Know your hunting license requirements before you hunt deer this fall


On the last weekend of October, a trendy deer season is underway across much of Florida. The variety of hunting opportunities in this state is astounding, from adventures on private land to exploring the six million acres of public land in the Panhandle to the Everglades with special seasons dedicated to centerfire weapons, gear muzzle loading and archery equipment.

FWC has worked diligently over the past decade to tailor quality deer management to quality hunting experiences. Fulfilling this task, however, requires funding, and funding is generated through license and permit fees. Funds from deer permits, for example, are used to support research on deer and their habitat as well as to monitor the Florida herd for chronic wasting disease.

Different seasons come with different licensing requirements and, often, confusion. Many people don’t realize that special permits are tied to the season, not necessarily the weapon used.

For example, an archery license is not required to hunt with an archery during general gun season on private land. If you hunt crossbow season with a compound bow, you must purchase a crossbow season permit. An archery license alone will not suffice. And just because an archery hunt on public lands takes place during a general gun season, it doesn’t allow the use of guns.

To sum it all up, FWC has compiled the following list of licensing requirements for each season of deer. I also added which weapons are allowed. To avoid repetitions and word count of what the FWC has posted on its website, be aware that a limited entry / quota hunting permit may be required to participate in designated hunts in certain management areas. of wildlife (WMA). The lottery for these takes place in June.

Additionally, most, but not all, WMAs require a management zone permit and special regulations. Read these brochures carefully at

Ian Nance shows a buck caught during the muzzleloading season.

Archery season: Florida hunting license, deer license and archery season license. Only arcs can be used.

Crossbow season: A Florida hunting license, a deer license and a crossbow season license. Only crossbows and bows can be used. In most WMAs there is no crossbow season and only people with a disabled crossbow license are allowed to use crossbows during archery season with a zone permit. Management.

Muzzleloading season: A Florida hunting license, a deer license and a muzzleloader license. Only muzzle-loading cannons fired with a wheel lock, flintlock, percussion primer or centerfire primer (including 209 caps) and crossbows and bows may be used. Muzzleloading rifles designed to allow loading from the accelerator (gunpowder) to the breech can be used during the muzzle-loading seasons.

General gun season: Florida hunting license and deer license. Centerfire rifles, shotguns, centerfire pistols, muzzle-loading pistols, preloaded air rifles, crossbows and bows can be used.

Of course, if you are worried about what licenses you will need, FWC has a selection of combination license packages that will cover all your outdoor wants and needs, such as the Gold Sportsman, as well as lifetime licenses.

For more information on deer hunting regulations in Florida, please visit



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