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