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 (2019):

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 Aug. 3 to Sept. 1, and crossbow season runs Aug. 3 to Sept. 6. Muzzleloader season is Sept. 7 to 20, and general gun season is Sept. 21 to Oct. 20 and Nov. 23 to Jan. 5. Youth weekend is Sept. 14-15.

Zone B: Archery season runs Oct. 19 to Nov. 17. Crossbow season is Oct. 19 to Nov. 22. Muzzleloader season is Nov. 23 to Dec. 6, and general gun season is Dec. 7 to Feb. 23. Youth weekend is Nov. 30 to Dec. 1.

Zone C: Archery season is Sept. 14 to Oct. 13. Crossbow season runs Sept. 14 to Oct. 18. Muzzleloader season is Oct. 19 to Nov. 1, and general gun season is Nov. 2 to Jan. 19. Youth weekend is Oct. 26-27.

Zone D: Archery season runs Oct. 26 to Nov. 27. Crossbow season is Oct. 26 to Nov. 27 and Dec. 2-6. Muzzleloader season is Dec. 7-13 and Feb. 24 to March 1. General gun season is Nov. 28 to Dec. 1 and Dec. 14 to Feb. 23. Youth weekend is Dec. 7-8.

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

  • Eric Neri

    FL, Florida

  • Clay Helton

    Pensacola, Florida

From the Realtree Trophy Den