There has to be a balance between animals and nature to allow us to coexist. The way this balance is achieved is through regulated hunting during specific times of the year. Florida has an abundance of wildlife and is the perfect example of how to preserve a species without allowing their populations explode beyond control. Take a look at 5 of the most common fishing and hunting laws in Florida.
I am not a supporter of Florida’s allowance to harvest any species of shark, mostly because I was very involved with shark studies as a student (even though I was working a part-time job). Shark species are often far less abundant than we realize and I feel that they should be preserved. Thankfully most sharks are on the prohibited list, but for the few species not on the prohibited species list, very specific guidelines must be met. A hook and line are the only allowable gear to be used for harvesting sharks and multiple hooks are not allowed. A minimum fork length of 54 inches for all sharks is required as well. A maximum of 1 shark per harvester per day or 2 per vessel, whichever is less is allowed and sharks are to be landed intact this includes their heads and tails.
It wouldn’t be Florida without alligators and since 1988 the state has allowed a statewide alligator harvest to control the population. It is a nationally recognized model program that helps to sustain the balance of the alligator population. The harvest is open to both Florida residents and non-residents that are at least 18 years old. The Statewide Alligator Harvest Permit must be obtained, payment of two CITES tags and an Alligator Trapping License must be obtained in order to participate in the harvest. There are true benefits to these regulations and I feel that the limitation of no more than 2 approved alligators is reasonable for the purpose of population control.
Florida regulates the capture of spiny lobster by breaking lobster season up into two seasons. The mini season is only a two day event during the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July each year. The regular spiny lobster season is from August 6 to March 31 of every year. During mini season each person is limited to 12 lobsters in all counties with the exception of Monroe County and Biscayne National Park that has a limit of 6 per person. There is a bag limit of no more than 6 allowed during regular season. The possession limit stands for all land and water catches and is strictly enforced. A lobster with a carapace larger than 3” is the minimum acceptable size and must be measured in the water. Measuring devices must be used at all times and presented to authorities if requested. These regulations have been in place for a very long time and have proven successful for the lobster population and season participants.
The Intrastate Movement of Feral Swine was created to control the number of wild hogs living and thriving in Florida. There are estimated to be over 1 million wild hogs in Florida currently and many of these hogs carry many dangerous, transmittable diseases. There are many cases of disease being spread to humans and livestock. In order to control the spread of disease the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services allows individual trappers to become registered with the Department as a Feral Swine Dealer (FSD). A registered FSD must carry an identification card while transporting live swine, keep accurate records of all trapped animals, relocation dates and final destinations. The FSD is only permitted to complete the following actions: Movement to slaughter, Movement to an approved Game Reserve or Movement to an approved swine holding facility. These regulations are proving to be successful as well since Florida currently has not had any outbreaks of diseases transmitted by feral swine in many years.
Turkey hunting is surprisingly popular in Florida since we have a healthy and sustainable turkey population. I love it too. There’s just something about grabbing a bow, a good wilderness tool and the best survival knife money can buy, and going out to get dinner. The Osceola turkey is one of five subspecies of wild turkey in North America and it resides on the Florida peninsula. The Osceola turkey is one of the most desired wild game species in Florida. Turkey season is only open to Florida residents that have met hunter safety requirements and paid fees to obtain either an annual or 5 year license hunting license as well as a turkey hunting permit. There is a bag limit of one per day and two per season. Spring turkey season begins in February and fall season begins in august. Dates will vary based upon location in the state.