New hunters invited to learn about Florida hunting and conservation

On Saturday, Nov. 4, Florida’s Zone C general gun deer season begins, providing hunters the opportunity to slow down and immerse themselves in the splendor of the outdoors. For many, the predawn melody of songbirds while the first rays of sunlight filter through the trees is a chance to escape the daily stressors of life. And when knowledge, skill and luck come together for a successful hunt, there’s also a delicious and organic wild game feast to enjoy.

Zone C is Florida’s largest hunting zone, encompassing the central and northern part of the state. The general gun deer season runs Nov. 4 – Jan. 21, giving private land 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. Sharing the hunt with a friend or family member new to 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, including a list of wildlife management areas that allow public land hunting without a quota permit.

Those new to hunting can learn 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. Details about Florida’s hunter safety requirement are available online.

Another resource for youth who want to experience hunting is the FWC’s Youth Hunting Program, which offers safe, educational, mentored youth hunts. Youth accompanied by a parent or guardian can learn about conservation and gain new outdoor skills during these organized hunts. Program volunteers provide places to hunt, meals and mentors at these family-oriented events. Those interested can check out the Youth Hunting Program event calendar and sign up for a hunt.

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.

All of the FWC’s programs are designed to inspire people to become good stewards of our natural resources. Florida’s healthy game populations, along with a wide variety of other wildlife species, are proof of this commitment to conservation by Florida hunters and the FWC. The agency’s wildlife professionals use scientific data to conserve game populations and provide sustainable hunting opportunities. 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. This funding supports research, education, access to public lands, and habitat management and conservation to benefit many wildlife species.

To take part in the Zone C general gun season for deer, hunters need a Florida hunting license and a deer permit. In addition, those planning to hunt one of Florida’s many wildlife management areas will need a management area permit. Get more information about Florida hunting licenses and permits, hunting season dates and information about deer management units.