The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) passed new rules that affect hunting on many of the state’s wildlife management areas. Most of these new rules apply to specific WMAs; however, two of them affect public hunting on a more statewide scale.
One such statewide rule establishes youth turkey hunts on 78 FWC-managed areas, all of which support adequate turkey populations, and creates a youth turkey quota permit. Forty-nine of the 78 areas will require a youth turkey quota permit, and only those youths who will be less than 16 years old on the last day of the youth turkey hunt may apply for this opportunity.
The youth turkey hunts on these WMAs will be two-day, Saturday-Sunday hunts and will occur the weekend prior to the opening of spring turkey season on each particular WMA, beginning with the 2012 season.
“We know the importance of exposing young people to hunting opportunities,” said FWC Chairman Rodney Barreto. “The more our youth experience wildlife and nature, the more likely they are to grow up to appreciate these resources and to pass along outdoor traditions to future generations.”
These hunts will be available for youths younger than 16 years old who are supervised by and in the presence of an adult, 18 years of age or older, but only the youth will be allowed to harvest a turkey.
Adult supervisors who don’t have the required hunting license, turkey permit and management area permit won’t be allowed to participate in the hunt. They will be allowed to supervise only. However, adult supervisors who do have the required license and permits will be allowed to “call” and otherwise participate in the hunt. But only the youths are allowed to harvest a turkey.
The other statewide rule removes the one-gun restriction on all hog quota hunts using dogs. Currently, these “hog-dog” quota hunts allow only one hunter (permit-holder), one gun, one assistant and up to three dogs. An additional person also may join the hunting party, if a guest permit is obtained in that person’s name.
But starting with the 2011-12 hunting season, each participant will be allowed to hunt with a gun.
Details about these new rules are available online at MyFWC.com/Commission, linked from the Feb. 23-24 meeting agenda.