The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has expanded hunting opportunities on private lands and on nearly 6 million acres of its public-hunting wildlife management area system.
New rules also include allowing the use of air guns to take rabbits and gray squirrels, and make a slight modification to the boundary line between hunting zones C and D, south of Tallahassee.
Two new WMAs in the FWC’s Southwest Region of the state were established and go into effect July 1. Both properties are owned by the Southwest Florida Water Management District and will offer hunting and other outdoor recreational opportunities.
Lower Hillsborough WMA in Hillsborough County is 2,775 acres, and Weekiwachee WMA is a 2,850-acre tract within Hernando County.
“The specific changes to the quota system were made in response to requests from hunters and to increase opportunity and hunter satisfaction for WMA quota hunt participants,” FWC Division of Hunting and Game Management Director Diane Eggeman said. “Changes to the quota system adjust the bag limit on deer and spring turkey quota hunts on 39 WMAs to better accommodate guest hunters.”
Other changes allow a quota permit holder the flexibility to take a different guest each day of a quota hunt. The old rule allowed for only one person to make use of the guest permit for each quota hunt.
Another change to the quota system for next hunting season allows the reinstatement of hunters’ preference points only if they electronically return their unused quota permits 10 days or more prior to the first day of the quota hunt. This change will allow such returned permits to be reissued to other hunters on a weekly basis, instead of once a month, ensuring that more hunters are able to participate in the hunts.