With their guns sighted-in and bows tuned, hunting enthusiasts will soon be loading up their hunting gear and climbing into a tree stand or blind. Whether hunting public or private land, a hunting license and a $5 Deer Permit is required for the expedition.
Polk, Hillsborough, and a part of DeSoto County (where we have processors and food pantries) is comprised of Zones B and C as designated by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission. I should note that the other portion of DeSoto County is Zone A, which is not outlined here. You can check your specific location at myfwc.com.
In Zone B, hunting by bow or crossbow is allowed from October 14 through November 12. During that time, you can take antlered or antlerless deer. From November 13 through 17, you may only take antlered deer by bow or crossbow. On November 18, you can begin taking antlered deer by muzzleloader, in addition to by bow or crossbow. December 2 through February 18, you can hunt antlered deer using any legal centerfire rifle or pistol, shotgun, muzzleloader, bow, or crossbow.
The dates are a little different for Zone C. Archery hunting is already underway for antlerless and antlered deer. From October 16 through 20, only antlered deer may be taken by bow or crossbow. Then, from October 21 through November 3, muzzleloaders, bows, or crossbows may be used to take antlered deer. Antlered deer may be hunted in Zone C from November 4 through January 21 using any legal centerfire rifle or pistol, shotgun, muzzleloader, crossbow, or bow.
During antlerless deer hunting times, the daily bag limit is two deer, only one of which may be antlerless. During the Archery Season and first phase of Crossbow Season, the daily bag limit is two, regardless of antlers. The daily bag limit is two for the rest of the antlered deer seasons.
Don’t forget to consider donating your harvest to Wild Game Food Bank. You can be a part of the local hunger solution and help feed those in need.
BY: CAITLIN MEADOWS
This column is sponsored by Wild Game Food Bank.
BIO: Caitlin Meadows is the founder of Wild Game Food Bank. She proudly serves the community in this capacity while enjoying life as a wife, mom, and REALTOR®. A UF graduate and Gainesville native, Caitlin and her family have called Polk County home for the last ten years. Her husband is an avid hunter, which is what helped fuel the inspiration behind WGFB. Caitlin and her husband enjoy spending time outdoors with their son, attending church, and managing their cattle and chickens. To learn more about WGFB, go to wildgamefoodbank.com.