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Florida Migratory Bird Hunting Laws and Regulations

2023–2024 Florida Migratory Bird Hunting Season Dates, Bag, and Possession Limits

General Note

The following season dates and limits may vary for wildlife management areas. Refer to local regulations for specific area details.

Crow

  • Season Dates: Aug. 12 – Oct. 29 (Saturdays and Sundays only), and Nov. 11 – Feb. 18
  • Daily Bag Limit: None
  • Possession Limit: None

Rails (King and Clapper; Sora and Virginia)

  • Season Dates: Sept. 1 – Nov. 9
  • Daily Bag Limit: King and Clapper: 15, Sora and Virginia: 25
  • Possession Limit: King and Clapper: 45, Sora and Virginia: 75

Common Gallinule

  • Season Dates: Sept. 1 – Nov. 9
  • Daily Bag Limit: 15
  • Possession Limit: 45

Canada Goose

  • Season Dates: Sept. 2 – 24, Nov. 18 – 26, Dec. 1 – Jan. 30
  • Daily Bag Limit: 5
  • Possession Limit: 15

Duck (Different regulations for species and periods)

  • Teal and Wood Duck Season: Sept. 16 – 20; Bag Limit: 6 (max 2 wood ducks)
  • Teal Only Season: Sept. 21 – 24; Bag Limit: 6
  • General Duck Season: Nov. 18 – 26; Dec. 9 – Jan. 28; Bag Limit: Varies by species
  • Possession Limit: 3 times the daily bag

Dove (Mourning and White-winged)

  • Season Dates: Sept. 23 – Oct. 15, Nov. 11 – Dec. 3, Dec. 19 – Jan. 31
  • Daily Bag Limit: 15
  • Possession Limit: 45

Snipe

  • Season Dates: Nov. 1 – Feb. 15
  • Daily Bag Limit: 8
  • Possession Limit: 24

Coot

  • Season Dates: Nov. 18 – 26; Dec. 9 – Jan. 28
  • Daily Bag Limit: 15
  • Possession Limit: 45

Light Geese (Snow, Blue, and Ross')

  • Season Dates: Nov. 18 – 26; Dec. 9 – Jan. 28
  • Daily Bag Limit: 15
  • Possession Limit: None

Merganser (Common, Red-breasted, Hooded)

  • Season Dates: Nov. 18 – 26; Dec. 9 – Jan. 28
  • Daily Bag Limit: 5
  • Possession Limit: 15

Woodcock

  • Season Dates: Dec. 18 – Jan. 31
  • Daily Bag Limit: 3
  • Possession Limit: 9

Special Hunting Days

  • Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days: Nov. 11 and Feb. 10; Specific bag limits apply.
  • Veterans and Military Waterfowl Hunting Days: Feb. 3 – 4; Specific bag limits apply.

For detailed regulations, including those pertinent to Youth, Veterans, and Military Waterfowl Hunting Days, as well as up-to-date information on bag and possession limits for ducks during specific periods, hunters are advised to consult the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s website and local area regulations.

License, Fees, and Dates Information Regarding Migratory Birds and Waterfowl in Florida

To hunt migratory birds in Florida, a no-cost migratory bird permit and a hunting license are mandatory, barring crow hunting which requires no permit. Specific waterfowl hunting demands additional permits: a $5 Florida waterfowl permit and a $28.50 Federal duck stamp are required in addition to the standard hunting license and migratory bird permit.

The general shooting hours for hunting are one-half hour before sunrise until sunset. However, a special provision allows shooting from one-half hour before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset, and during these extended hours, neither a hunting license nor a permit is necessary.

Certain species, including the harlequin ducks, brant, and purple gallinule, are fully protected, and hunting these species is illegal. For other species, such as ducks, light geese, Canada geese, mergansers, coots, and common gallinules (moorhens), hunting restrictions vary based on age and status. Youth hunters, specifically those 15 years old and younger, may hunt these species under the supervision of a non-hunting adult at least 18 years old. Additionally, veterans and active-duty members of the Armed Forces, including the National Guard and Reserves, are granted exclusive hunting rights for the same group of species. Both youth and military hunters must adhere to the established bag and possession limits as indicated in adjunct resources.

Waterfowl hunting in Leon County and on Lake Miccosukee is limited to Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays during the Regular Duck Season, with additional opportunities on select dates. Contrastingly, Lake Talquin and the Ochlockonee River offer unrestricted hunting every day during the Regular Duck Season. In certain Gulf of Mexico state waters in Hernando County, hunting is allowed solely on the designated days.

Important to note are the specific rules for Leon County and Lake Miccosukee: throughout the Regular Duck Season, the use of internal combustion engines is highly restricted, though exceptions apply during the September Duck Season, Youth, and Veterans/Military waterfowl days. Additionally, hunting is prohibited from or within 30 yards of permanent duck blinds on specific lakes, yet the provision for temporary duck blinds, which must be removed post-hunt, is permitted.

Key Points of the 2023–2024 Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations

Harvesting Limits

  • Daily Bag Limit:

    • Individual maximum harvest: A specified number of birds per day.
    • Applies to a single species or a combination thereof.
    • Geographic specificity: Limit set per area.
  • Possession Limit:

    • Maximum hold: Designated number of birds post-hunt.
    • Inclusive of Both individual and multiple species.
    • Geographic adherence: Defined by each area's regulations.

Field Handling and Transport

  • Dressing:

    • Prohibited act: Fully field dressing birds (excluding doves).
    • Requirement: Keep the head or one wing attached during transport.
  • Defining Personal Abode:

    • Not a temporary stay: The main residence is different from temporary lodgings.
    • Examples: Excludes hunting clubs, hotels, motels.

Responsible Tagging and Custody

  • Tagging Requirement:

    • Applicable circumstances: Storing or leaving birds except at the personal abode.
    • Mandatory details: Hunter's address, bird count, species, and date of harvest.
    • Exceptional clause: Birds as vehicle baggage are exempt from storage tagging.
  • Custody & Transport of Others' Birds:

    • Receiving birds: Requires appropriate tagging.
    • Transport mandate: Tag essential for moving others' birds.

Ethical Hunting Practices

  • Avoiding Wanton Waste:
    • Obligatory effort: Retrieval of killed or crippled birds.
    • Possession: Must maintain actual custody to specific locations including transport means, personal residence, lodging, preservation facilities, or mailing and shipping centers.

Unlawful Means and Methods of Taking Migratory Game Birds

Prohibited Actions and Equipment:

  • Use of traps, snares, nets.
  • Use of firearms: rifles, pistols, swivel guns, shotguns larger than 10 gauge, punt guns, battery guns, machine guns.
  • Use of fish hooks, poison, drugs, explosives, stupefying substances.
  • Using shotguns holding more than three shells unless plugged to reduce capacity.

Specific Conditions:

  • No use of sinkboxes or similar concealing devices floating on water.
  • No hunting from moving vehicles or aircraft, with exceptions for certain disabled hunters.
  • No motorboats or sailboats for hunting unless the motor is off and sails furled.

Decoy and Call Limitations:

  • Live birds as decoys only if enclosed and non-audible/visible to wild waterfowl for 10 days.
  • Recorded/electrical bird calls are prohibited except for specific conservation orders.

Baiting Restrictions:

  • No use of motor-driven conveyances for concentrating or stirring up birds.
  • No hunting on or over baited areas knowing, or when one should reasonably know, of the baiting.

Light Geese Conservation Orders:

  • The use of recordings or amplified calls is allowed during specific State-selected dates for light geese or for controlling resident Canada geese in Florida (Florida Administrative Code 68A-12.002).

This comprehensive list underscores the critical restrictions in place to protect migratory game birds, ensure ethical hunting practices, and comply with conservation laws.

 

Nontoxic Shot Regulations for Hunting Waterfowl

Mandatory Shot Type:

  • Only use approved non-toxic shots for ducks, geese, and coots.
  • Possession of lead shot or other toxic shot types prohibited while hunting.

Approved Non-Toxic Shot:

Contact Information for Queries and Reporting:

Florida Regulations:

  • Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission: 850-488-5878

Federal Hunting Regulations and Violations:

  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Special Agents Contacts:
    • Groveland: 352-429-1037
    • Ft. Myers: 239-561-8144
    • Miami: 305-526-2610
    • Vero Beach: 772-469-4224
    • Tallahassee: 850-925-6121

This list is provided to ensure that hunters are aware of the requirements for the type of shot used in hunting waterfowl and where to obtain guidance and assistance for both state and federal migratory bird regulations.

Report Duck Bands

  • Encountering banded ducks or migratory birds: Report to ReportBand.gov.
  • Purpose of reporting:
    • Provides critical data for wildlife management.
    • Ensures sustainable hunting opportunities.
  • When to report:
    • Immediately after shooting a banded bird.
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Disclaimer:

The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.