Florida Deer:  About 650,000 deer in 2017.  Harvest data indicates a decline into 2018.  An estimated population of 700,000 in 2014 and exceeding 700,000 in 2006.  The deer hunt peaked in 2008-09.   Harvest data indicates a significant population decline since then.  An estimated 45,000 to 50,000 deer in 1951.  Herd analysis at right.  Historical Florida deer harvest data and news archive.

Florida Deer News

Florida Deer Farms Battle Disease November 30, 2020 AGInfo Ag Information Network Of The West
... There are over 400 registered deer farms in the state of Florida, which include 65 of 67 counties...,

... To reduce the risk of CWD spreading into Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is proposing a draft rule amendment that, if passed, would prohibit importing or possessing carcasses or certain carcass parts from all members of the deer family originating outside of Florida. The FWC invites you to share your thoughts about that via an online commenting tool..,

Florida gym teacher rescues buck stuck in fence - November 2, 2020


Vaccine for lethal deer virus shows promise October 30, 2020 Florida, Feedstuffs
... The disease, epizootic hemorrhagic disease virus (EHDV), is the leading cause of herd losses for deer farmers. In some cases, 15,000-20,000 deer can die from EHDV in one season ...  a vaccine shows promise for the $8 billion per year deer farming industry, according to the University of Florida Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences (IFAS)...

... As they were taking photos of a gathering of does along with several fawns, they noticed one had something shiny and metal in her jaw: a fishing hook... An officer snared the deer and veterinarian Douglas Mader deftly removed the hook with his bare hands ...

... “Prescribed burns are important for the continued survival of local species such as the federally endangered Key deer ... The burns can help prevent or reduce the threats of wildfires by reducing the available “fuel.” ...

... At the Critter Creek Farm Sanctuary in Gainesville, Florida ... a young deer, named Pala, was shot and killed by a youngster apparently just looking for something to shoot... it is thought Pala’s mother may have died and as a fawn, she arrived at the farm ...

A threat to the ecosystem October  3, 2020 Florida, Daily Commercial
...  the Burmese Python that has set up camp in South Florida, making meals from native animals as large as the American Alligator and White-Tailed Deer! Invasive crocodiles, far more aggressive than native gators, have also established populations in parts of the state...

... we examined the genetic vulnerability to CWD of two subspecies of WTD: the endangered Florida Key deer (O. v. clavium) and the threatened Columbian white-tailed deer ... Key deer may be less genetically susceptible to CWD than many mainland WTD populations. ... Columbian WTD are likely to be genetically more vulnerable ...

... Florida remains free of CWD, the FWC has a robust monitoring program. Since 2002, we’ve tested more than 14,000 deer ...

  ‘Bambi is safe’ Clay County deputies rescue baby deer July 23, 2020 Florida, News4Jax6h
...  it looked like the fawn had been there all night.  “He was so tired when he walked away. His poor legs were almost limp like he was exhausted from trying to get out,” ...

Management of Plant and Arthropod Pests by Deer Farmers in Florida.   Journal of Integrated Pest Management, Volume 11, Issue 1, 2020, 12.
...  Of surveyed deer farmers in Florida, 94% reported using chemicals for plant and arthropod pest control. Deer farmers reported controlling biting midges, mosquitoes, horse flies, and deer flies as their target arthropods. The primary herbicide and arthropod-targeted pesticide reported were glyphosate and permethrin, respectively...

Zookeepers Fawning Over New SF Teaching Zoo Key Deer Arrival May 15, 2020 Florida, Santa Fe College
...  USFWS called zoo staff when they found an orphaned Key deer fawn on Key Deer Wildlife Refuge. From that point, dedicated individuals from multiple organizations and agencies worked together to give the little fawn round the clock care and bring him safely to Gainesville...

Florida Key Deer Abundance and Recovery Following New World Screwworm Infestation  ID Parker, RR Lopez, NJ Silvy, BL Pierce, KG Watts… - Southeastern Naturalist, 2020
... We documented 135 Screwworm-related Florida Key Deer mortalities (∼9–20% of the total population) during the Screwworm outbreak (July 2016–January 2017). Most mortalities occurred in the adult male population, as Screwworm flies laid eggs on open wounds sustained from sparring during mating season...

White-tailed Deer of Florida 2020, University of Florida Extension [PDF]
...Throughout Florida, unregulated trade in deer hides and subsistence hunting during the mid1700s caused deer populations to decline sharply. In 1828, a law prohibiting firearm hunting west of the Suwannee River was passed to help restore population levels. However, a deer removal campaign to eradicate the cattle-fever tick in the 1930s and 40s reduced the population to an estimated 20,000. The campaign ended in 1941 with the enactment of the Pittman-Robertson Act, a federal tax on firearms and ammunition that aided in funding wildlife conservation, hunter education, and shooting programs. Arrests for game violations in the 1940s and the eradication of the screwworm fly in 1958 also helped deer populations begin to recover...,

... Santa Rosa Ranch was originally a hunting preserve ... Now, the preserve is home to over 2000 fallow and axis deer, all descendants of those from the hunting days ... with 540-acres of farm and animal agriculture...

Little deer creates big uproar on the Florida Keys March 16, 2020 Florida, KATC Lafayette News
...  The population declined in the 40s and 50s by hunting.  “To the point there was only about 25 to 50 Key Deer left ... an organization dedicated to keeping the Key Deer protected ... thinks removing the animal from the list is premature. US Fish and Wildlife estimates there are between 600 and 800 deer on the island.... “Texas A&M said there were 573 ..,

... The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is hosting a series of public meetings across the state about chronic wasting disease and steps the FWC is taking to reduce the risk of it coming into Florida...

... With only 600 to 800 remaining, visitors often want to know where to see Key deer.  Now there’s a new free nature center in Big Pine Key in the Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge...

...  after Hurricane Irma's devastating destruction.  "The freshwater ponds the deer used for drinking became filled with seawater," Emery said. "Residents began using buckets to give the deer something to drink. We had deer walking in and out of homes there." ..,

Study provides insight on how to minimize the impacts of severe weather on wildlife January 23, 2020 Florida, EurekAlert!
... a recent issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society B ...  "During the storm, we observed ...: deer ...selecting the pine forests at higher elevations. More than half of the animals we tracked left their home range for higher terrain." ... because deer seek higher elevations of pine forests during heavy storms, it is essential that land managers and conservationists protect and manage these environments..,

Parker River Wildlife Refuge, Tell refuge to stop the deer hunts December 16, 2019 Florida, The Daily News of Newburyport
... It’s not for so-called population control — that’s how they’ve euphemized it for 25 years. Now, they just say it outright... The refuge has six priority “recreational” uses for the public to enjoy. Hunting tops their list. Somewhere near the bottom, wildlife viewing shows up. Wildlife. The way we like to enjoy it: alive...

... a $40,000 grant to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) to support its efforts in monitoring state deer for chronic wasting disease. The funding came from the “Wildlife Foundation of Florida” specialty license plate, which features an image of a deer...

New requirements to reduce the risk of CWD spreading into Florida October 29, 2019 FWC News
... Under Executive Order 19-41, carcasses of deer, elk, moose, caribou and all other members of the deer family may not be imported into Florida from anywhere, except for legally harvested white-tailed deer originating from Georgia or Alabama, provided they meet certain requirements..,

Prescribed Burns planned on Big Pine Key Next Week October 22, 2019 Florida, Florida Keys Weekly
... The primary reasons for conducting these burns are to remove the over-accumulation of vegetation acting as fire fuel ... Prescribed burns are important for the continued survival of local species such as the federally endangered Key deer ...

Manatees and Key deer are being pushed to extinction by climate-fueled superstorms October 9, 2019 Florida, Miami Herald
... Key deer are among 10 species that are particularly at risk of disappearing as intensifying hurricanes bring more rainfall, storm surge and winds that destroy coastal habitats, the Center for Biological Diversity said Wednesday in a report ...

"Toy Deer", as Key Deer were once known, inhabit a small portion of the Florida Keys. These tiny white tail deer are on Florida?s Endangered Species list. We take you on a video tour of the Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key. - October 8, 2019 Florida


... Owl's Nest Sanctuary for Wildlife ... some fawns are born with blue eyes, they almost always change color to the dark brown usually seen in older deer 🦌 Well, this boy has KEPT his blue eyes!! ...

... Florida is among at least 32 states with its own listing of threatened and endangered species beyond the 2,500 animals, birds, fish, insects and plants protected under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA)... could be facing its first test in addressing its response to a diminished ESA in how it will – or won’t – protect the Key deer ...
     Rubio asks Florida to protect Key deer August 22, 2019 Florida, News4Jax
... Rubio sent a letter Thursday to FWC Executive Director Eric Sutton, urging state protection of the Key deer population and its habitat, "regardless of the species' future federally protected status."...

De-listing Key deer is not a done deal. The public must make itself heard August 19, 2019 Florida, Miami Herald
... Some recent media reports suggest that the Service has made the decision to remove the Key deer from the Endangered Species list. We have reached out to Service leadership and we are assured that a final agency decision has not been made...

... yesterday, the Trump administration signaled its intent to remove the deer from the list of endangered species. The Florida Key deer is one of the first casualties of a revised Endangered Species Act (ESA), which no longer recognizes climate change as a threat to wildlife...

Antibodies to Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease Virus (EHDV) in Farmed and Wild Florida White-Tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus)   A Cauvin, ETN Dinh, JP Orange, RM Shuman… - Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 2019 
... Despite aggressive chemical vector control on the farm, we found higher seroprevalence and titers against the predominant EHDV serotype in farmed deer (in pens and the preserve) than in wild deer. The higher exposure to EHDV of farmed vs. wild deer may have been because of the higher densities of farmed vs. wild deer, the presence of exotic amplifying hosts such as elk (Cervus canadensis) in the preserve, or genetic factors that predisposed farmed deer to disease...

Where to See Florida’s Key Deer July 13, 2019 Southern Living
 ... thanks to conservation efforts and the opening of the National Key Deer Refuge in 1957, the deer’s population has grown from just about two dozen in 1951 to around 1000 today.  The “toy deer” stand about 24 to 32 inches tall ...

Explore Research at the University of Florida: Samantha Wisely, a biologist in the department of wildlife ecology and conservation at the University of Florida, explains her research to discover new pathogens and develop new vaccines for white-tailed deer in the state. She hopes to aid deer farmers in Florida by preventing diseases in farmed trophy deer in the near future. - June 12, 2019 Florida


Vaccine may prevent deadly deer disease (EHD) May 21, 2019 Florida, Feed Stuffs
... University of Florida scientists are working with deer farmers to test a new vaccine that could help prevent epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) ... 

... the center is caring for eight fawns... Unless you know that the mother is dead, leave the fawn alone...
...  Fawns are being left orphaned all over the Bay Area. Animal Rescuers in Bradenton say they’re taking care of eight babies after their moms were killed... development has led to less habitat and more traffic ...

  Baby deer rescued after mom killed by vehicle April 11, 2019 Florida, News4Jax
... the male fawn is only one or two days old. When Kelly found the fawn it was sitting by his mother's side, grieving...

New deer hunting rules for the 2019-20 season April 2, 2019 Florida, FWC News
... One of the rules establishes a new annual statewide bag limit of five deer per hunter, of which no more than two may be antlerless (any deer, except a spotted fawn, without antlers or whose antlers are less than 5 inches in length)..,

Commission approves FWC’s draft hunting rule change proposals December 21, 2018 Florida, FWC News
... The FWC seeks input on proposed changes throughout the rulemaking process to achieve regulations based on hunter preference and sound science to ensure sustainability... See the presentation about draft rule change proposals related to specific FWC-managed public hunting areas and statewide hunting and summaries of proposed rule changes.  For more information about draft rule change proposals related to deer hunting ... The proposals will remain available for public comment through the February 2019 Commission meeting ...

... Establish an annual bag limit for antlered (3) and antlerless deer (2)Establish a harvest reporting system to improve deer herd monitoring, improve Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance efforts ... information from FCW

2018 Florida Deer Forecast  October 27, 2018 Game & Fish 
... “We’re seeing the continuation of a steady deer population at the state level,” ...biologists would like to see deer numbers increase in ... the Big Bend region ... and south Florida ... Deer densities and reproduction in Zone A are challenged ... deer harvest has declined over the past several years, due to fewer hunters participating ..,

South Florida man accused of illegally killing a large deer October 12, 2018 Sun-Sentinel
... arrested and charged with two felonies, trespass on a construction site, and trespass by lethal projectile. He was ordered held in Martin County’s Jail on a bond of $5,000 ...

'Deer dog' hunting dispute goes to Florida Supreme Court September 22, 2018 Florida, Orlando Weekly 
... residents have gone to the state Supreme Court in a legal battle aimed at reining in “deer dog” hunting on property around the Blackwater Wildlife Management Area... Property owners filed a lawsuit in 2016, seeking to prevent deer-dog hunting ...

Deer hunting and airboats proposed for Loxahatchee wildlife refuge September 19, 2018 Florida, Sun-Sentinel
... Almost all of the Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge would be opened up to hunting, under a proposal ... U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has made a priority of opening up more federal land to public use, including mining, hunting and oil drilling...

... A biological catastrophe has indeed devastated the small mammal population in Everglades National Park, along with 94 percent of the white-tailed deer. A seven-year study published in the Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences documented ... created by commercial interests that import, breed and sell Burmese pythons ...

Florida Proposed Hunting Regulations: Tell us what you think August 24, 2018 Florida
     Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff is at the beginning stages of the rule development process. We’re seeking input on a package of hunting-related draft rule change proposals, including many dealing with deer management and FWC-managed lands. These proposals concern 2019-2020 hunting seasons. Please take a few minutes to share your thoughts by clicking on the link to view proposed rule changes and provide your input.

How Big Pine Key's Deer Refuge Was Impacted During Irma June 2, 2018 Florida, NBC 6 South Florida
... many deer were unable to survive. The population had already dropped because of the screw worm outbreak in 2016... yes there’s key deer that made it ..,

Key deer fawn rescued from brush fire in Florida Keys April 23, 2018 NewsChannel5.com
... “I jumped into the flames and saved the little guy,” Shockley said in a written statement. “He was all by himself and running for his life into the fire.”...

Study finds malaria parasites prevalent in North American fawns April 18, 2018 Florida, EurekAlert (press release)
... Researchers who analyzed blood samples from 33 farm-raised, white-tailed fawns in Florida report that about 21 percent -- 7 of 33 -- were infected by malaria parasites at some point during the first eight months of life... Biologists have identified more than 600 malaria parasites, or haemosporidians, but only five are known to use humans as hosts...

... A divided appeals court Tuesday overturned a ruling that would have forced state game officials to rein in “deer dog” hunting that some Northwest Florida residents argue has infringed on their property ...

...  we report the complete genome sequence of Epizootic hemorrhagic
disease virus (EHDV) serotype 6 (EHDV-6), isolated from a Florida white-tailed
deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in 2016...

... The biologists removed the python out of the wild into an open area and the python was stressed so it pushed the deer out of its mouth... 

... Some research also shows the infestation of invasive Burmese pythons in southern Florida is decimating the panther’s natural prey — such as deer and small wildlife — forcing the big cats to roam farther for food and increasing the risk of getting hit by vehicles...

Conservancy of Southwest Florida - February 21, 2018


Key Deer: The Endangered Darlings of the Florida Keys and What We Can Do to Protect Them February 19, 2018 Florida, Key West The Newspaper
... Key deer migrated from the mainland during the latest Ice Age when sea levels were much lower, their size shrinking over time as they adapted to the limited resources and warmer temperatures on these small island habitats. Near extinction from habitat destruction and poaching in the 1950s led to a federal recovery effort  ...

Key deer poachers get 6 months February 9, 2018 Florida, FL Keys News
... Two young men who admitted capturing and hurting three Key deer last July will each serve six months in the county jail on top of federal sentences that were already handed down ... Erik Damas Acosta, 19, has already started serving one year in federal prison ...

... In the last couple of years, Key deer have been hit with an outbreak of screwworm, the first in the continental U.S. in three decades, and Hurricane Irma. Now federal wildlife managers are quietly reviewing their protected status..,

... Forest fires caused by lightning once played a major role in forming and maintaining much of Florida’s palmetto-pine flatwoods, sandhills, scrub, prairies and wetlands ... Safely-controlled prescribed fire techniques to improve and maintain habitats for deer, quail, turkey and many other wildlife species, have been used on lands within the wildlife management area system since the establishment of Florida’s first wildlife management areas ...

Florida’s Endangered Key Deer Survived Hurricane Irma—but Their Future Is Stormy November 17, 2017 www.nrdc.org
... Since the last Ice Age 11,000 years ago, the species has become so adapted to island living that it has shrunk down to no more than 32 inches tall ... In the two months since the storm, wildlife managers at the National Key Deer Refuge have determined that nearly all of the endangered Key deer survived...,

... The pair enraged locals, who care for the deer, after they were pulled over on Little Torch Key in July for a traffic stop and the deer were discovered in their car. A buck was stuffed in the trunk and two deer were found in the back seat...

... The Burmese python is implicated in decimating populations of rabbits, deer ... Now that rabbits, raccoons and deer are all but eliminated, C. cedecei is "forced" to feed on rodents ...

Key Deer Population Makes it Through Another Major Incident October 20, 2017 Florida, Keys Recovery
... The most recent estimate collected prior to Hurricane Irma determined approximately 1,100 Key deer occupied the core range on Big Pine and No Name keys. Survey estimates post-Hurricane Irma suggest 949 Key deer live in these same areas..,

... The biggest concern immediately after the storm was the lack of freshwater. The Lower Keys were inundated with a storm surge of saltwater. Refuge managers provided kiddie pools and other receptacles of freshwater to help the herd get through until rains replenished the freshwater ..,
Don't feed the Key deer October 16, 2017 Florida, KeysNews.com
... people have been providing a variety of food products — including corn and dog and cat food  ... The sudden and increased intake of grain and/or carbohydrates results in acidic conditions in a deer’s rumen or stomach. Known as “ruminal acidosis,” it kills the bacteria necessary for digestion and causes bloating, diarrhea, enteritis and even death...

Bill threatens endangered species October 10, 2017 Florida, Citrus County Chronicle
...  A local Utah dispute over prairie dogs has led to proposed legislation that would strip endangered species protection from 1,100 species  ... The Florida Key Deer is one of endangered species that U.S. Senate Bill 1863 would strip protections from if passed... 

Proposed hunting rule changes: Tell us what you think October, 2017 Florida, FWC
     FWC staff has drafted proposed rule changes regarding hunting and FWC-managed lands that would impact 2018 hunting seasons.   Please take a few minutes to view proposed hunting rule changes and provide your feedback...  FWC Commissioners will consider "draft" rule change proposals related to hunting recreation at their December 6-7, 2017 meeting in Gainesville, Fl ...

Endangered deer come through Irma September 29, 2017 Florida, FL Keys News
... Key deer roaming around after Hurricane Irma ... numbers won’t be available until next week ... officers are surveying the refuge..,
  Thirsty Key deer get a helping hand after Irma September 27, 2017 Florida, Mother Nature Network MNN
... Bucking long-standing policy, the FWS decided that residents and employees could provide water to the deer, though feeding the deer is not encouraged..,

  Thirsty Key deer slurps down 4 bottles of rescuers' water September 19, 2017 Florida, Orlando Sentinel
... In the Facebook video, the little deer with a partially black snout eagerly slurps water from a plastic bottle... Hurricane Irma likely mixed a lot of salt water with the fresh water that animals, like the Key deer, would normally drink...
...A key deer begged for attention from the deputies, "It's almost as if they were glad to see us, " ..,

Deer dogs hunters clash with North Florida property owners September 17, 2017 Tallahassee.com
... Daws, Joyner and 12 other neighbors said when they complained about the chaos and dangers of deer hunters and dogs rampaging through the woods, they faced retaliation... A series of fires ...

... immediate concern now is fresh water, though the nature of the storm — which dumped down fresh water — makes it unlikely the deer will go thirsty, he said. The deer eat more than 200 species of plants ... the deer are good swimmers...  been on the islands for 13,000 years ...

Key Deer Wanders Through Rubble - September 13, 2017 Florida

     Endangered Key Deer Spotted After Getting Worst Of Irma September 11, 2017 Florida, CBSlocal
...  group of four were spotted on Big Pine Key, running among the debris, around 10 a.m.- about 24 hours after the hurricane hit... What’s become of the rest of the deer population is unknown ..,
     What happened to the tiny Key deer during Hurricane Irma?  September 11, 2017 Florida,  Miami Herald
... The key deer habitat is only about 15 miles east of where Irma’s eye made landfall in the Keys Sunday morning.  What’s become of the key deer is not known. But, Clark said, not much could have been done to protect the wild animals ..,
     The Latest: Florida Refuge for Unique Deer in Path of Irma September 10, 2017 Florida, U.S. News & World Report
... The Florida Key Deer Refuge on Big Pine Key is about 10 miles from where the storm made landfall Sunday morning..,

... deputy saw two deer in the back seat and found a third one in the trunk ... a maximum penalty of one year in federal prison ...

FWC asks hunters to help monitor for CWD August 4, 2017 Florida, FWC News
... The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is looking to hunters this coming season to help us monitor the state’s deer herd for chronic wasting disease, or CWD as it’s more commonly called. We’re fortunate that CWD has not been found in Florida or our neighboring states...

Do you know when the peak deer rut occurs in your area? August 2, 2017 Florida, FWC News
... The FWC has been collecting biological data since 2009 from white-tailed deer to estimate the breeding dates for deer across the state. These data have been used to inform management decisions regarding hunting season dates and location of zonal lines. The data also provides local information on peak breeding of white-tailed deer in Florida...

Monitoring of Key deer with collars to end July 26, 2017 Florida, flkeysnews.com
... were monitoring them through fawning season to make sure none had New World screwworm, fly larvae that hatch and feed in open wounds of any warm-blooded animal and basically eat it alive... nearly eight months since the last report of New World screwworm in the Florida ..,

The Key Deer Expedition July 11, 2017 Florida, The Ledger
... Key Deer may be endangered by numeric and emotional reasoning, their habitat is fragile, but they’re essentially tame park animals with tourism value... as evidenced by the swift response by numerous governmental agencies and volunteers to eradicate the screwworm threat. Close human interaction might cost a few lives, human interaction will save a few more..,

1 of 3 endangered Key deer found tied up in car euthanized July 7, 2017 Florida, St. Augustine Record
... a buck was put down Thursday morning because of a leg injury...

Key Deer Kidnap Attempt Averted July 3, 2017  Florida, WLRN
... pulled over in the Lower Keys Sunday — and found to have three endangered Key deer "hog-tied" in their car ... They had wounds all over their body and head and were struggling to break free...
... Charged with three felony counts each of killing or wounding a protected species ... Key deer, which are federally protected because their population is so small ...

Two men are facing animal cruelty charges after allegedly tying up three Key deer, an endangered species found only in the Florida Keys. CBS Miami has more. - July 4, 2017


... rising waters threaten to overwhelm high ground that deer, wading birds and other Everglades animals there need to survive ... “We go from flood to drought, flood to drought. Normal doesn’t exist,”  ...

...  The 100-year storm sent deer and other animals scurrying to high ground for refuge and food... agency will re-evaluate its operations on an ongoing basis, but the situation in the Everglades is very critical...

Endangered key deer rescued from drowning May 31, 2017 Florida, WKMG Orlando
... A key deer fawn was struggling in a canal when a nearby resident spotted it, jumped into a canoe and rescued it ...


Florida data:  A rough estimate of 660,000 deer in 2017 based on harvest data, down from an estimated 700,000 in 2014.  Harvest data suggest a significant decline in 2018.  Data for 2019 data is not available.  The state reports the herd is approximately stable since 2011, but the deer harvest fell by 45 percent from 2011 to 2018.   Comments from the state indicate an approximately steady population through 2018 with lower populations in thee Big Bend region, south Florida, and Zone A.   In 2016 emergency pumping in the Everglades to prevent deer from drowning or starving.  In 2015 Florida biologist instituted antler point restrictions in an effort to increase the deer population over the next five years.  Good rainfall that year benefited deer.
    A research paper published in 2006 reports the "population estimates exceed 700,000 deer statewide." The deer harvest peaked in 2008-09 at almost 180,000 up from about 60,000 in 1998-99.  Some antlerless deer restrictions for areas A1, A2, and A3 for 2015 were designed to grow the herd.  Approximately 137,000 deer hunters in the state taking about 20 percent of the herd each year.   The deer harvest fell by 45 percent from 2010 to 2017.  A study of deer populations in 2009 [PDF] including deer from the northwest and southwest regions shows a balanced buck to doe ratio of close to 50:50 with fawning rates of 41% singles, 57% twins, 2% triplets.
     In 2020, there are over 400 registered deer farms in the state.  A beloved buck in Mayport with its own Facebook account for two years died when its antlers were tangled in a barb-wire fence in 2016.
     History 
Deer were numerous in the Florida Panhandle based on reports from the late 1600's, but commercial hunting for deer hides resulted in the first hunting regulations, a ban on fire hunting west of the Suwanee River in 1828.  Development in Florida opened up much of the state beginning in the late 1800's.  Over hunting and a deer removal campaign to eradicate the cattle-fever tick in the 1930s and 40s decimated the population with the historic low population of about 20,000.  The legislature authorized participation in the Federal Aid to Wildlife program in 1941, beginning an era of deer conservation.  By 1951, the deer herd had grown to around 45,000 to 50,000.  By 1985, the annual deer harvest rose to over 100,000 for the first time, marking the beginning of the modern era of deer management.  See FWC.  
    Three subspecies of deer in Florida:  coastal whitetail in the Panhandle, Florida whitetail throughout the peninsula, and a small population of protected Key deer in Big Pine Key.  
     Key Deer  Only 25 to 50 Key deer left by 1950 after hunting. Less than 50 in 1967 when the were listed under the Endangered Species Act.  About 250 in the early 1980s, estimated at about 600 in 2011 through 2014 after 30 years of protection.  Population estimates rose to 900 to 1,000, but a screw worm out beak in 2016 and hurricane Irma in 2018 brought the population down with estimates in 2020 of 573 to 800.  More history and Florida deer information from the 2008 management plan.
   Florida Panther population estimated in February, 2017, of 120 to 230 adult and subadults.  The population in 2016 estimated at 100 to 180, 15 nearly 180 in 2015, at 2014 estimate from 120 to 180, up from 30 in 1995, the start of a restoration program.   Around the year 1900, nearly 1300 panthers.
    Bear population in 2016 estimated at 4,350 adults, up from 300 to 500 in the 1970's.
    Pythons, not native to Florida, are found to be eating deer in the Everglades in 2016.  An estimated population of 100,000 in 2017.

Report poaching: Wildlife Alert Line at 1-888-404-FWCC 
- Hunt Florida, FWC's Hunting Information FaceBook Page


Fish and Wildlife Commission News




Deer Management: (1) ensure the existence of robust deer populations that meet the public's desire for recreational opportunities and protection of private property while ensuring the long-term welfare of the species, (2) ensure a high degree of public satisfaction with deer management in Florida, and (3) manage deer habitats consistent with ecosystems health, deer population goals, and customer satisfaction goals. From: Strategic Plan for Deer Management in Florida 2008-2018.