Brochure | Map Only
This brochure is designed to provide the public with information and a summary of regulations pertaining to hunting and other recreational use on the Emeralda Marsh Public Small Game Hunting Area (PSGHA). Regulations that are new or differ substantially from last year are shown in bold print. Area users should familiarize themselves with all regulations. For exact wording of the wildlife laws and regulations, see the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s wildlife code, on file with the Secretary of State and state libraries. This brochure and the Florida Hunting Regulations handbook should provide the information necessary for you to plan your hunting activities. These publications are available from any Commission office, county tax collector and at MyFWC.com.
Persons using PSGHAs are required to have appropriate licenses, permits and stamps. The following persons are exempt from all license and permit requirements (except for the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp [federal duck stamp]): Florida residents who are 65 years of age or older; residents who possess a Florida Resident Disabled Person Hunting and Fishing Certificate; residents in the U.S. Armed Forces, not stationed in Florida, while home on leave for 30 days or less, upon submission of orders; and children under 16 years of age. Children under 16 years of age are exempt from the federal duck stamp. Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975 and 16 years of age or older must have passed a Commission-approved hunter-safety course prior to being issued a hunting license, except the Hunter Safety Mentoring exemption allows anyone to purchase a hunting license and hunt under the supervision of a licensed hunter, 21 years of age or older, for one year.
Licenses and permits may be purchased from county tax collectors, license agents, at MyFWC.com/license or by telephone at 888-486-8356. A no-cost Migratory Bird Permit is available when purchasing a hunting license. Any waterfowl hunter 16 years of age or older must possess a federal duck stamp; available where hunting licenses are sold, at most post offices or at www.duckstamp.com.
Quota permit information:
Quota permits are not required for this area.
General area regulations:
All general laws and regulations relating to wildlife and fish shall apply unless specifically exempted for this area. Hunting or the taking of wildlife or fish on this area shall be allowed only during the open seasons and in accordance with the following regulations:
- It is illegal to hunt over bait or place any bait or any other food for wildlife on this area.
- Taking or attempting to take any game with the aid of live decoys, recorded game calls or sounds, set guns, artificial light, net, trap, snare, drug or poison is prohibited.
- The wanton and willful waste of wildlife is prohibited.
- Public access is prohibited on any portion of the area posted as “Closed” or “Restricted.”
- Taking or herding wildlife from any motorized vehicle, aircraft or boat which is under power is prohibited, until power and movement from that power, has ceased.
- The release of any animal is prohibited, without written authorization of the landowner or primary land manager.
- Littering is prohibited.
- It is unlawful to set fire to any forest, grass or woodlands.
- A Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Law Enforcement Officer may search any vehicle or boat, in accordance with law.
- Construction or use of permanent blinds or structures is prohibited.
- Tampering with or destruction of equipment (including signs), improvements, and water control structures is prohibited.
- No person shall cut or destroy any tree on, or remove any tree, shrub or protected plant from this area without written permission from St. Johns River Water Management District (SJRWMD).
Public access, vehicles and vessels:
- Public access for purposes other than hunting, fishing or frogging is regulated by SJRWMD.
- Vehicles are allowed only on named or numbered roads and in designated parking areas. During the hunting season, only hunters are allowed to have vehicles in Area 3.
- On scheduled hunt days, vehicles are allowed only from 4 a.m. to sunset. On scouting dates (Sept. 21, Nov. 16 and Feb. 1), vehicles are allowed only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Outside of these dates and times, vehicles are prohibited, but scouting on foot or by bicycle is allowed.
- Vehicles in Area 3 shall follow one-way traffic rules as shown on the map.
- Possession or use of airboats, tracked vehicles, all-terrain vehicles and unlicensed and unregistered motorcycles is prohibited.
- Use of outboard motors larger than 40 horsepower is prohibited.
- Parked vehicles may not obstruct a road, gate or boat ramp area.
- Boats shall be launched and loaded from the designated boat ramps and boat launches.
- Horseback riding is allowed only in Area 6.
Hunters and check stations:
- Please report your leg bands to 800-327-BAND or at reportband.gov.
- Hunting is prohibited in areas posted as “Closed to Hunting.”
- Hunting equipment may not be taken onto the PSGHA until after 8 a.m. the day before the opening of a season and shall be removed by 6 p.m. one day after the end of the season.
- The discharge of a firearm outside of periods open to hunting or in areas closed to hunting is prohibited per s. 790.15 FS.
- Taking wildlife within 500 feet of any paved road, pumping facility, electric powerlines or posted construction site is prohibited.
- Taking wildlife from perimeter levees is prohibited.
- Taking wildlife with firearms other than shotguns is prohibited.
- Shotguns used for taking wildlife shall not be larger than 10 gauge and shall be incapable of holding more than three shells in magazine and chamber combined.
- Children under the age of 16 hunting with a firearm must be in the presence of a supervising adult.
- No person shall discharge a firearm or have a loaded firearm in hand while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Waterfowl retrievers, bird dogs and dogs with a shoulder height of 17 inches or less may be used for hunting during open seasons.
- For purposes other than hunting, dogs are allowed but must be kept under physical restraint at all times.
Bag and possession limits:
- Waterfowl – Daily bag limit during special September duck season is 4 ducks with species restrictions. Daily bag limit during regular duck season is 6 ducks with species restrictions, 5 merganser (only 2 of which may be a hooded merganser), 15 light geese, 5 Canada geese and 15 coot. Consult Migratory Game Bird Regulations (including possession limits) for detailed information on special September duck season and duck, light goose and coot season.
- Snipe – Daily bag limit 8, possession limit 16.
Waterfowl and snipe seasons:
Special September duck season: Sept. 22-26. Snipe and duck, goose and coot seasons: Nov. 17, 18, 21, 24, and 25;Dec. 8, 9, 12, 15, 16, 19, 22, 23, 26, 29 and 30;January 2, 5, 6, 9, 12, 13, 16, 19, 20, 23, 26 and 27. Youth hunt: February 2 and 3.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements – Hunting license, management area permit, migratory bird permit, state waterfowl permit and federal duck stamp (if hunting waterfowl).
Legal to Take – Wood duck, teal and Canada geese during special September duck season; duck, geese and coot during duck, goose and coot season and the Youth Hunt; and snipe during snipe season.
Regulations Unique to Waterfowl and Snipe Seasons - In addition to these regulations, all General Area Regulations shall apply.
- Hunting duck, geese and coot with lead shot is prohibited.
- Shooting hours are ½ hour before sunrise until noon.
Fishing and frogging:
Allowed year round.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Fishing license (not required when frogging).
Legal to Take - See Florida Freshwater Fishing Regulations Summary.
- The possession of cast nets or minnow lift nets is prohibited.
- The take of black bass is prohibited, except in Areas 2 and 4.
- Land surfaces underwater are irregular. Exercise caution while on foot or horseback.
- The southern levees of Area 3 have several electrical high-power pumping facilities. These pumps start and stop automatically, creating high water flows and turbulence. Obey warning signs and do not enter the pump-restricted areas.
- The open waters of Area 5 have been stocked with fish and are navigable for small boats.
- For information regarding recreational use other than hunting, please call SJRWMD at 386-329-4404.
- Report fires to the Division of Forestry at 352-754-6757.
- Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility information is available at MyFWC.com/ADA.
- If you have any questions about this material, please call the Fish and Wildlife Commission at 352-732-1225 (TDD 800-955-8771).
- The FWC is not responsible for protection of personal property and will not be liable for theft of or damage to personal property.
Idle speed is requested within 500 feet of boat ramps.
If you see law violators or suspicious activities, contact your nearest Commission regional office or call 888-404-FWCC. You may qualify for a cash reward from the Wildlife Alert Reward Association.
The U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in any program, activity or facility as described above, or if you desire further information please write to: The Office for Human Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. 20240. The project described in this publication is part of a program funded by federal dollars under the Wildlife Restoration Act. Federal funds pay 20 percent of the cost of the program.