From Tony Young, media relations coordinator for the FWC’s Division of Hunting and Game Management
If you hunt public land, you should know that many of Florida’s wildlife management areas (WMAs) require a quota permit to hunt during archery, muzzleloading gun and all or part of the general gun season. Take note that this year, there have been some major changes to some of the application periods, because the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is switching over to a new license/permit vendor.
What this means to you is this: Some of the quota application periods that previously occurred in October are going to be moved up earlier, and others are going to be pushed back later.
For this year only, the application periods for Green Swamp general gun camping permits and these waterfowl permits – Merritt Island, Goodwin/Broadmoor, Ocklawaha Prairie, September waterfowl and the Stormwater Treatment Areas (STAs) – will be in July and August. The application dates for St. Marks spring turkey and special-opportunity spring turkey permits will be in November.
Updating to the new system also means there will be no issuing of guest permits, or the issuing of leftover quota permits and re-issues during the entire month of October for this year. So if you plan on taking a friend on an October hunt, be sure to obtain the guest permit in September.
We ask you to please be patient with us, while we make this challenging transition from old to new vendor. In the end, we feel this change will be well worth it and greatly benefit our valued customers – Florida’s hunters – who deserve the best possible service and product we can provide.
There are several types of quota permits, and most are issued by random drawing. Just so you know, there will be no new changes to the first-phase application periods for archery, muzzleloading gun, general gun, youth, family, track vehicle (a swamp buggy with tank treads), airboat and mobility-impaired quota hunt permits, which will still run June 1-30.
No costs are involved with quota permits, and during this period, you may turn in only one worksheet for each type of quota hunt. One thing to remember though: Unless exempt, you must have an up-to-date management area permit (or a license that includes one) when applying for a quota permit, or the system won’t accept your application.
The FWC offers youth deer hunts on Camp Blanding WMA in Clay County and Andrews WMA in Levy County. If you have children ages 8-15, and you want them to have the chance of experiencing one of these great hunts, apply for a youth quota hunt permit. During these hunts, only the youngsters may hunt, and they and their adult supervisors are the only ones allowed on the area.
To increase youth hunting opportunities, children under age 16, while under direct supervision, may accompany an adult quota permit holder on any WMA –even if the area doesn’t allow for exemptions. However, in that case, adults and youngsters must share a single bag limit.
This coming season, there will be family quota hunts on 24 WMAs. These areas are Matanzas, Andrews, Devil’s Hammock, Dinner Island Ranch, Lafayette Creek, Allapattah Flats, Perdido River, Cary, Okaloacoochee Slough, Blackwater, Belmore, Jennings Forest, Four Creeks, Ralph E. Simmons, Hatchet Creek, Thomas Creek Kings Road Unit, Hilochee Osprey Unit, Lafayette Forest, Babcock Ranch Preserve, Aucilla Pinhook Area, Chipola River Altha Tract, L. Kirk Edwards, Apalachicola Bradwell Unit and Beaverdam Creek.
You must have a family quota hunt permit to hunt these areas during specific time periods. Should your name be drawn, the permit requires one adult to take one or two youths hunting.
Hunters certified by the FWC as mobility-impaired may apply for mobility-impaired quota permits. These permits allow exclusive access to general-gun hunting opportunities on nine of the state’s better public hunting areas.
If you want to get the jump on these hunts, make sure you have the correct quota hunt application worksheet so you can apply for one or more of these great opportunities. All application worksheets can be found at MyFWC.com/License (click on “Limited Entry/Quota Hunts” for the list).
Once completed, you may use it to apply at MyFWC.com/License (click on “Buy a License Online”) or submit it to any license agent or tax collector’s office.
The random drawings to decide who gets these quota hunt permits take place during most of July. To find out if you’ve been selected, go to MyFWC.com/License and select “Limited Entry/Quota Hunts,” then click “Drawing Results.” They are typically posted about two weeks after the last day of the application period.
To see an updated list of all the limited entry/quota permit application dates, go to MyFWC.com/License, and please help us spread the word about these upcoming changes.