North Central Florida hunting season is in full swing! The wildlife is abundant in the Ocala National Forest, where you will find plenty of turkeys, deer, ducks and more to hunt during the appropriate hunting season. We have the information you need to plan the perfect hunting trip in our Ocala National Forest Hunting Season Guide.
Hunting White-Tailed Deer
Florida White-tailed deer are located from the Panhandle all the way to the Florida Keys. They are the most popular game species in Florida. Here are the Florida deer hunting season requirements and dates.
Hunting Wild Pigs
Wild pigs, also called wild hogs or wild boar, are the second-most popular large animal hunted in Florida. They live in all of Florida’s 67 counties. Peruse pig hunting season dates before you start hunting wild pigs.
Wetland habitats in Florida offer a variety of places for hunters to find duck and other waterfowl available for hunting.
Canada geese season in Florida is through Jan. 30. Duck and light geese hunting season begins Dec. 10 and runs through Jan. 29.
Hunting Florida Black Bears is Off Limits Right Now
The state’s largest land mammal is the Florida Black Bear. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) voted to postpone bear hunting in Florida in 2016 and might consider future bear hunting in 2017. The last limited Florida bear hunt was in October 2015.
There are more than 4,000 bears in Florida and many of them can be spotted in the Ocala National Forest for sightseeing only at a safe distance away.
Hunting Osceola Turkeys
One of the most in-demand species to hunt in Florida is the Osceola (Florida) turkey. These turkeys do not live anywhere else in the world. Follow these Osceola turkey hunting requirements and seasonal hunting dates so you have the best chance of bringing home the bacon (or turkey)!
Hunting Small Game
You don’t always need to go big or go home. Florida has a variety of small-game hunting opportunities. Some of the most popular small game species in Florida include gray squirrels and rabbits.
Ocala National Forest Hunting Season Tips
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) manages the Ocala National Forest. Hunters must obtain a special permit to use hunt camps during deer hunting season in the Ocala National Forest. These permits can be picked up at the Lake George Ranger District Station or the Seminole Ranger District Station.
There is a $5 per day use fee to access the hunt camp and a $5 launch fee to use the boat ramp at Farles Lake Hunt Camp.
Florida Hunting Licenses
A valid Florida hunting license is needed to hunt in the Ocala National Forest. Hunters must adhere to all FWC hunting regulations. The FWC oversees the distribution of all recreational hunting licenses. Licenses for residents and non-residents are available with the FWC and can be purchased online.
Hunting licenses vary in price and are more expensive for non-residents, but you don’t always need a hunting license in Florida. If you are a child less than 16 years of age or hunting wild hogs on private land, a license isn’t needed.
Plan a Hunting Trip Along the St. Johns River
After an amazing day of hunting and watching wildlife in the Ocala National Forest, you will need a calm and relaxing place to stay. Make sure to spend some time enjoying the beautiful St. Johns River when you visit North Central Florida. Castaways on the River offers comfortable cottages and motel rooms just steps away from a marina full of rental boats for your use. Call Castaways on the River at (352) 759-3442 to book your next hunting trip adventure today!