FWC approves proposed hunting rule changes

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is proposing changes in hunting rules that would begin in July of 2022.

From the definition of “game birds” to the increase in the cost of recreational use permits in some areas to the protection of certain deer and turkey, the FWC is seeking input before the approval of the final version of rules in March 2022.

An online commenting tool allows hunters to weigh in on the draft proposal. After entering your name and email address, the comment tool allows for a selection of proposal categories such as “Statewide Proposals” or “North Central Region Management Area Proposal.”

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Examples of rule changes proposed in the North Central region include:

Camp Blanding: Clarify that the wild hog-dog season hunts begin 1.5 hours after sunset on the first day of each hunt and end 1.5 hours before sunrise the last day of each hunt. And clarify that wild hogs may be taken only at night with the aid of a light, dogs and a firearm but use of light display from a moving vehicle, boat or animal is prohibited.

Cedar Key Scrub: Remove the quota permit requirement during general gun season.

Steinhatchee Springs: Allow nighttime raccoon hunting during summer months (opening third Thursday in June and closing the last Sunday in August) by individuals who possess a special use permit from the Suwannee River Water Management District.

Examples of rule changes proposed statewide include turkey harvest reporting, quail season end date aligning with the gray squirrel season, hunting non-native doves and geese, and deer carcass handling.

A summary of all of the proposed changes can be found on this link.

The rules also propose an increase in recreational use permit fees for Grove Park Wildlife Management Area (WMA) from $595 to $690 each and in Gulf Hammock WMA, an increase in recreational use permit fees from $417 to $432 each.

The proposed rule for wild turkey harvest reporting, “Would require all hunters to report all harvested wild turkey to a telephone or internet-based harvest reporting system within 24 hours of harvest; and require hunters to use a harvest log to record harvest prior to moving the wild turkey from the point of harvest.”

“Harvest data obtained from harvest reporting would provide biologists with valuable information about the number of wild turkeys harvested during spring and fall seasons,” according to the FWC. “It also would provide data about when wild turkeys are being harvested and from what county or wildlife management area.”

If approved, this harvest reporting requirement would apply to spring and fall wild turkey seasons and would take effect beginning with the fall turkey season in 2022.

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