Deer-Dog Registration Program Goes Statewide

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In Daytona Beach, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted to expand statewide, a registration program for deer-dog hunting on private lands for the 2005-06 hunting season. The decision was based on the overall success of a pilot program adopted last hunting season in the Northwest Region in lieu of more restrictive measures.

According to a report presented by Lt. Col. Mike Wiwi, deputy director of the Division of Law Enforcement, the additional time and costs associated with administering this program across the state will be minimal and manageable for current FWC staff and budget.

Wiwi said 70 individual properties, representing 55 deer-dog hunt clubs, participated in the pilot program. Those properties ranged from 40 to 31,000 acres and were situated in 14 of the 16 counties within the Northwest Region.

With the pilot program in place, complaints dropped 27 percent, compared to the average of the previous four hunting seasons. More importantly, only five complaints were associated with registered deer-dog hunting clubs. In comparison, a review of last season’s complaint data for the North Central and Northeast regions, where registration was not required, showed an increase in deer-dog hunting complaints from the average of the previous four hunting seasons.

At the conclusion of the 2004-05 hunting season, the FWC conducted a survey of all participants of the pilot program to determine levels of satisfaction associated with registration requirements and to identify any concerns with the program or process. Almost half the participants responded, and all said the process of completing the application, registering and complying with the new requirements was easy or very easy. Nearly 90 percent said they experienced no problems with affixing their assigned identification numbers to their dogs’ collars, and almost 70 percent thought the new registration was a valuable tool for helping manage deer-dog hunting on private lands.

During May, the FWC conducted six public meetings across the state to make certain hunters and other interested groups:

* were fully aware of the proposal for statewide registration,

* had the opportunity to ask questions to better understand the specifics of the proposal, and

* could provide comments.

These meetings helped clarify some common misunderstandings about the proposal and fostered broader support from hunters and other stakeholders, Wiwi said.

This new statewide registration program will require no-cost registration for anyone using dogs to hunt or pursue deer on private lands in Florida during the deer-dog training season and during any open deer-hunting season when taking deer with dogs is permitted.

For more information on this new statewide deer-dog registration program, visit