Florida FWC Seeking Input on Changes to Deer Seasons/Zones

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Central and South Florida deer hunters are encouraged to attend a public meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. September 22 at the Osceola Heritage Park in Kissimmee to share their thoughts about possible changes to the state's deer hunting zones and seasons. The meeting will be in the Extension Services Building, 1921 Kissimmee Valley Lane.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), as part of its deer management strategic plan and in response to input received from the public, is considering changes to deer hunting zones and seasons. This meeting is an opportunity for members of the public to learn about these possible changes and share their views on this topic with agency staff.

The meeting will feature a presentation on the latest proposal, followed by a question-and-answer session. The FWC is using breeding-chronology data along with hunter and stakeholder input to draft possible changes to deer hunting zones and seasons. The FWC has deer-breeding information from many counties and several of its wildlife management areas, but there are gaps in the biological data. Hunter input on the rut may help close the gaps in the data.

The agency recognizes the value of local knowledge and is asking hunters, familiar with when the deer rut historically occurs where they hunt, to fill out an online survey. The FWC would like to use this information to compare hunters' perception of the rut with scientifically known conception data.

During rutting periods, bucks are more active in daylight (shooting) hours and often less cautious, improving hunters' chances of seeing them in the field.

"Deer hunters want to hunt during the rut, and we want to be able to share comprehensive information about when the rut occurs with the hunting public," FWC biologist and deer team coordinator Cory Morea said. "We realize a lot of hunters know when the rut happens in their area, and we want to take this information and compare it with our conception data to see if they are similar. It would be great to be able to use any new data to help fill in the holes with what we already know.

"At the very least, we think there is value in knowing what hunters perceive as the peak of the rut where they hunt," Morea said.

To see the latest updates on proposed deer zones and season dates, and to comment on these potential changes by filling out the deer rut survey, go to "a href="http://MyFWC.com/Deer">MyFWC.com/Deer.

For more information, contact Morea at 850-410-0656, ext. 17256.