Florida Deer News

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 ...

Deer management units, increased antler regulations go statewide; archery opens in Zone A! July 31, 2015 Florida, FWC News
... In February, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved proposals designed to improve Florida white-tailed deer management at a local level by establishing deer management units (DMUs) throughout the state, each with its own set of antler regulations and antlerless deer harvest days.
     These new changes go into effect this hunting season, which opens Aug. 1 in South Florida’s Hunting Zone A. The purpose of the changes is to manage deer on a more local scale so efforts are tailored to habitat quality, characteristics of the local deer herd and preferences of local hunters and other stakeholders.
     Two DMUs were created two years ago and went into effect this past hunting season in Northwest Florida’s Zone D. The new changes created in February add an additional 10 DMUs in the rest of the state, in hunting zones A, B and C...

...  In A1, antlerless deer may be killed with an antlerless harvest permit only. In A2, hunters can take antlerless deer from August 1-9. And in A3, from August 1-16. The goal in all of these DMU’s is to increase the deer population ...

... The picture-based signs did do slightly better than the word-based signs at reducing people’s speed and brake reaction times, which supports that hypothesis,” Grace said. “However, the word-based signs were still better than having no signs at all.” ... published Wednesday in the journal Nature Conservation, ...

...  The 7 female deer mortalities are categorized as follows: 1 bobcat predation event, 5 panther predation events and 1 panther predation event confounded with capture (mortality occurred within 12 days of capture).  The 5 male deer mortalities were categorized as panther predation events. In some instances we cannot definitively eliminate the possibility of scavenging, and the causes of all mortality data should be considered preliminary ...

...  8 of the zones will incorporate a “3 points on one side OR a main beam length of 10 inches on one side” rule. The other 4 must obey a “2 points on one side” directive... These rules apply for private and public lands ...

FWC’s South Florida Deer Research Project July 2, 2015 Florida, The Ledger
... Over the last several years, hunters in this area have noted a decline in deer populations. Some have blamed panthers, other blame water regulations and policy.  
FWC agrees that deer populations have taken a hit, but they have been unable to determine what variables have caused this slump. Project site

Walks set at Deer Refuge June 23, 2015 Florida, Florida Keys News
... the education and outreach staff at the National Key Deer Refuge invites visitors, residents, families and individuals to take part in four different evening nature walks/programs...

...  The cats once lived throughout the Southeast, but the spread of human population eventually confined them to a small area of southwest Florida. Their population reached a low of 20 to 30 in the early 1990s... Then wildlife officials introduced eight female Texas cougars ...

... state officials are barely in the planning stages and say that the public will have a say so with whether hunting is approved...

Man charged with killing endangered Key deer  June 16,2015 Florida, WESH
... a Florida Keys man has been charged with killing an endangered Key deer that had been coming onto his property and eating his plants...

Man arrested for killing Key deer June 16, 2015 Florida, FWC News
     Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) officers arrested a man for killing a Key deer, an endangered species.  Grant Wilson (DOB 09/24/81) of Big Pine Key was arrested Saturday, June 13, for killing a Key deer. Wilson shot the deer with a pellet gun and hid the carcass in mangroves just outside of his property.
     Witnesses reported the incident to the FWC, and officers were able to use the information provided to locate the dead deer and make contact with Wilson. Wilson admitted to killing the animal the day before and officers placed him under arrest. Officers seized two pellet guns owned by Wilson and the deer carcass as evidence...
     The Key deer is a federally designated endangered species only found in the Florida Keys. This animal is the smallest subspecies of white-tailed deer, with males reaching around a mere 30 inches in height. They cannot be hunted...

State may push to get panther off endangered species list  June 5, 2015 Florida, Sun Sentinel
... The panther ... has rebounded sharply from a low of just 20 or 30 south and west of Lake Okeechobee. Today an estimated 150 to 250 of them stalk deer ... in southwest Florida, with adventurous males ranging into central and northern Florida...  the commission would try to persuade the federal government to remove the required establishment of two additional panther populations ...

Hunting Dates for 2015-16 Released May 15, 2015 Florida, The Ledger 
... For the complete hunting chart and maps of hunting zones for 2015-16, check http://myfwc.com/hunting/season-dates/ ...

Annual Telephone Survey of Deer Hunters - Your Participation is Requested May 15, 2015 Florida,. FWC News
     The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission works with Responsive Management, a professional survey company based in Virginia, to conduct an annual telephone survey of deer hunters to estimate deer harvest, hunter effort (days hunted), and hunter satisfaction. This survey provides critical information necessary to better manage Florida’s deer herd. If you receive a call from Responsive Management(area code 540), we hope that you will choose to participate in the survey. Your deer hunting experience is important to us, and your participation in the survey will help guide future deer management decisions. To view results of past surveys:  2013 Harvest Report

Be careful, Bambi, at Bob Sikes May 12, 2015 Florida, The Northwest Florida Daily News
...  Bob Sikes Airport near Crestview ... action could include what’s daintily called “lethal deer removal operations.”  That means deer at the airport could be shot... blowing away Bambi will be the last resort. Good. Hurry up and install the fencing...

Airplane-deer collisions might prompt shoot-to-kill order May 6, 2015 Florida, NW Florida Daily News
... Deer that continue to wander onto the runways and taxiways at Bob Sikes Airport will be shot, according to the county’s new agreement with the U.S. Department of Agriculture... temporary until permanent fencing can be installed ...

...  along a remote stretch of Immokalee Road between the Ave Maria development and Immokalee... a $5,000 reward to anyone with information... Florida panthers nearly disappeared in the 1970s, when the number dwindled to just two dozen in Southwest Florida... Hunters also say the number of deer are down...

New Florida Deer license plate now available April 29, 2015 Sun Sentinel 
... The new Florida Deer Tag vanity license plate from the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida is now available at tax collector offices...

... Pythons have largely taken over the southern half of Everglades National Park.  Wherever the snakes go, scientists have reported finding a 99 percent decrease in raccoons, a 98 percent drop in opossums, a 94 percent drop in white-tailed deer and an 87 percent falloff for bobcats …

The Snake That's Eating Florida April 5, 2015 New York Times
...  a species known as the Burmese python, an interloper from Southeast Asia that has taken up what looks like permanent residence in Everglades National Park ... Some mammals native to those marshes, like foxes and rabbits, seem to have disappeared, researchers say. Other species — among them raccoons, deer, opossums and bobcats — are close to being wiped out...

Big bucks found with horns locked, apparently drowned March 23, 2015 Florida, gulflive.com
... Two big bucks, possibly one that was well-known among locals, apparently drowned last week after hooking horns in bay waters at St. Andrews State Park ...

... Agency:  University of Georgia.  Location: Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge and Big Cypress National Preserve.  website

... In the United States, illegal trade in white-tailed deer is a high dollar industry... In this case ... these facilities were high fence white-tailed deer hunting preserves that catered to hunters from around the United States. According to court documents, Wainwright, Sr. illegally trafficked in live white-tailed deer. Wainwright, Sr. illegally shipped deer to Florida from Ohio ...

Seminole Tribe's cattle operation protects wildlife March 8, 2015 Florida, WJXT Jacksonville
... The tribe's 36,000-acre cattle operation on the Brighton Reservation, north of Lake Okeechobee, is an important pathway for migrating wildlife including panthers, bobcats, bears, deer, wild hogs and turkeys. So is the even larger Big Cypress reservation ... 

Poaching and Shameful Wildlife Waste in Innerarity Point/ Perdido Key Florida Big Lagoon State Park Deer Criminally Wasted by roadside Poacher with Crossbow - March 1, 2014



... The pythons devour wading birds, endangered small mammals and rodents, Florida deer and even alligators, and some estimates say there are up to 150,000 ... We’re never going to get rid of them ...

FWC establishes deer management units, new deer hunting regulations February 5, 2015 Florida, Suwannee Democrat
...  In five of the six units in Zone C  ... which includes Suwannee, Hamilton, and Lafayette Counties, 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. ...

4 men, 4 dead deer found in 1 MINI Cooper January 31, 2015 Florida, abc13.com
... The men said they partied all night, then went on an illegal, out-of-season 3 am joy ride and deer hunt. Then, they all passed out..


Florida data: An estimated 700,000 or more white-tailed deer in 2011 through 2015, likely.  A stable population.   A small population of Florida Key Deer are protected in the Keys.  There were as few as as 250 in the early 1980s, estimated at about 600 in 2011 through 2014 after 30 years of protection.  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.
   Panther population in 2014 estimated from 120 to 180, up from 30 in 1995, the start of a restoration program. 

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.