Deer-Dog Season Nears

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This year, hunters using dogs to pursue deer on private lands in Florida must register for the 2005-06 hunting season.

This new statewide, no-cost registration program is mandatory during any open deer-hunting season when taking deer with dogs is permitted. The rule also applies during the deer-dog training season, which has concluded in most of the state but begins Oct. 29 in the Northwest Hunting Zone.

The deer-dog hunting season (general gun) on private lands opens Oct. 29 in the South Hunting Zone and runs through Jan. 8. Farther up the state in the Central Zone, the season runs Nov. 12 – Jan. 22. In the Northwest Hunting Zone, it comes in Thanksgiving Day and lasts four days until Nov. 27. Two weeks later, the season reopens Dec. 10 and runs through Feb. 15.

Hunting clubs, landowners or anyone wishing to hunt deer with dogs on a particular tract of land can register by completing an application, available from all regional FWC offices and at MyFWC.com/hunting. The applicant may be the landowner or a person representing a group (hunting club) leasing the land for hunting. Proof of landowner permission or a copy of the written lease agreement must accompany the application along with a general map of the property showing boundary lines and legal description.

After processing the application, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will issue the applicant a unique registration number, and that number must be affixed to the collars of all dogs used to pursue deer on that registered property. Where a group or hunting club is hunting the same tract of land, one registration number will be issued for all dogs used on that property or hunting lease.

Any individual engaged in hunting or training deer dogs on private lands must possess a copy of their registration while doing so and must not allow their dogs off the registered property, whether intentionally or negligently. This new rule does not apply for hunting or training deer dogs on public lands and wildlife management areas.

For more information on how to register for deer-dog hunting on private lands or to follow up on the registration process, call (850) 488-3641 or visit MyFWC.com/hunting.