With gator season fast approaching, many Florida residents are scrambling to apply for their permits. Hunting is a popular pastime in Florida, attracting enthusiasts from all over to come bag big and small game alike. Florida is also home to ample fishing and lobstering opportunities during summer months. To catch live game and fish, both Florida natives and outside visitors need to have the proper recreational licenses and permits on hand, or they may face legal repercussions. Here is a brief overview of hunting licenses, associated fees, and the application process.
The Types of Florida Hunting Licenses
There are several types of licenses that hunters can get in Florida dependent on age and residency. Prices range from $13.50 for a senior license to $151.50 for a nonresident license. Avid hunters can save by opting for a 5-year plan instead of an annual plan, while hobbyists may want to stick to day- or week-long passes. There are also discounts for adults over 64, youths under 18, disabled individuals, and veterans.
Each year, thousands of hunters apply for limited entry permits to help hunters spot gators through the Statewide Alligator Harvest Program. This program helps to curb the booming alligator population and helps to bring more tourism into the region. About five thousand permits are available for issue to both residents and nonresidents starting in May. Licenses are $272.00 for Florida natives and $1,022.00 for visitors.
A saltwater fishing license is necessary for anyone who plans to catch crabs, clams, marine plants, or other ocean life. Many anglers also catch common saltwater fish such as tarpon, sailfish, trout, and snappers. This applies regardless of whether a catch comes from state or federal waters. Saltwater fishing licenses are relatively affordable, with an annual permit costing just $17 for residents and $47 for nonresidents. Seniors, military members, and youths can receive a discount on fishing licenses, or anglers can save by purchasing a saltwater/freshwater combination license.
A freshwater fishing license is needed for anglers who plan to fish in lakes, rivers, or other freshwater bodies of water. This applies to both native catches and non-native species. The cost of a freshwater license is the same as that of a saltwater permit. Common catches include largemouth bass and a wide variety of catfish.
Hunting enthusiasts can save time and money by purchasing a lifetime license for hunting, freshwater fishing, or saltwater fishing through the FWC. Not only do lifetime licenses allow hunters to make the most of open seasons, but the proceeds from fees are invested in the long-term conservation of Florida’s wildlife and maritime resources. A lifetime license requires proof of state residency.
To hunt in Florida, both locals and visitors first need to apply for the appropriate licenses and permits. Applications can be filed online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com, at hunting outlets, or by contacting the county tax collectors’ offices. With due diligence, hunters can avoid running afoul of the law or incurring fees during open season.