With the archery hunting season in full swing and the firearm season opening soon in Florida, thousands of hunters will soon be afield.
A question the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) often receives is whether a person with a felony conviction can hunt. The answer in short is that a convicted felon who has had his or her civil rights restored by the Florida Board of Executive Clemency or who uses a firearm that qualifies as an “antique firearm” under Florida Statute 790.001 can legally hunt.
The statute defines antique firearms as those manufactured on or before 1918 and replicas of those firearms. That means a person with a felony conviction can legally hunt with a bow and arrow, crossbow, side-hammer percussion cap muzzleloading rifle and shotgun based on antique models.
Guns or firearms that are illegal for a felon to use include modern firearms, including in-line muzzleloading rifles and even antique firearms where fixed ammunition for those firearms is still available.
Another Florida law that applies to hunters, including those with a felony conviction, is mandatory hunter safety training for anyone born on or after June 1, 1975.
Information about hunting in Florida is available at MyFWC.com/hunting. Any person with a felony conviction who is interested in hunting in Florida can call the nearest FWC regional office for answers to questions about this topic.