Apply for quota permits
By: Tony Young
Every hunter knows you have a better chance of
catching a monster buck off-guard during the first part
of hunting season. Thatâ€™s why many of
us enjoy hunting the archery and muzzleloading gun
seasons â€“ and why we
canâ€™t miss opening weekend of the
general gun season.
If you hunt public land, you should know that many of Floridaâ€™s wildlife management areas (WMAs) require a quota permit to hunt during archery, muzzleloading gun and all or part of the general gun season.
A quota is the maximum number of hunters allowed on a particular WMA. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissionâ€™s (FWC) Quota Hunt Program prevents overcrowding on such areas and provides quality hunts. Quotas also help control game harvests. The FWC sets quotas based on an areaâ€™s size, habitat, game populations and regulations.
There are several types of quota permits, and most are issued by random drawing. The first-phase application period for archery, muzzleloading gun, general gun, youth, family, track vehicle (a swamp buggy with tank treads), airboat and mobility-impaired quota hunt permits runs June 1-30, so youâ€™ve got all month to get â€™em in.
You may submit one application for each of the hunt types, and there is no fee to apply. One thing to remember though: Unless exempt, you must have an up-to-date management area permit (or a license that includes one) when applying for a quota permit, or the system wonâ€™t accept your application.
Two of these quota hunts are unique to south Florida. An airboat quota permit is required for anyone wishing to hunt out of an airboat on Everglades and Francis S. Taylor WMA in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. But, if youâ€™d rather hunt off a track vehicle there, or on Rotenberger or Holey Land WMAs in Palm Beach County, youâ€™ll need a track vehicle quota permit.
The FWC offers youth deer hunts on Camp Blanding WMA in Clay County and on Andrews WMA in Levy County. If you have children between the ages of 8 and 15, and you want them to have a chance to experience one of these great hunts, apply for a youth quota hunt permit, because only 160 kids will get to participate. During these hunts, only the youngsters may hunt, and they and their adult supervisors are the only people allowed on the area.
To increase hunting opportunities for youths, youngsters may accompany an adult quota permit holder on any WMA â€“ even if the area doesnâ€™t allow for exemptions. However, adults and youngsters must share a single bag limit.
This coming season, there will be family quota hunts on 25 WMAs. You must have a family quota hunt permit to hunt these areas during specific time periods. If you are drawn, the permit requires one adult to take one or two youths hunting. The adult may not hunt without taking along a kid.
Hunters certified by the FWC as mobility-impaired may apply for mobility-impaired quota permits. These permits allow exclusive access to general-gun hunts on nine of the stateâ€™s better public hunting areas.
If you want to get the jump on one of these hunts, make sure you have the correct quota hunt application worksheet so you can apply for one or more of these great opportunities. All application worksheets can be found at MyFWC.com/License by clicking on â€œLimited Entry/Quota Huntsâ€ and then looking under â€œQuota Hunts.â€
Once youâ€™ve completed the application worksheet, you may use it to apply at License.MyFWC.com or submit it to any license agent or tax collectorâ€™s office.
The random drawings to decide who gets these quota hunt permits take place in July. To find out if youâ€™ve been selected, you can simply log in to your customer account at License.MyFWC.com to view your results.
But thereâ€™s been a change in how the preference system works. From now on, you can only return your unwanted quota permit online, and you canâ€™t do so until Phase III begins and up until 10 days prior to your hunt date. To do this, log in to your customer account at License.MyFWC.com, and click the â€œReturnâ€ link next to the hunt you wish to turn in.
Returns will only be accepted online and will be reissued every Tuesday throughout the season after the Phase III application period begins. If you return a permit that was awarded to you in Phase I, you will receive a preference point as well as the restoration of your preference points used to obtain the permit.
Tony Young is the media relations coordinator for the FWC's Division of Hunting and Game Management. You can reach him with questions about quota hunt permits or how to apply at Tony.Young@MyFWC.com.
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