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FWC offers opportunities to learn about and experience hunting and conservation

Florida’s Zone C general gun deer season begins Saturday, Nov. 2, providing hunters the opportunity to get back to nature. And if knowledge, skill and luck come together for a successful hunt, there’s also healthy and delicious wild game to share and enjoy.

Zone C is Florida’s largest hunting zone, encompassing the central and northern part of the state. The general gun season for deer runs Nov. 2 – Jan. 19 on lands outside of the wildlife management area system and gives hunters the chance to carve out time from their busy schedules to go afield. It’s also a good opportunity to introduce someone to deer hunting. Taking a friend, family member, co-worker or neighbor hunting makes the experience even more special.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has developed online resources to make it easier for mentors and new hunters to get started deer hunting. Plus, the FWC’s new WMA Finder allows users to locate public hunting opportunities based on species, season, location and more. If you plan on hunting at a WMA, check WMA regulations brochures for each area you’re interested in because season dates and other regulations may vary.

Those new to hunting can learn about conservation and how to be safe, responsible hunters by taking a free FWC hunter safety course. Hunting is a safe activity, and hunter safety courses help make it even safer by teaching students about firearms safety, hunting laws and regulations, outdoor skills, knowledge about wildlife and habitats, and the importance of being a conservationist.

The FWC offers other programs and opportunities for youth and families to learn about and experience hunting, including the Youth Hunting Program. This program offers safe, educational, mentored hunts for youth who have successfully completed a hunter safety course. Participants accompanied by a parent or guardian can learn about conservation and gain new outdoor skills during these organized weekend hunts. Sign up for a hunt by checking out the Youth Hunting Program event calendar.

Youth throughout the state also are learning a variety of outdoors skills through the FWC’s Florida Youth Conservation Centers Network. Through this program, staff work with more than 350 partners to introduce kids throughout Florida to archery, hunting, boating, fishing, wildlife discovery and more. The FYCCN’s partners engage youth in outdoor adventure while igniting their interest in conservation.

The FWC’s wildlife professionals use scientific data to conserve game wildlife populations and provide sustainable hunting opportunities. Florida is home to healthy game wildlife populations, along with a wide variety of other wildlife species, as a result. Hunters and target shooters are important partners in this conservation effort. They provide wildlife management funding through the purchase of hunting licenses that bring more dollars back to Florida through the Wildlife Restoration Program. This program provides grant funds to state wildlife management agencies, such as the FWC, from the sporting arms and archery industries and the people of Florida who participate in these outdoor activities. The funding supports research, education, access to public lands, and habitat management and conservation to benefit many wildlife species, including those that aren’t hunted.

To take part in the Zone C general gun season for deer, hunters need a Florida hunting license and a deer permit (unless exempt). In addition, those planning to hunt one of Florida’s many wildlife management areas will need a management area permit. In addition, there is a new annual statewide bag limit for deer and new requirements to log and report harvested deer. Get more information about these and other statewide hunting rules taking effect in 2019-2020 at MyFWC.com/Deer.