Deer hunters get better-aligned zones, season dates
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Media contact: Tony Young, 850-488-7867
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission (FWC) passed new rules Wednesday affecting deer hunters,
beginning with the 2010-11 season. The new rules modified zone
boundaries and season dates for deer hunting on private
"These changes will better align the deer hunting
seasons with the rut and are intended to increase hunter
satisfaction," said Cory Morea, Deer Management Program
Coordinator for the FWC's Division of Hunting and Game
Morea noted that the majority of stakeholders
supported these measures.
Todd Hallman of the Florida Sportsmen's
Conservation Association expressed one concern: "The South Region
is a different animal. You're going to have us hunting in hotter,
not cooler weather," he said of the hunting season changes.
The boundary separating what used to be called the
Northwest Hunting Zone (renamed Zone D) from the Central Zone
(renamed Zone C) has been moved a little farther west.
The new line dividing zones C and D begins at U.S.
27 at the Gadsden County/Georgia state line and runs south on U.S.
27 until it meets S.R. 61 in Tallahassee. From there, it
follows S.R. 61, running south until it hits U.S. 319. There,
the line follows U.S. 319, continuing south to U.S. 98; it then
runs east along U.S. 98 before turning south on Spring Creek
Highway and continuing to the Gulf of Mexico.
Changes to season dates on Zone D push opening day
of archery season back one week. The first phase of muzzleloading
gun season will have four additional days and move from November to
December, where it will fill a gap that was previously closed to
deer hunting in that zone. As a result, Zone D will have
continuous deer hunting opportunities from the beginning of archery
through the last phase of muzzleloading gun season, and total deer
hunting days have been increased from 123 to 128.
Zone C's new deer hunting season dates will begin
one week earlier; archery season will begin on the third Saturday
in September every year. Twelve days were added to give Zone
C a total of 128 deer-hunting days.
New rules also create an additional hunting zone,
made up in part by the Green Swamp Basin. This fourth zone,
which previously was the southwest portion of the Central Hunting
Zone, will be Zone B. This new zone lies south of S.R. 50,
west of U.S. 441 and the Kissimmee Waterway, north of S.R. 60 and
east of the Gulf of Mexico.
Zone B was created because the deer in that area
have a much later breeding period. Deer hunting in this new
zone will start with archery, beginning on the third Saturday of
October each year, and run through the general gun season, ending
Zone A (formerly the South Hunting Zone) remains
that portion of the state south of S.R. 70. Its deer season
will start nearly a month and a half earlier than before, with July
31 as the opening day of archery next season. The other major
change is that there will be a split general gun season. Deer
hunting will be closed five weeks next season, between Oct. 18 and
Nov. 19, and reopen every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving
and always ending on the first Sunday in January. Depending
on how the dates fall in each year, Zone A's total deer hunting
days will be between 121 and 128, an increase from 116
These changes to Florida's private land
deer-hunting zones and season dates take into account hunter
suggestions and updated biological data, aiming to increase
hunter satisfaction. The new zones and corresponding dates
are now better aligned with when deer breed throughout the
According to law, Florida's fall turkey season
dates are based on each zone's general gun seasons.
Therefore, since the FWC passed rules that added a fourth hunting
zone and modified existing zones and corresponding general gun
season dates, the fall turkey season dates also have been modified
to reflect the new zones.
Next season, the fall turkey season will be:
- Zone A: Oct. 4-17, 2010 and Nov. 20, 2010 -
Jan. 2, 2011
- Zone B: Dec. 4, 2010 - Jan. 30, 2011
- Zone C: Nov. 6, 2010 - Jan. 2, 2011
- Zone D: Nov. 25-28, 2010 and Dec. 11, 2010 -
Jan. 16, 2011