FWC Moves to Resolve Dog-Hunting Issue

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The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) directed its staff Wednesday to proceed with efforts to resolve conflicts between landowners and hunters who use dogs to hunt deer. During the FWC’s regular meeting in Tallahassee, Commissioners urged representatives of dog hunting groups to work with staff and landowners to hammer out solutions.

Several possible solutions were discussed, including a pilot project in Jackson, Gadsden and Washington counties to require a no-cost permit for dog hunting on private lands; stiffer penalties for hunters who allow hunting dogs to enter private property without permission; and advisory groups to help resolve conflicts. The FWC may also seek authority to revoke hunting privileges of those who repeatedly violate dog-hunting rules.

Dog-hunters who attended Wednesday’s session of the FWC’s three-day meeting in Tallahassee told Commissioners they are eager to help resolve matters and do a better job of policing their ranks.

Landowners who addressed the Commission said they are encouraged by the FWC’s proposals to resolve conflicts without abolishing the tradition of dog-hunting.

FWC staff told Commissioners they chose the three northwest Florida counties for the pilot project because the variety of land ownership patterns in the area will help identify a variety of workable solutions for specific areas.