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And Zone Changes affecting private land hunting

(For the conclusion of the story and the calendar see page 24 in the March 2010 issue)

Florida deer hunters who hunt on private land now have new hunting zones and season dates to become familiar with heading into the 2010-11 seasons. At their Feb. 17 meeting, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) passed new rules that modify zone boundaries and season dates for deer hunting on private property.

“These changes will better align the deer hunting seasons with the rut and are intended to increase hunter satisfaction,” said Cory Morea, Deer Management Program coordinator for the FWC’s Division of Hunting and Game Management, who noted that the majority of stakeholders supported the changes. Todd Hallman of the Florida Sportsmen’s Conservation Association did express one concern, stating “The South Region is a different animal. You’re going to have us hunting in hotter – not cooler – weather,” he said.

The boundary separating what used to be called the Northwest Hunting Zone (renamed Zone D) from the Central Zone (now known as Zone C) has been moved a little farther west.

The new line dividing Zone C and Zone D begins at U.S. 27 at the Gadsden County/Georgia state line and runs south on U.S. 27 until it meets S.R. 61 in Tallahassee. From there, it follows S.R. 61, running south until it hits U.S. 319. Then the line follows U.S. 319, continuing south to U.S. 98; it then runs east along U.S. 98 before turning south on Spring Creek Highway and continuing to the Gulf of Mexico.

Changes to Zone D push opening day of archery season back one week. The first phase of muzzleloading gun season will have four additional days and will move from November to December, filling a gap that was previously closed to deer hunting in that zone.

As a result, Zone D will have continuous deer hunting opportunities from the beginning of archery through the last phase of muzzleloading gun season, and an increase in total deer hunting days from 123 to 128.

Zone C’s new deer hunting season dates will begin one week earlier (archery season will begin on the third Saturday of September every year) and include 12 more days for a total of 128.

(For the conclusion of the story and the calendar see page 24 in the March 2010 issue)