Are You Updated on the Newest Deer Season Regulations?

The 2015-16 Florida deer season ushers in new deer hunting regulations that will allow management on a more local scale so efforts are tailored to habitat quality, characteristics of the local deer herd and preferences of local hunters and other stakeholders.

Florida Panhandle BuckTo accomplish that goal, Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission established deer management units (DMUs) throughout the state, each with its own set of antler regulations and antlerless deer harvest days. The new antler regulations will protect most 1.5-year-old bucks, while allowing hunters to harvest bucks that are 2.5 years old and older, a goal hunters supported in recent surveys.

The new antler regulations apply to hunters 16 and older hunting all Florida lands — private property, public land and wildlife management areas. To encourage youth participation in hunting, a special exemption was included. Youth hunters (15 years old and younger) in all DMUs are exempt from these greater antler regulations and may continue to harvest antlered deer with at least a 5-inch antler.

Among these changes, antlerless deer seasons during general gun season on private lands have been modified for each DMU based on hunter-supported deer population goals. The new antlerless deer days reflect input from farmers, landowners and hunters, and, just like before, are only on private property and do not apply to wildlife management areas.

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