Florida Deer News

FWC proposes changes to dog hunting laws September 14, Florida, WFTV Orlando
... The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission wants people to weigh in on many hunting season proposals, including changes to how dogs are used to hunt on public hunting areas across the state. Currently, dogs can be used in taking game mammals and game birds on private lands and some wildlife management areas ... FWC has set up a poll for people to answer questions ...

FWC Wants YOUR Input! September 14, 2016 Florida, FWC News
     Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission staff have drafted proposed rule changes for hunting and wildlife management areas that would impact 2017 hunting seasons.  Please click this link to view proposed rule changes and provide your feedback.

Most Southern forests privately owned September 13, 2016 Florida, Pensacola News Journal
... "Our analysis shows that landowners who harvest are actually helping wildlife, because landowners who harvest are more plugged in, they're working with a forester who is giving them advice ... One of the biggest barriers (to active land management) is cost, so if people can earn an income from their land, they're more likely to reinvest in their forest," ...

Hunter saves deer – from a massive python in Florida September 4, 2016 New York Daily News
... Wilson saw a huge python — a nonnative invasive species overrunning the Everglades — had wrapped itself around a white-tailed deer ... video ... utters an expletive and starts firing his gun ...

... The deer entered the water and began struggling in the water and was unable to return to shore ... lifeguards entered the water with a rescue board and helped steer the deer back to shore...

I was leaving the Fort this morning and saw the Doe with the 3 fawns walking by... August 24, 2016 Florida


Blind Fawn Rescued by Deputy August 22, 2016 Florida, Patch.com
... took the little critter to the Bearss Animal Clinic on Florida Avenue for help... it will be transferred to a local zoo ...

... An examination of the digestive systems of 104 pythons ... two deer ...  More than 1,000 would-be snake-killers participated in areas around Everglades National Park, the heart of the infestation but where hunting is prohibited... estimates range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands ... got here through the exotic pet industry ...

When you think of the Florida Keys images of diverse marine life probably come to mind. However you might be surprised to hear about a special land-loving creature: the Key Deer, a small subspecies of the North American white-tailed deer. For nearly 60 years the National Key Deer Refuge has strived to protect this beloved yet endangered icon of the Florida Keys. Join us as we learn more about this fascinating animal and this organization’s place in the local community. - August 16, 2016 Florida


Help monitor for CWD; Floridians hunting out of state need to be aware of what they can bring back August 1, 2016 FWC News
     The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is looking to hunters to help monitor the state’s deer herd this coming season for chronic wasting disease, or CWD as it’s more commonly called. And any Florida hunter planning to hunt deer, moose or elk out of state this year needs to be aware of certain laws and regulations aimed at preventing CWD from entering our state...

... hunters can play an extremely important role in CWD surveillance by providing samples from harvested deer for testing...  FWC  ... asking private landowners and hunting clubs to participate in this surveillance effort...  If you’d like to help, contact the FWC by calling the toll-free CWD Hotline at 866-CWD-WATCH (293-9282) ... more in-depth information on this serious disease ...

On the prowl for the Florida panther July 30, 2016 Florida, The News-Press
... Around 1900, nearly 1,300 Florida Panthers — part of the puma family — roamed the state. After all of the subsequent development and corresponding habitat loss, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) estimates there are currently between 100 to 180, the vast majority in our southeast region...

... Why such the early season in the despair of this heat? Well, the rutting activity in South Florida takes place before most anywhere else in the state or the U.S. Responding to hunters’ requests to be in woods during this prime time, FWC opened a summer deer hunting season several years ago...

... 10 mortalities were categorized as follows: 8 panther predation events, 1 bobcat predation event and 1 unknown. In some instances we cannot definitively eliminate the possibility of scavenging, and the causes of all mortality data should be considered preliminary until all reviews are completed...

A video visit to the Florida Keys June 8, 2016 USA TODAY
... Key deer are found here, and nowhere else in the world. You won’t believe how close you can get at the Key Deer National Wildlife Refuge on Big Pine Key ...

... Burmese pythons ... They are so numerous they have become one of the region’s top predators. Research suggests the pythons are responsible for a sharp decline in the population of Everglades marsh rabbits and for a decrease in deer....

... almost hunted to extinction. By 1950, as few as 25-50 of the animals were left... most recent... estimates the herd at 900 to 1,000 ...

... During this quarter, we investigated 29 mortality events. Ten of the 29 mortalities occurred within 14 days of capture (7 occurred within 1-5 days of capture) or appeared to be related to collaring (e.g., animal found dead with leg caught in collar) ... The remaining 19 mortalities ... were categorized as follows: 14 panther predation events, 4 bobcat predation events, and 1 trauma (cause unknown)...
... “Quite often the mother gets hit by a car and killed,” ... Fawn can be very loving and easy going around humans – and that’s a problem. Rescue workers have seen people try to keep orphaned deer as pets... Officials say you could face a $500 fine for keeping a deer as a pet...

Land plan, panthers collide in Collier April 13, 2016 Florida, The News-Press
...  Floridians spoke out against a proposed development area in Immokalee, ...The development would wipe out some deer habitat, which would cut down on the prey base for the big cats... Comments to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can be made through April 25...

...  arrested two men after they were found to be hunting deer out of season near Picayune Strand State Forest...

... spotted two small heads in the water more than 1,000 yards from shore... they appeared to be fatigued and disoriented ...

Volusia I-4 wildlife underpasses mean safer travel for people, animals March 5, 2016 Florida, Daytona Beach News-Journal
... animals will be able to move freely through any one of 10 crossings built as part of the highway’s widening ... A few spots along the roadway will have man-made hills that go up to the top of the fencing... called “jumpouts” to allow deer or animals that find themselves on the wrong side of the fence a place to escape from the road...

Emergency pumping increases during South Florida's winter soaking February 22, 2016 Sun Sentinel
... The increased draining and additional pumping is aimed at lessening flooding of tree islands in the conservation areas that provide high ground that deer, wading birds and other Everglades animals need to survive...

Fawn run over by tractor mower on mend at Conservancy February 19, 2016 Florida, The News-Press
... This is the earliest in the year the Conservancy of Southwest Florida has ever treated a fawn since they are usually not born until late February or early March.  It is also one of the most severely injured ones they have seen...

Heavy rains lead Scott to seek water fix for flooded Florida February 11, 2016 FMyPalmBeachPost
... how to corral record rainfall without drowning, starving or poisoning wildlife. ... The Everglades Foundation supports the plan, which would send water to Everglades National Park and keep deer from drowning in the flooded catchment area...

FWC working with private landowners to conserve wildlife February 11, 2016 Florida, FWC News
... The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is working with private landowners throughout the state to help provide better habitat for Florida’s native fish and wildlife... The goal for this partnership is to create a one-stop shop for private landowners interested in technical or financial assistance programs. Visit the website at FloridaLandSteward.org.

Residents want deer crossing signs installed for Jetty the Mayport Buck February 11, 2016 Florida, ActionNewsJax.com
... People are worried that because he gets so close to the road, he could get hit... "The deer crossing sign would probably be a good idea," ... Jetty has his own Facebook page...

Heavier-than-usual rain brings threat to Everglades wildlife February 9, 2016 Florida, Sun Sentinel
... Without relief, rising waters could overwhelm tree islands that provide the high ground that deer, wading birds, turtles and other Everglades animals need to survive...

Florida deer hunting continues through Feb. 28 in Zone D February 6, 2016 Florida, Chipley Bugle 
... an additional week  ̶  from Feb. 22-28  ̶  to participate in a late muzzleloading gun season. This unique late season, which occurs on private land only in Zone D, was established to give hunters the chance to hunt the rut, which occurs from mid-January through February in the Florida Panhandle...


FWC officers, deputy help deer stuck in tree February 4, 2016 Florida, wfla.com
... A young Key deer got stuck in a tree fork on Big Pine Key. FWC officers and a deputy on patrol worked to get it out...

... The wildlife habitat goes up 50 percent after a burn... "The new plants take that up real quick. Deer, and other forms of wildlife, really like that regrowth...

... The 8 female deer mortalities are categorized as follows: 5 panther predation events, 1 alligator predation, 1 bear predation event and 1 unknown. The 2 male deer mortalities were categorized as 1 panther predation event and 1 unknown...

Orange Jeep Tours offer a Southwest Florida safari January 15, 2016 Florida, Naples Daily News
... Orange Jeep Tours offers the opportunity to explore 17,000 acres of private preserves adjacent to the town, where they might spy such native wildlife as the American alligator, whitetail deer ...

Facebook fans concerned for Jetty the Mayport Buck January 8, 2016 Florida, First Coast News
... The growing number of Facebook fans hasn’t fazed the newest celebrity of Mayport Village ... Jetty the Mayport Buck, whose fan base reaches close to 900 people, seems content most days just grazing through the marsh ... the biggest concern remains that the unofficial mascot of Mayport may wander in front of traffic...

Florida Panther Habitat Needed, Congressman Insists December 28, 2015 Sunshine State News
... “The Florida panther is one of the most endangered species in the world as less than 180 of them survive today,” the representatives wrote Obama. “As you know, the two greatest threats to the Florida panther are the loss of habitat and automobile-related deaths, both of which are caused by increased development in environmentally sensitive areas....

Biologists go high-tech to track deer December 22, 2015 Florida, Hunter's Handbook
... his project began in January 2015 when over 100 deer were captured using helicopters and net guns and then outfitted with GPS collars. GPS information is being supplemented by remote-sensing cameras (trail cameras) ... For more information ... visit http://myfwc.com/hunting/by-species/deer/project/...

Box-R going back to nature December 2, 2015 Florida, The Times
...  FranklinCounty ... thousands of acres of pine plantation to a more natural condition.... According to FWC, Box-R is managed for a diversity of wildlife species through timber management (thinning and reforestation), prescribed burning and hydrological restoration. Wildlife openings are maintained and enhanced to attract deer, turkey, rabbits ...

The Florida Key Deer is an adorable subspecies of the white-tailed deer, in fact, the smallest one of all. They are unique to the lower Florida Keys, but sadly, their numbers are endangered. - December, 2015


Brandon, Deer Found Hanging From Flagpole at Brandon High November 16, 2015 Florida, Patch 
... doesn’t consider it a crime, yet, ... “It’s like if you threw a dead chicken up there,” ...
     Dead deer found hanging from Brandon High School flagpole November 16, 2015 Florida, The Tampa Tribune
... “If there’s no damage, it might not even be a crime,” said sheriff’s spokesman Larry McKinnon, though charges of trespassing are a possibility... Reagan Hunt, a student at Brandon High School, took this photo ...

FWC changes deer hunting regulations October 29, 2015 Florida, Madison County Carrier
... In five of the six units in Zone C (C1, C2, C4, C5 and C6), which includes Madison County and part of Jefferson County, antlered deer must now have at least three antler points (each point at least an inch long) on one side or have a main antler beam length of at least 10 inches to be legal to take...


2015 Trophy Deer Forecast: Florida October 21, 2015 Game & Fish
... The majority of hunters preferred antler regulations to protect one and a half year bucks from harvest. It’s not trophy management; it’s a delay in harvest to allow bucks to grow a little. And it should result in better bucks in the woods for hunters. It should also improve the buck to doe ratio... A five-year study showed that antler regulations protect one and a half year old bucks...

South Florida Deer Research Project Quarterly Update:  July – September 2015 [PDF] October 15, 2015 myfwc.com
... The 5 female deer mortalities are categorized as follows: 1 black bear predation event, 3 panther predation events and 1 suspected disease. The 6 male deer mortalities were categorized as 3 panther predation events, 2 suspected disease and 1 unknown... 

A Shifting Approach to Saving Endangered Species October 5, 2015 Florida, New York Times
... The key deer may be one such example. With its migration routes blocked by development and its habitat shrinking, the deer have already suffered the effects of illegal dumping and open pit mining. Many have been killed by car and truck traffic, and attacked by feral dogs. The federal recovery plan calls for them to stay in the Florida Keys. But with rising sea level and the incursion of saltwater ... chances for the deer’s continued survival in its original habitat may be slim...

FWC’s Hunting Hot Sheet … September 26, 2015 Florida, Foster Folly News
... deer management units (DMUs) have been established throughout the state, each with its own set of antler regulations and antlerless deer harvest days. The new antler regulations will protect most 1.5-year-old bucks, while allowing hunters to harvest bucks that are 2.5 years old and older, a goal hunters supported in recent surveys...

Mediterra, Naples community upset by deer killing September 20, 2015 Florida, NBC2 News
... "Our beloved animals have vanished," said Linda Bobris, a resident of Mediterra ... they didn't even get a heads up about the hunt... Mediterra tried to approve deer hunting a few years back, but an outcry from residents shut the idea down...

Was deer hunt held in Naples community legal? People who live in an upscale neighborhood that borders Lee and Collier counties want to know who killed deer on the 1,700-acre preserve and who authorized it. - September 21, 2015



... Mediterra residents learned earlier this month that property managers had taken to culling the deer population in the community, saying they have become a nuisance in such high numbers. It's a practice that shocked animal lovers who chose the community for its scenery and wildlife...

Florida among least likely states for deer crash September 15, 2015 WJXT Jacksonville
... the odds Florida drivers will have a claim from hitting one of those animals is 1 in 930, placing Florida (ranked 46th) in the top five least likely states for deer collisions...

FWC Needs YOUR Input! September 8, 2015 Florida, FWC News
     The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is seeking public comments on proposed rule changes for hunting and Wildlife Management Areas.  Please click the link below to be directed to a survey to view the proposed rules and provide your feedback:
www.surveymonkey.com/r/Rule_Proposals_2016-17

Homework For Florida Deer Hunters September 5, 2015 Florida Sportsman
...  three subspecies of whitetails here: The Florida coastal whitetail is found primarily in the Florida Panhandle, the Florida whitetail ranges throughout the peninsula, and the Florida Key deer is limited to Big Pine Key... Today, most private land that’s good for hunting is tied up either in hunting leases or in hunt clubs ...

Florida Deer Forecast for 2015 September 1, 2015 Game & Fish
... l favorable rainfall in the winter and early spring, which is good for the deer population in the state... What we’ve seen over time is that more and more hunters have requested that we change that to where there’s some consideration of antlerless or doe harvest, combined with protecting more young bucks so that there are more bucks in the population ...

Florida launches new deer hunt program August 27, 2015 Florida Today
... Biologists hope hunters see a noticeable increase in whitetail deer populations within five years under the plan ... Eight of the units will require antlers of at least three points on one side ... In the remaining four units, the requirement is a minimum of two points on one side...

Controversy over new Sarasota County Hunting law August 25, 2015 Florida, wfla.com
... Throughout Sarasota county, large stretches of pristine land has been set aside. Teeming with wildlife, it’s meant to preserve the local ecosystem. But on Monday night, Sarasota County Commissioners voted to set aside some land for hunting...

Keep eye out for illegal saw palmetto berry harvests August 22, 2015 Florida, The News-Press
... The berries are a critical food source of several native Florida species, including black bear and deer, and are essential to the ecosystem...

Key Deer on Big Pine Key and some fun facts... Don't feed the deer, and drive slowly on Big Pine. - August 22, 2015


Hunting In State Parks Not A New Idea; What You Can Do August 9, 2015 Florida, The Ledger
... The idea of turning state parks into wildlife management areas appears to be off the table for now... The majority of public lands in most parts of Florida are already open to hunting.  Locally, about four out of every five acres of public conservation land in and around Polk County allows hunting ...

     The Florida legislature recently allocated $2 million a year for the University of Florida’s Institute of Food & Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) to study hemorrhagic disease ... Florida has nearly 400 deer farms and hunting preserves ... Hemorrhagic disease is transmitted by insects, most often a biting midge, also known as a no-see-um. Typically, outbreaks occur in late summer to early fall ...

Florida data: An estimated 700,000 or more white-tailed deer in 2011 through 2015, likely.  A stable population.   Deer harvest peaked in 2008-09 at almost 180,000 up from about 60,000 in 1998-99.  The Florida deer population is growing more slowly than in neighboring states.  Some antlerless deer restrictions for areas A1, A2, and A3 for 2015 are designed to grow the herd.
     Approximately 137,000 deer hunters in the state taking about 20 percent of the herd each year.   Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) has recently done a particularly thorough job in collecting and documenting recent hunting statistics, annual reports are available on the FWC site.  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. [Click on harvest data graph to enlarge]
    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 decimated the population with the historic low population in the 1930's 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 History of Deer Management.  According to a recent survey, 70 to 75 percent of hunters in North Florida support antler restrictions.
    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.  Only 25 to 50 Key deer left by 1950 after hunting. About 250 in the early 1980s, estimated at about 600 in 2011 through 2014 after 30 years of protection.  Most recent estimates at 900 to 1,000.
   Florida Panther population in 2016 estimated at 100 to 180, 2014 estimate from 120 to 180, up from 30 in 1995, the start of a restoration program.   Around the year 1900, about 1300 panthers.
    Bear population in 2016 estimated at 4,350 adults, up from 300 to 500 in the 1970's.

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

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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.