News Releases

Florida deer hunters will see benefit as zones, dates change

News Release

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Media contact: Stan Kirkland, 850-265-3676

Although hunting season dates for wildlife management areas are slightly out of sync with the zonal hunt dates on private lands, the situation is only temporary. By next year, hunting season dates will be more closely aligned with the rut - the period when deer are breeding.

In February 2010, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted to realign the state's deer hunting zones, including creation of a fourth zone.  The zones have been renamed A-D.

Most of the former Northwest Hunting Zone is now Zone D.  The Central Zone was renamed Zone C.

The 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 State Road 61 in Tallahassee.  From there it follows S.R. 61, running south until it hits U.S. 319.  It follows U.S. 319 south to U.S. 98; then east along U.S. 98 before turning south on Spring Creek Highway and continuing to the Gulf of Mexico.

"The changes to the state's hunting zones align the deer hunting seasons more closely with the rut," said Cory Morea, deer management coordinator for the FWC's Division of Hunting and Game Management.

The new deer hunting zones and season dates for private lands are in the 2010-2011 Florida Hunting Regulations handbook, as well as online at MyFWC.com/Hunting.  However, some hunters are asking the FWC why wildlife management area hunt dates are slightly out of sync with the zonal hunt dates.

"Adjusting hunting season dates was designed to be a two-phase project," Morea said.  "In 2009, FWC staff worked with stakeholders, held several public meetings and incorporated public comments to adjust zones and zonal seasons.  We have since been working with stakeholders, cooperators and the public on adjusting seasons on WMAs.

"You can call this a 'transitional year.' The 2011-2012 deer hunting seasons on WMAs will more closely match the dates for the new statewide zones," Morea added.  "However, there still will be some differences between WMAs and zonal seasons, since hunter preferences are being used to set season dates."

In 2008, the FWC approved a new deer management plan that outlines a 10-year strategic direction.  The adoption of new deer hunting zones and seasons is the latest of a number of projects related to the plan. The entire plan, including proposed season dates for 2011-12, can be viewed at MyFWC.com/Deer.



FWC Facts:
It is common for closely related species such as bluegill (bream) and redear sunfish (shellcracker) to hybridize or spawn with each other.

Learn More at AskFWC