Florida – From a Deer Hunter’s POV

Posted: 08/08/2012 in Archery, Hunting, Legal, News, Regulations
Tags: , , ,

This is an ongoing series looking at each state from the point of view of a nonresident hunter trying to find information about deer hunting, the basic explanation is HERE.

Florida

Is the information easy to find?

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission web site is at the top of the search results.

Grade: A

Website: is it easy to use and understand?

The information a nonresident would need, how much, when to hunt, and where to hunt, is easy to find, with a logical format.  At this point, I can’t find anything that would count as a negative with this web site.

Grade: A

Does the state hold a lottery system for non-residents or are over the counter licenses available?

There are quota hunts for limited access and/or limited population game on some WMA’s. however there are also over the counter licenses available, and it’s important to note that the game limit is two deer per DAY for over the counter licenses.  (Please read the daily bag limit page carefully, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but the important part is that instead of per year, these are per DAY.)  I’m not having any difficulty finding information, which is the way a web site should be.

Grade: A

How much does it cost to hunt, and is there a short term license available?

Annual hunting licenses for residents are currently  $17.00, while nonresident hunting licenses are $151.50. Florida offers a nonresident 10 day license for $46.50, which is VERY reasonable considering you can harvest 20 deer in that period if you’re that good.  However, please note that there are separate fees for wildlife management areas, deer tags, archery hunting, muzzleloading and crossbow hunting.  Except for the Wildlife Management Area permit, which is $26.50, the rest of the fees are $5.00 each.  Clearly, Florida wants and welcomes hunters with open arms, because that is the most reasonable fee structure I’ve seen so far, though a ’10 day combo’ license for $100 that covers all of the hunting options would save Florida processing fees, and the rest of us the minor headache of filling out all the paperwork.

Grade: A

Are the hunting seasons easy to find and laid out in a logical manner?

The hunting seasons and bag limits page is easy to read, though I would suggest rearranging the table format by species, so that instead of having long, mostly empty columns, the overall table would say ‘Deer,’  with ‘archery,’ ‘crossbow,’ ‘muzzleloader’ etc down the left side, and simple dates across.  This would eliminate roughly 40% of the dead space on the page.  That’s a simple style comment, however, the system Florida has in place is readable and simple to understand, which is the way it should be.

Grade: A

Is public hunting available, if so, are the rules different? If the rules are different, are they easy to understand?

Public hunting is readily available in Florida, with links to each area laid out by geographical location within the state, Northwest, North Central, North East, Southwest and South.  Each link within these regions, such as Juniper Creek WMA, provides the information needed for area-specific rules and regulations as well as a simple map.  The regulations are provided in a format that is logical and simple to follow, however a simple improvement would be to add a second, concise copy of the rules to the map PDF as a second page, allowing hunters to print both.  The map is somewhat simple, with roads and major features provided, however a topographical map would be of more use to most hunters. What I do find interesting, however, is that there are food plots plainly marked on the map, which I haven’t seen so far out of any state game agency.

Grade: A

Are there major issues in hunting this state as a non-resident?

Unless you plan far in advance and don’t take hurricane season into consideration, I don’t see a single thing that would stop me from hunting Florida, and hurricanes aren’t Florida’s fault.  The web site is properly formatted, information is easy to find, the prices are very affordable, and there is a very small chance of icicles hanging off of any hunter’s nether regions, which can be a worry in some locations.

Grade: A

Summary: Final Grade A

Florida has certainly paid attention to the conservation dollars hunters, both residents and nonresidents, bring to the state.  Anyone with even modest computer and internet skills can find the information they would need to plan and get licensed to hunt, print the maps of the area they are planning to visit, and explore the regulations that may affect hunt planning if hunting on a wildlife management area. The costs are low, the bag limit is generous, and the seasons are simple to understand.   Now if only they could do something about the mosquitos…

 Previous states:  AlabamaAlaskaArizonaArkansasCaliforniaColoradoConnecticut, Delaware

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