News Releases

Difference in opening dates for private, public hunt lands is temporary

News Release

Friday, September 17, 2010

Media contact: Karen Parker, 386-758-0525

Archery season opens Sept. 18 on private lands in the North Central Region and runs through Oct. 17.  But for some of the region's wildlife management areas (WMAs), archery season doesn't begin until Sept. 25.

Although some hunters have expressed concern about the different opening dates, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) said the situation is only temporary.

"One thing we want folks to remember is that this is a transitional year for some WMAs, where the season-opening days differ from private lands' opening days," said Matthew Chopp, public hunting areas biologist.

In 2008, the FWC approved a new deer management plan that outlines a 10-year strategic direction. The FWC has been working on a number of projects related to this plan, with the most recent one being the adoption of new zones and seasons for deer hunting. These changes align season dates more closely with the times of peak deer-breeding activity. One objective of this project is to increase hunter satisfaction.

The new deer hunting zones and seasons are in effect for private lands during the 2010-2011 hunting season. The FWC proposes to align the deer seasons on WMAs with the new statewide zonal seasons in 2011-2012.

The proposed, aligned season dates for the 2011-2012 hunting season are posted at MyFWC.com/Deer.

"We hosted nine public meetings across the state and gathered information online to get public input on aligning WMA seasons. After considering public comments and input from stakeholders and cooperators, FWC staff adjusted seasons on 12 areas," said Cory Morea, FWC biologist and deer management program coordinator.

"We want to make things even better for the public-land hunters," said Morea. "Adjusting some of these dates so that seasons occur closer to peak deer activity or during holidays should increase hunter satisfaction. But, at the same time, we don't want to fix something that isn't broken.  Hunters have told us that on some areas the seasons are timed just right, so we don't recommend making any changes to those areas."

The 17 counties comprising the FWC's North Central Region are all within the new Zone C.

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.

The boundary separating what used to be called the Northwest Hunting Zone (now Zone D) from the Central Zone (now Zone C) has been moved a little farther west. The new line begins at U.S. 27 at the Gadsden County-Georgia state line and runs south on U.S. 27 until it meets State Road 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.

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 A (formerly the South Hunting Zone) remains that portion of the state south of S.R. 70.

"Because regulations do differ on FWC-managed areas, it's always a good idea to check the hunting dates on these locations," Chopp said.



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