Hunting in Florida can be both relaxing and an exciting way for friends and family to experience the area’s natural beauty. Before heading out on a hunting adventure it’s important to take the opportunity to understand the indigenous wildlife and their habitats.
Besides being a way to forage, hunting supports conservation in a variety of ways. The revenue derived from hunting licenses directly supports conservation, and contributes in other ways as well. The money that comes from the sale of hunting licenses is factored into a formula that determines how much money in Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration a state will receive. The funding for conservation here in Florida is directly linked to the money made from the shooting sports industry and its participants.
Hunters play a large role in on-the-ground conservation projects too. They are the eyes and ears out in the field, and therefor provide the FWC with important information about what’s happening with wildlife that inhabits more remote areas of the state.
While Florida offers a variety of species for both hunting and fishing, there are a few favorites among the sporting industry.
The wild pig or as it’s better known as, wild boar or feral pig, is the second most popular game in the state. While it’s not native to Florida, its flourished here since it was introduced by Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto in the 1539.
They can be found in of Florida’s 67 counties and live in a variety of habitats, but prefer sloughs and pine flatwoods, oak-cabbage palm hammocks and marshes. Mature wild pigs can weigh as much as 150 pounds and be 5-6 feet long. They tend to travel in small family groups.
By law wild pigs are defined as wildlife and are one of the most popular, large animal hunted in Florida.
Hunting on private property must be done with the landowner’s permission. On private land, wild pigs can be trapped and hunted year round with legal to own rifles, pistol, shotgun, bow or crossbow. Either sex may be harvested and there is no size or bag limit. A hunting license is not required.
Laws for hunting wild pig vary by season on wildlife management areas (WMAs).Hogs are allowed to be hunted during most hunting seasons, except spring turkey. During archery season, hunters are required to use a bow, and during muzzleloading gun season, a muzzleloader is required. Many WMA’s require an management area permit and various other permits to hunt wild pigs during particular seasons. There is often a daily bag limit on wild pigs and a minimum size limit on what’s allowed to be taken. Guns and a light for night hunting are not permitted as well.
By far, the most popular game in Florida is the white-tailed deer. Seasons and bag limits are divided up by zones and hunters must obtain a deer permit as well as a hunting license to hunt deer. Hunting licenses are also required when hunting whitetail on private lands for both non- residents and residents.
Fees for a hunting license are (17.00 for yearly resident, 46.50 non-resident 10 day) and a deer permit ($5.00 for residents or non-residents).
During archery, crossbow or muzzleloader season, an additional permit is necessary ($5.00 for residents or non-residents).