More states are implementing deer management zones and regulations as the desire for intense or zone-specific regulations ramps up in some parts of the country, but wildlife agencies want input from hunters about proposed changes.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission seeks input and invites the public to a series of meetings starting April 1 on deer management in hunting zones B and C in north and central Florida.
The FWC is in the process of establishing deer management units (DMUs) throughout the state. DMUs are intended to allow the FWC more flexibility with deer management based upon deer populations, habitat conditions and public preference within each of the units.
All meetings are from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the following locations and dates:
- Chiefland – Tuesday, April 1, at the Tommy Usher Community Center, 506 SW 4th Ave.
- Monticello – Thursday, April 3, at the Monticello Opera House, 185 W. Washington St.
- Sebring – Monday, April 7, at Chateau Elan, 150 Midway Drive.
- Lakeland – Tuesday, April 8, at the Ramada Lakeland Hotel and Conference Center, 3260 U.S. Highway 98 N.
- Tampa – Wednesday, April 9, at the Southwest Florida Water Management District, Tampa Governing Board Room, 7601 U.S. Hwy. 301 N.
- Lake City – Monday, April 21, at the Holiday Inn Lake City, 213 SW Commerce Drive.
- DeLand – Wednesday, April 23, at First Baptist Church of DeLand, 725 N. Woodland Blvd.
- Vero Beach – Thursday, April 24, at Bethel Creek House, 4405 Hwy. A1A.
At the meetings, plans for using DMUs will be explained and all participants will have an opportunity to provide input. The FWC seeks public preferences on deer management options such as the size of the population, greater antler regulations, bag limits, antlerless deer days and other deer-related issues.
Following the public meetings, four technical assistance groups will be formed, made up of members of the public. These groups will meet and work to create goals and objectives for deer management in their respective DMUs. Anyone interested in being on one of these groups will get the opportunity to apply.
For those who cannot attend any of the meetings, there will be follow-up opportunities to participate in a webinar and to view an online presentation where comments may be submitted. Information on all of this will be available soon at MyFWC.com/Deer.
More information about the proposed DMUs, technical assistance groups and a meeting agenda is at MyFWC.com/Deer. Also, results and a final report from previous such meetings that took place in the Panhandle and South Florida can be found there.
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