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Muzzleloading Gun Caliber (68A-12.002): Changes the minimum caliber for hunting deer with a muzzleloading gun from .40 caliber to .30 caliber. This change makes muzzleloading gun caliber regulations consistent with existing regulations for pre-charged pneumatic air guns when hunting deer.

Reallocate Youth Waterfowl Hunt Days (68A-13.003): Reallocates the 2-day youth waterfowl hunt so that one day occurs the Saturday before the regular season begins and one day occurs the second Saturday after the regular season ends. This change, from 2 consecutive days at the end of the regular waterfowl season, is intended to provide higher quality and more diverse hunting opportunities for youth within the allowable federal framework.

Expand Falconry Opportunities (68A-13.008): Expand the falconry dove season by 17 days in conformance with federal regulations.

Specific Area Rule Changes -- View the summary or the presentation of all rule changes.

Summary of Changes to Deer Hunting Regulations
The following rules were developed through extensive collaboration with staff and stakeholders and align with goals and objectives outlined in the Commission-approved strategic plan for deer management. This adaptive approach to deer management is intended to improve hunting opportunities and help maintain a healthy and reasonably balanced deer herd.

Establishes a youth deer hunting weekend on private lands
  • Coincides with first or second weekend of muzzleloading gun season
  • Youth allowed to harvest any antlered or antlerless deer with a weekend bag limit of 1 that counts toward the annual bag limit
  • Youth allowed to use any method of take legal for deer including the use of dogs to pursue deer

Adjusts the youth antlered deer exemption
  • Limits youth to 1 antlered deer annually that has at least 1 antler 5 inches or more but does not meet the DMU antler regulations

Adjusts the Antlerless Deer Permit Program
  • Requires antlerless deer program permittees to report harvest
  • Requires tagging of all antlerless deer taken on a property under the Antlerless Deer Permit Program

Establishes a deer harvest reporting system
  • Hunters required to report their own harvest within 24 hours of harvest and prior to transferring possession of a harvested deer. After using their telephone or any internet connection to report, hunters will receive a confirmation number to record on a paper harvest log (if used) or to be saved automatically on their smartphone.
  • Available 24 hours a day
  • Multiple ways of reporting will be available, including options for hunters with no access to cellular or internet connections.

Establishes an annual bag limit of 5 deer, of which no more than 2 can be antlerless, per hunter
  • Commission directed staff to report back in 3 years with bag limit evalution
  • This rule change is a response to stakeholder input.
  • Deer harvested under the following programs are excluded from the bag limit - Deer depredation permit program, Private Lands Deer Management Program, Antlerless Deer Permit Program

Stock Image  courtesy of FWC

2019 North America Sportshows
Florida Commission Approves 2019 Hunting Rule Changes -  Includes Several Dealing With Deer Hunting

Submitted by:  Backcountry Press Outdoor News 
Posted on: 02/25/19
News # 12308
At its February meeting, the Commission approved rule changes regarding FWC-managed public hunting areas as well as statewide hunting proposals, including many dealing with deer hunting.

Draft rule amendments for changes to hunting regulations were approved by the Commission at the December 2018 Commission meeting. Rule changes are based on requests from staff, cooperators and stakeholders. Stakeholder input on proposed changes was sought throughout the rulemaking process to achieve regulations based on hunter preference and sound science to ensure sustainability.

Summary of changes to statewide hunting and FWC-managed public hunting areas:
Statewide rule changes
Spring Turkey Shooting Hours (68A-15.004): Extends shooting hours during spring turkey seasons on most WMAs from one-half hour before sunrise until sunset. This was proposed after a 3-year pilot study on 16 WMAs across the state where this change was made.  Hunting during these times is already allowed on private lands.

Remove Archery Hunting Restrictions (68A-12.002): Allows the use of bows equipped with electronic computational (rangefinders) or light projection (laser) sights or aiming devices for hunting game or crows during archery season. These accessories are already allowed on archery equipment used during other established seasons.

Florida Commission Approves 2019 Hunting Rule Changes