Deer Hunting in Florida

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  • D
  • 700,000

    Est. Whitetail Population

  • 110,680

    No. Licenses Sold Annually

  • $27 and up

    Hunting license is $17 and deer permit is $5. Hunters must also have applicable license for archery, muzzleloader or gun hunting and they are $5 each.

    Resident hunting license and deer permit

  • $161.50 and up

    Hunting license is $151.50 and deer permit is $5. Hunters must also have applicable license for archery, muzzleloader or gun hunting and they are $5 each.

    Non-resident hunting license and deer permit

  • None

    Record B&C Typical Stat

  • None

    Total B&C Typical Entries

  • 201 3/8"

    Taken by Clark Durrance in Wakulla County in 1941.

    Record B&C Non-Typical Stat

  • 2

    Record B&C Non-Typical Entries

Don't forget about Florida. They have deer, too. (Tony Campbell)

Season Dates (2017):

Florida deer hunting seasons are a bit complex. The state is divided into four zones and dates vary greatly for all zones and weapons. On top of that, zone seasons and dates do not apply to wildlife management areas or other land managed by the state game commission. Even within the zone parameters there are variances, so a check of the official hunting regulations is imperative before hunting. Here are the basics.

Zone A: Archery season is July 29 to August 27 and crossbow season runs July 29 to September 1. Muzzleloader season is September 2-15 and general gun season is September 16 to October 15 and November 18 to January 7.

Zone B: Archery season and crossbow seasons run October 14 to November 12. Antlered deer only may be taken with crossbow or bow November 13-17. Muzzleloader season is November 18 to December 1 and general gun season is December 2 to February 18.

Zone C: Archery season and crossbow seasons run September 16 to October 15. Antlered deer only may be taken with crossbow or bow October 16-20. Muzzleloader season is October 21 to November 3 and general gun season is November 4 to January 21.

Zone D: Archery season and crossbow seasons run October 21 to November 22. Antlered deer only may be taken with crossbow or bow November 27 to December 1. Muzzleloader season is December 2-8 and February 19-25. General gun season is November 23-26 and December 9 to February 18.

These are the dates set when published, please check the state DNR's website to confirm.

The Grade: D

Unless you are a resident of Florida or live nearby, The Sunshine State is most likely not the first state that comes to mind when thinking about deer hunting. Nonetheless, there are a lot of deer in Florida and a few fairly impressive bucks even. However, the state only nets a D (dropping from a C- last year) for several reasons.

First, there is a lack of any real trophy bucks and there are a few drawbacks to hunting there. Obviously, heat can be a factor, plus the zones, seasons and bag limits can be quite confusing to figure out at first. Dog hunting for deer is permitted. However, Florida public hunting land is in very good supply and if one only wants to bag a deer or two and is not looking for a Booner; the hunting can be great. There are plenty of bucks taken up to about 120 inches.

Antler Nation Knowledge:

As mentioned, Florida is not a place to go if you want to put a B&C buck on the wall. There have only been two all-time trophies recorded in the record books from Florida and both were taken several decades ago. The No. 1 Florida buck, a 200-inch giant, was killed by Clark Durance in Wakulla County in 1941. Henry Brinson shot a 186-inch brute — Florida's No. 2 buck — in Jackson County in 1959. Unsurprisingly, both bucks came from the central part of the panhandle where the largest bucks generally come from.

 




Florida Harvests

  • Clay Helton

    Pensacola, Florida

  • Clay Helton

    Escambia, Florida

From the Realtree Trophy Den