Florida Deer Hunting

Oranges, sunshine, beaches, hurricanes, space flights and Disney World is usually what one thinks of when the state of Florida is mentioned. Though one doesn’t think of deer hunting immediately when Florida is thought of, we are happy to report, it is doing very well.

In the 1600’s deer were abundant, but in the 1700’s deer hide began to be traded heavily. This severely impacted their numbers. Cattle fever ticks, screw-worm flies and CWD (chronic wasting disease) affected the herds negatively, only a few of the numerous conditions deer were susceptible to, which the wildlife agency had to be aware of and try to manage.

There were only 20,000 or so deer in the entire state of Florida in the 1930’s, and next to none in the southern part of the state, as 10,000 to 20,000 deer were put down due to cattle fever ticks. The 1940’s were when the numbers began to turn around. Florida began participating in the Federal Aid to Wildlife program, which funded wildlife management. This led to restoration and lands purchased to house the animals. 1958 brought about the end of the screw-worm fly and the deer population continued to climb. Today, deer are nearing a million. Approximately 200,000 hunters occupy Florida today, and over 100,000 deer are harvested yearly.

Rutting dates are at different times throughout the state. Beginning around July in the south, September or October in central Florida and February in the northwest.

Florida Deer Hunting Facts

  • Over 200,000 hunters
  • Over 100,000 deer harvested annually
  • Biggest typical buck is 168 1/8, taken by Larry Furr, in Gadsden County, in 1977
  • Biggest non-typical buck is 206, taken by James E. Stovall, in Green Swamp WMA West, in 1999

Florida, meaning flowery easter, is a hunter’s haven. Mild winters and many breeding dates provide ample oppurtunity for you to bag that wall hanger you’ve been wanting.

Popular Public Hunting Areas in Florida
Blackwater – Over 191,000 acres to be hunted in Okaloosa and Santa Rosa Counties. For more information, check out this brochure.

Florida Private Hunting Areas
Do you own private hunting land or offer guided hunts in Florida? Contact us about a listing in this section!

Other Resources
For Florida hunting license information, rules and regulations, visit here.