Date, Zone Changes Benefit Florida Deer Hunters

In Florida, hunting season dates within wildlife management areas do not sync with zonal hunting dates for private lands. By 2011, hunting season will align more closely with the deer-breeding period known as the rut. This, along with the February 2010 Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) decision to realign the deer hunting zones, will benefit deer hunters.

The realigned deer hunting zones are renamed A-D, with the fourth zone created by the FWC in February 2010. The former Central Zone became Zone C and Zone D comprises most of the area formerly known as the Northwest Hunting Zone. The line dividing these two zones starts at the Georgia state line at U.S. 27 in Gadsden County. It runs south along U.S. 27 until meeting State Road 61 within Tallahassee.

Once the line enters Florida, it follows S.R. 61 south until hitting U.S. 319. It then tracks southward along U.S. 319 to U.S. 98 and eastward along U.S. 98 before it turns south again onto Spring Creek Highway. It follows the highway, continuing until the Gulf of Mexico.

According to Deer Management Coordinator Cory Morea with the FWC Division of Hunting and Game Management, “The changes to the state’s hunting zones align the deer hunting seasons more closely with the rut.” The 2010-2011 Florida Hunting Regulations handbook includes the new private land season dates and realigned hunting zones. This information may also be found online at the FWC website.

According to Morea, “You can call this a ‘transitional year.’ The 2011-2012 deer hunting seasons on WMAs will more closely match the dates for the new statewide zones.” The Deer Management Coordinator added that “there will still be some differences between WMAs and zonal seasons, since hunter preferences are being used to set season dates.” The zoning and season changes are just two projects in the FWC’s 10-year deer management plan established in 2008.

Source: Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. Florida Deer Hunters Will See Benefit as Zones, Dates Change.

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