FWC Offers Unique Hunting Opportunities

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In addition to regular and special quota hunts, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is offering sportsmen some unique hunting opportunities for the coming season.

The FWC is providing sportsmen mobility-impaired hunts, supervised youth hunts, a family hunt, quail hunts and track vehicle and airboat hunts on wildlife management areas (WMAs). Applications will be available June 30 from FWC regional offices and online at www.wildflorida.org/hunting/quota_hunt/default.html. The application period for submitting applications to be included in the random drawing is July 13-29. Like the regular and special quota hunt applications, these applications must be submitted through the internet, at tax collector offices or at any license agent. Applications are no longer accepted by mail.

Mobility-impaired hunts are for persons who require special equipment. These hunts are not intended for hunters who have Florida Disabled Person Hunting and Fishing Certificates, but rather those who are permanently confined to a wheelchair, persons who require the use of mechanical aids (crutches and walkers) to walk or those with complete single-leg amputations. Another unique hunt is for hunters 8-15 years old.

Two WMAs in the North Central Region (Camp Blanding and Andrews) offer opportunities for non-hunting adults to supervise young hunters on public hunting areas where the number of hunters and the hunting areas are rigidly controlled to provide an optimum learning experience and maximum safety. These hunts are popular, and the number of applicants exceeds the number of spaces available each year.

The new Matanzas WMA will offer a family hunt this year. Applicants age 18 or older may apply for a permit. The permit holder is required to bring from one to two children ages 8-15. Unlike the youth hunt, the family hunt allows the adult supervisor to hunt with the children.

Wildlife management areas in the southern part of the state offer hunters an unusual challenge because of their open-marsh landscape. Hunting these areas requires special vehicles, and the FWC has established quotas on the number of vehicles allowed.

Permits to operate track vehicles on the Rotenberger, Everglades and Holey Land WMAs and permits to operate airboats on the Everglades and Francis S. Taylor WMAs are issued in two random selections.

A quota hunt permit will be required to hunt quail on the Blackwater WMA Hutton Unit and Blackwater Field Trial Area in the Northwest Region. There are seven two-day hunts available on the Hutton Unit and two four-day hunts on the Field Trial Area. The quota is two groups per hunt on the Hutton Unit and three groups per hunt on the Field Trial Area. A group may consist of up to three hunters. Shooting hours end at 3 p.m., and the bag limit is 12 quail per group per day.