for developmental disabilities services by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities.  The agency must furnish proof to such clients.
  • Individuals saltwater fishing from a for-hire vessel (guide, charter, party boat) that has a valid charter license.
  • Those saltwater fishing from a vessel whose operator has a valid recreational saltwater vessel license issued in the name of the operator of the vessel.
  • Those saltwater fishing during a free saltwater fishing day.
  • Individuals saltwater fishing from a pier with a valid saltwater pier license.
  • Individuals who hold a valid saltwater products license or FWC charter captain license (does not apply to charter boat license or U.S. Coast Guard license or to the crew operating under any charter license or Vessel or Individual Crew SPL).
  • Florida residents who are fishing for mullet in fresh water who hold valid Florida resident freshwater fishing license.
  • Florida residents saltwater fishing from land or a structure fixed to land who have been determined eligible for the food stamp, temporary cash assistance, or Medicaid Program by the Department of Children and Families (DCF).  Proof of identification and a benefit issuance or program identification card issued by DCF or the Agency for Health Care Administration must be in possession when fishing.  A license is required when fishing from a vessel or when swimming or diving, and this exemption does not apply to freshwater fishing.
  • Florida residents saltwater fishing with live or natural bait, using poles or lines that are not equipped with a fishing-line-retrieval mechanism, for noncommercial purposes in their home county (does not include fish management areas within the home county).