Now is the time to plan for Florida’s upcoming hunting seasons if you’re interested in applying for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) alligator harvest permits or fall hunts at a Florida wildlife management area or national wildlife refuge.
Alligator harvest permits
Florida has a stable and healthy alligator population that allows for sustainable hunt opportunities through the FWC’s Statewide Alligator Harvest Program. To take part in Florida’s Aug. 15 to Nov. 1 alligator season, you’ll need an alligator trapping license, a Statewide Alligator Harvest Permit and two hide validation CITES tags.
The cost for this is $272 for Florida residents, $22 for those with a Florida Resident Persons with Disabilities Hunting and Fishing License, or $1,022 for non-residents. The alligator harvest permit allows for the harvest of two alligators in a designated harvest unit or county.
Every year about 7,000 alligator harvest permits are issued through three random drawings and a final leftover phase. The demand for Florida alligator harvest permits is high and random drawings are used to provide a fair unbiased way to issue them.
This year the dates to apply for alligator harvest permits are as follows. Remember, all application periods start at 10 a.m. ET on the first day of the application period and run through 11:59 p.m. ET on the final day.
- Phase I Applications 5/7/2021 – 5/17/2021.
- Phase II Applications 5/21/2021 – 5/31/2021.
- Phase III Applications 6/4/2021 – 6/14/2021.
- Phase IV Leftovers 6/17/2021 – until filled or final hunt date.
Anyone who will be 18 years of age or older by Aug. 15 and has a valid credit card may apply for alligator harvest permits at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or in person at a license agent or tax collector’s office. Learn more about the alligator harvest permit application process by visiting MyFWC.com and clicking on “Limited Entry/Quota Hunts” under the “Buy and Apply” drop-down menu.
To give yourself the best chance of being issued an alligator harvest permit, make sure you:
- Submit all 12 choices in the application. However, listing the same area/period multiple times will not give you a better chance of being selected for that area.
- Choose areas that offer more permits to increase your odds of being drawn.
- Are willing to hunt every location you select. If you’re successful in the drawing, you’ll be charged the amount for the permit awarded to you.
Please be aware the South Florida Water Management District is undertaking major construction projects this year at STA-1W and STA 2 on behalf of their mission to safeguard and restore south Florida’s water resources. The heavy equipment traffic associated with levee/ditch work and vegetation removal means a portion of STA-1W South and all of STA-1W North and STA 2 are closed to alligator hunting during 2021.
The FWC offers several tools to help you with the application process. Find application worksheets, a harvest unit map and listing, application tips and more by visiting MyFWC.com/Alligator and clicking on “Statewide Alligator Harvest Program.”
Public hunting opportunities for deer and wild hog
Interested in hunting deer or wild hog this fall at a Florida wildlife management area or national wildlife refuge? Then make plans to apply for quota hunt permits, special-opportunity fall hunts and national wildlife refuge fall hunts during the phase 1 application period, which begins 10 a.m. ET Saturday, May 15 and runs through 11:59 p.m. ET on June 15. You can apply for the opportunities outlined below at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or in person at a license agent or tax collector’s office.
Fall quota hunts
Florida quota hunts provide access to an array of hunting experiences on select WMAs with permits for these opportunities issued via random drawing. You must have a valid Florida management area permit or a license type that includes one, unless exempt from license requirements, to apply for archery, muzzleloading gun, general gun, wild hog, family (adult and up to two youth), track vehicle and mobility-impaired quota hunts. Also, deer hunts for youth between the ages of 8 and 15 are offered at Andrews and Camp Blanding WMAs. Applications for the youth quota hunts must be submitted under the child’s customer account.
Make sure you check out the fall quota hunt options at the two new WMAs. Orange Hammock WMA, a new 5,777-acre WMA in Sarasota County, offers archery, muzzleloading gun, mobility-impaired general gun and general gun quota hunt opportunities. A new 3,992-acre WMA in Okeechobee County, Everglades Headwaters WMA, Kissimmee Bend Unit, offers archery, muzzleloading gun, general gun and family hunts.
Special-opportunity fall hunts
Special-opportunity fall hunts offer large tracts of public land and low hunter quotas at the following WMAs: Fort Drum, Lake Panasoffkee, Triple N Ranch and Green Swamp West Unit. Fees for these hunts range from $50 to $175 per permit and permits are issued through a random drawing. There is a $5 non-refundable application fee that must be submitted with each individual application.
National wildlife refuge hunts
There are several fall hunts you can apply for at Lake Woodruff, Lower Suwannee, Loxahatchee, Merritt Island, St. Marks and St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuges. These areas offer unique experiences and well managed habitats. Although the FWC issues permits for refuge hunts, the agency does not manage these hunts. For information about hunting regulations and permit requirements for these hunts, contact the appropriate national wildlife refuge.