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 (2018):

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, as additional regulations apply. Here are the basics.

Zone A: Archery season is July 28 to August 26 and crossbow season runs July 28 to August 31. Muzzleloader season is September 1 to 14 and general gun season is September 15 to October 14 and November 17 to January 6.

Zone B: Archery season runs October 13 to November 11. Crossbow season is October 13 to November 16. Muzzleloader season is November 17 to 30 and general gun season is December 1 to February 17.

Zone C: Archery season is September 16 to October 14. Crossbow season runs September 15 to October 19. Muzzleloader season is October 20 to November 2 and general gun season is November 3 to January 20.

Zone D: Archery season and crossbow seasons run October 20 to November 21. Crossbow season is October 20 to November 21 and November 26 to 30. Muzzleloader season is December 1 to 7 and February 18 to 24. General gun season is November 22 to 25 and December 8 to February 17.

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