Pull back on a string; huntin’ season is here

Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 06:40 PM.

Even though you can hardly tell, summer is almost over. Kids have returned to school, football is back on TV, and hunting season has been going on for a month now in south Florida. Most of us have already finished our preseason scouting, and we’ve hung our tree stands along well-traveled deer trails – next to a mature oak tree that’ll soon begin dropping acorns, if we’re lucky. Finally, the time of year we’ve been waiting for is here!

Hunting season still comes in first in Zone A, which is that part of the state south of State Road 70. Archery and crossbow seasons there started Aug. 3 on private lands.

Hunting Zone B is made up in part by the Green Swamp Basin and lies south of S.R. 50, west of U.S. 441 and the Kissimmee Waterway, north of S.R. 60 and east of the Gulf of Mexico. Archery and crossbow seasons on private property in Zone B start this year Oct. 19.

The line that divides zones C and D has been modified slightly this year, so please make sure you know which zone you’re hunting in. The line still begins at U.S. 27 at the (Gadsden County) Florida-Georgia state line and runs south on U.S. 27 until it meets S.R. 61 in Tallahassee. From there, it follows S.R. 61, running south until it hits U.S. 319. There, the line follows U.S. 319, continuing south to U.S. 98; it then runs east along U.S. 98. And here is the part that changed. The line used to turn south on Spring Creek Highway, but now it continues east along U.S. 98 until it gets to the Wakulla River, where the river becomes the line, heading south until it meets the St. Marks River and continues downriver until it meets the Gulf.

If you hunt west of that line, you’re in Zone D, where archery and crossbow seasons begin Oct. 26 on private lands. In Zone C, archery and crossbow seasons open on Sept. 14.

To hunt during archery season, you’ll need a Florida hunting license and an archery permit. During crossbow season, you’ll need a hunting license and crossbow permit. If you’re a Florida resident, an annual hunting license will cost $17. Nonresidents have the choice of paying $46.50 for a 10-day license or $151.50 for 12 months. Archery and crossbow permits cost just $5 each, and all deer hunters must have the $5 deer permit. Anyone planning on hunting one of Florida’s many WMAs must purchase a management area permit for $26.50.

And don’t forget to pick up the WMA brochure for the area you wish to hunt, because hunting season dates on many of the areas are often different from what the zonal dates are. You can pick up a copy of these WMA brochures at your local tax collector’s office or read them at MyFWC.com/Hunting.



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