November is National Gratitude Month and for hunters, there’s a lot to be thankful for. Throughout the month and especially over the Thanksgiving holiday, hunters have many choices about how to celebrate the season of plenty. Plus, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) offers special opportunities this month to introduce the next generation to hunting and conservation.
It’s all about the kids!
Make November a time to remember by taking a young person hunting.
Youth Waterfowl Hunting
If your passion is duck hunting, mark your calendar for Nov. 13, which is the FWC’s first of two Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days. The second Youth Hunting Waterfowl Day is Feb. 12, 2022. These opportunities allow youth 15 years old and younger to hunt ducks, light geese, Canada geese, mergansers, coots and common gallinules (moorhens) while supervised by a nonhunting adult. No license or permit is required of the youth or supervising adult – but only the youth may harvest ducks. During Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days, participants may hunt on private property with landowner permission and on most waterbodies that have public access (public boating landing/launch). Some public waterbodies might be closed or have restrictions, so check with local law enforcement agencies or FWC regional offices prior to hunting on public waterbodies.
The FWC also has youth hunt events at T.M. Goodwin Public Small Game Hunting Area, STA-1W and Guana River – Lake Ponte Vedra PSGHA. These fun, family-oriented events include raffles, free food and great waterfowl hunting. For more information on the Guana River hunt, call 904-825-6877. For more information on the T.M. Goodwin and STA-1W hunts, call 321-726-2862.
To promote participation, starting in 2021-2022 the FWC will no longer require youth waterfowl quota permits for hunts at A-1 FEB, Guana River – Lake Ponte Vedra PSGHA, Ocklawaha Prairie, T.M. Goodwin/Broadmoor Marsh and stormwater treatment areas (STA-1W, STA 2, STA 3/4, STA 5/6). Designated hunts on these areas are open to all interested youth 15 years of age and younger. Find details including hunt dates and more by reviewing specific area regulations brochures, which are available at MyFWC.com/WMAbrochures.
Learn more about youth duck hunting by visiting MyFWC.com/Duck and clicking on “Youth Waterfowl Hunting Days.”
Youth Deer Hunting
Zone B’s Youth Deer Hunt Weekend falls on Thanksgiving holiday weekend (Nov. 27-28) and is a great opportunity for an adult to take someone who is 15 years old and younger. Don’t know where Zone B is? Visit MyFWC.com/Deer and click on “Deer Management Units (DMUs).”
Youth participating in this hunt are allowed to harvest one antlered or antlerless deer during the weekend and the deer counts toward the youth’s statewide annual bag limit. Youth are allowed to use any legal method of take for deer.
No license or permit is needed for youth hunters or accompanying adults who only supervise. An adult supervising a youth hunter or anyone 16 years of age or older who wants to hunt during this weekend must have a hunting license, deer permit and muzzleloading gun permit unless exempt. In addition, they must use either a muzzleloader, bow or crossbow, and may only take antlered deer that meet the antler point regulations for the deer management unit being hunted.
The FWC hosts four Youth Deer Hunt Weekends each year that coincide with each zone’s muzzleloading gun season. These hunts are not available on WMAs. The FWC has been hosting youth and family deer hunts on WMAs for many years. Learn more by visiting MyFWC.com/Deer and clicking on “Youth Deer Hunt Weekend.”
Small Game Opportunities
Hunting small game is a good entry point for youth hunters and it’s easy for mentors because it doesn’t require a ton of preparation or gear. There are many areas within the FWC’s WMA system where you may take a young person on a hunt for squirrel, rabbit and other small game. Plus, many areas don’t require a quota permit to hunt small game. Visit MyFWC.com/WMAbrochures to use WMA Finder to search for small game hunting opportunities near you.
Lots of opportunity for grownups, too!
For hunters who enjoy it all – deer, ducks, quail, dove, snipe and squirrel – November might mean making some tough choices, depending on the dates you plan to hunt. Below is a list of hunting season dates for your November hunting calendar. The following opportunities apply to lands outside of the WMA system.
General gun season: Nov. 20 – Jan. 2.
Archery season: Oct. 16 – Nov. 14
Crossbow season: Oct. 16 – Nov. 19
Muzzleloading gun season: Nov. 20 – Dec. 3.
Muzzleloading gun season: Oct. 23 – Nov. 5
General gun season: Nov. 6 – Jan. 23.
Archery season: Oct. 23 – Nov. 24
Crossbow season: Oct. 23 – Nov. 24 (Second phase runs Nov. 29 – Dec. 3).
General gun season: Nov. 25–28 (second phase runs Dec. 11 – Feb. 20).
Gray Squirrel and Quail
Gray squirrel season runs statewide through March 6.
Quail season opens statewide Nov. 13 and runs through March 6.
Waterfowl and Other Migratory Gamebirds
Duck season: Nov. 20 – 28 (reopens Dec. 11 – Jan. 30).
Dove season: Second phase runs Nov. 13 – Dec. 5.
Snipe season runs through Feb. 15.
Public Hunting Opportunities
There also are hunting opportunities in November on WMAs including areas where you may hunt without a quota permit. Before you head afield, we recommend you carefully review the WMA regulations brochure for the area you want to hunt because season dates and other rules can vary from statewide seasons and other WMAs. Visit MyFWC.com/WMAbrochures to find public hunting opportunities and individual WMA regulations brochures.
November is also time to plan for spring turkey season!
Interested in hunting wild turkeys this spring at a WMA or national wildlife refuge? The Phase I application period for spring turkey quota permits and youth spring turkey quota permits runs from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30. These limited entry permits are required to turkey hunt on select WMAs. The FWC also issues permits for spring turkey hunting at select national wildlife refuges in Florida and that application period also runs from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30. Apply for these opportunities at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or by completing an application worksheet and presenting it to a license agent or tax collector’s office. Learn more at MyFWC.com/License and click on “Limited Entry and Quota Permits.”
GoOutdoorsFlorida.com updates offer new look and improved experience
Before you go afield this fall, visit GoOutdoorsFlorida.com to buy your hunting license and permits. You might notice our recreational hunting and fishing licensing website has a fresh new look, however, it’s still the official website for purchasing hunting and fishing licenses and permits.