Hunter Safety Requirements
for Florida

Hunter safety probably ranks near the top of anyone's list. Being a hunter myself, as well as being a husband, dad, and granddaddy, I understand the importance of safety in any situation.

The State of Florida has a few things to say about safety:

Hunter safety requirement

  • Anyone born after June 1, 1975 cannot purchase a hunting license without first successfully completing a hunter safety course.
  • Proof of satisfactory completion of Florida's Hunter Safety Course or an approved course provided by another state or province is required when purchasing a hunting license without using the mentoring exemption option.
  • Children under age 16 may hunt with adult supervision without having to take a hunter safety course.
  • Persons needing proof they have passed the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Hunter Safety Course can print out duplicate certificates at

Hunter safety course

  • Everyone born after June 1, 1975 must pass an approved hunter safety course before they can purchase a Florida hunting license.
  • Successful completion of the FWC course is accepted in all states where hunter safety is a requirement to hunt.
  • Florida's hunter safety course is accepted by all states requiring hunter certification.
  • The FWC offers a Bowhunter Safety Course for residents desiring to hunt in a state that requires bowhunter education certification.
  • The 16-hour course is free.
  • Topics include handling firearms, outdoor ethics, wildlife identification and management, survival, field first aid, firearm laws and the Florida Wildlife Code. The basics of archery and black powder (muzzleloader) hunting are also taught.

Hunter Safety Deferral Mentoring Exemption

  • Anyone 16 years or older and born on or after June 1, 1975 can hunt for one season under the supervision of a licensed hunter, 21 or older, without having to complete the state's hunter safety certification.
  • The "Hunter Safety Deferral" enables those persons to purchase a Florida hunting license and hunt while that license is valid.
  • Individuals taking advantage of this try-before-you-buy approach would have to take and pass a hunter safety class to be eligible to purchase their next hunting license.
  • Hunters with a deferral who pass the hunter safety training class may hunt without a supervisor provided they have a copy of their hunter safety card with them.
  • The 2006 Florida Legislature passed the law to give more people the opportunity to experience hunting. It is designed to encourage experienced hunters to teach novice hunters about safety, ethics, wildlife, hunting skills and respect for Florida's outdoors.

Children and firearms - Florida Law, Section 790.22 states as follows:

(3) A minor under 18 years of age cannot possess a firearm, other than an unloaded firearm at his or her home, unless: (a) The minor is engaged in a lawful hunting activity and is at least 16 years of age; or under 16 years of age and supervised by an adult. (b) The minor is engaged in a lawful marksmanship competion or practice or other lawful recreational shooting activity and is at least 16 years of age; or under 16 years of age and supervised by a parent or an adult who is acting with consent of minor's parent or guardian. (c) The firearm is unloaded and is being transported by the minor directly to or from an event authorized in paragraph (a) or paragraph (b). (4)(a) Parents or guardians of a minor or other adults responsible for welfare of a minor who knowingly and willfully permit the minor to possess a firearm in violation of subsection (1) commit a felony of the third degree, punishable as provided in s.775.082,s.775.083 or s.775.084.

Section 790.174 states in part as follows:

(1) Requires that firearms be locked and/or stored in a secure manner to prevent minors from gaining access to them without parental permission and adult supervision. (3) As used in this act, the term "minor" means persons under age 16.

Youth Hunting Program:

  • The FWC is seeking landowners, hunting clubs, volunteers and organizations to help grow its recently established Youth Hunting Program.
  • Landowners and hunting clubs are needed to help host weekend youth hunts, while volunteers are needed to be trainig as huntmasters, hunter safety instructors, cooks or guides. Organizations also are being solicited to help sponsor this innovative program.
  • The program will also benefit landowners by volunteers assisting them with their management of deer, hogs and other game species they want to control on their property.

For COMPLETE informaton regarding Hunter Safety contact

Hunter Safety Articles:

When is an accident not an accident? (The Ten Commandments of Hunter Safety) By: Rodney Barreto, FWC Chairman (October 18, 2010)

Register for hunter safety and get ready for opening day! By Tony Young, FWC (August 2010)

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