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What Can You Hunt in Florida? 5 Common Game Species

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hunter on the field

Florida’s 38 million acres of public land make it an attractive spot for hunters. The state is home to many big and small game animals, estimated at about 250 wildlife and game species.

The state authority, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has some strict rules and regulations regarding bag limits and weapons possessions. Yet, the state welcomes hundreds of hunters every year. So, what are the most common game species in Florida?

Typically, small game hunting is more prevalent among hunters, including raccoons, squirrels, opossums, and rabbits. The state also allows the hunting of wild turkey, deer, wild hog, and many waterfowl species. You can use bows, shotguns, or rifles to take down larger animals.

So, let’s look at some common game species in Florida and know the legal restrictions for their hunting.

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The 5 Game Species to Hunt in Florida

Florida sees many wild animals and birds all year round. Here are 5 game species in Florida that you can hunt:

1. Wild turkey

turkey in the grass
Image Credit: create219, Pixabay
Time of Hunting: August to October
Hunting Weapons Allowed: Bow
Limit: Two daily

Wild turkeys are a popular game bird in the entire US. You can find a rare type of turkey in Florida, Osceola, which is only seen in the peninsula area of the state. In addition, you can also hunt some other turkey subspecies in Florida, including gobbler and bearded turkeys.

In Florida, you can go out in the woods in early August and stay there till October for turkey hunting. This is the peak time for hunting in Florida, so you may see many fellow hunters practicing this sport.

If you want to take down wild turkeys, you’d need a turkey hunting license. Of course, you’d already have it if you’re a seasoned hunter. But otherwise, you can contact the FWC to get more information about it.

2. White-Tailed Deer

white tailed deer
Image Credit: Daina Krumins, Pixabay
Time of Hunting: August
Hunting Weapons Allowed: Archery or crossbow
Limit: Two daily

White-tailed deer are another highly demanded game species in Florida. Hunters from all over the world know that Florida hosts the most gorgeous yet delicious species of deer. This is why you may find many fellow hunters taking down these animals like a pro.

Hunters usually use a crossbow for deer hunting since it allows them to quickly sneak into bow range without alarming the animal. However, you can also use rifles or shotguns to take down the best whitetail bucks in Florida.

If you’re an amateur, you may take a lot of time excelling at deer hunting. You’d need to be persistent and understand the best time for hunting deer in your area. You should also know the ins and outs of the deer hunting season to return full handed.

Florida laws for deer hunting are also quite strict. You can’t hunt on private property without the permission of the owner. For that, you’d need a specific license or tag. In case of violation, you may have to bear prison time and a considerable fine.

3. Wild Hog

wild hog eating
Image Credit: Richard Batka, Pixabay
Time of Hunting: Throughout the year
Hunting Weapons Allowed: Any
Limit: None

Hog hunting is a year-round event in Florida. The state hosts many feral or wild hogs in the woods, which you can easily hunt in late winter and spring. During this time, the hogs are present in abundance.

The good thing is that hunting these game species in Florida comes with more flexibility. For example, you don’t have to obtain a hunting license to take down hogs on private lands. However, you’d definitely need the owner’s permission.

The public land that comes under the FWC does have some regulations. You can hunt with any weapon in any allowed hunting season with no bag limits. So, you can surely return with a bag full of hogs.

Remember that you can’t wild hogs at night in areas supervised by wildlife management.

4. Ducks and Other Waterfowl

mallard duck in flight
Image Credit: rolandmey, Pixabay
Time of Hunting: Throughout the year
Hunting Weapons Allowed: Any weapon
Limit: Varies depending on the species

Florida doesn’t only have native game species but migratory ones as well. Several waterfowls migrate to the state in winter, just as the year starts. When hunting game species in Florida, you can easily find various ducks, swans, and other waterfowl.

Remember that not every waterfowl is considered a game species in Florida. The lands hosting a large number of waterfowls are managed by the FWC, the National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs), and the Water Management District (WMD) lands.

You may also find some duck species all year round in Florida. These include mottled ducks, black-bellied ducks, wood ducks, fulvous whistling ducks, etc.

Florida has strict rules for weapons, bag limits, waterfowl species, and hunting seasons. So, ensure that you’re following them while hunting those amazing waterfowl birds in the state.

5. Small Game Species

tree squirrel
Image By: GregReese, Pixabay
Time of Hunting: Throughout the year
Hunting Weapons Allowed: Shotgun or rifle
Limit: Varies depending on the species

If you don’t want to go big, aim for small game species in Florida. You can find rabbits, squirrels, quails, raccoons, opossums, coyotes, skunks, and beavers roaming around in Florida’s public and private lands.

The best part is that you can find these small game species in Florida all year round. However, every species has different rules for bag limits and possession limits.

For rabbits, squirrels, and quails, you’re allowed a bag limit of 12 and a possession limit of 24. Gray squirrels and quails are mostly seen from October to March. So, you can hunt them during this time with any legal weapon. It could be a rifle, pistol, shotgun, bow, muzzleloader, or crossbow.

There are no bag limits or weapon restrictions for hunting the other small game species in Florida.

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Florida is surely one of the hottest spots in the US for hunters. The scenic views and wide varieties of game bird species provide hunters with an excellent experience.

You can hunt deer, turkeys, wild hogs, and many waterfowls and small game species in Florida. However, don’t forget to get a hunting license from the FWC online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or by calling 888-HUNT-FLORIDA (888-486-8356).

If you’re unaware of the hunting rules and regulations, contacting an FWC agent will inform you about the permitted areas, weapons, and bag limits for hunting different game species.

Featured Image Credit: Matthew Maaskant, Unsplash

About the Author Jeff Weishaupt

Jeff is a tech professional by day, writer, and amateur photographer by night. He's had the privilege of leading software teams for startups to the Fortune 100 over the past two decades. He currently works in the data privacy space. Jeff's amateur photography interests started in 2008 when he got his first DSLR camera, the Canon Rebel. Since then, he's taken tens of thousands of photos. His favorite handheld camera these days is his Google Pixel 6 XL. He loves taking photos of nature and his kids. In 2016, he bought his first drone, the Mavic Pro. Taking photos from the air is an amazing perspective, and he loves to take his drone while traveling.