July 6, 2006
Contact: Tony Young (850) 488-7867
Last week, Governor Jeb Bush signed into law a bill affecting would-be, first-time hunters and those wanting to hunt during Florida’s newly established crossbow season.
Effective Aug. 1, 2006, anyone 16 years or older and born after May 31, 1975 can hunt under the supervision of a licensed hunter, 21 or older, without having to complete the state’s hunter safety certification. The newly established “Hunter Safety Mentoring Exemption” enables those persons to purchase a Florida hunting license and hunt during a one-year trial basis.
The new mentoring exemption was passed by the Florida Legislature to help persuade more people 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.
Until now, everyone 16 or over, and born after May 31, 1975, needed to complete the hunter safety requirement before they were allowed to buy a hunting license.
“This should be a great incentive for getting more people to give hunting a try, and hopefully, we can hook some of these folks on the hunting tradition,” said Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hunter safety coordinator Bill Cline. “If a novice hunter enjoys the sport, we hope they take the hunter safety course and continue the experience for years to come.”
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 a hunting license and hunt the following year.
Another part of the law establishes a $5 permit fee for hunters to participate in the state’s new crossbow season. The new permit is similar to the archery and muzzleloading gun permits that also cost $5 and are required for those hunting during the archery and muzzleloading gun seasons.
The crossbow season will run Oct. 9-13 in the South Hunting Zone, Oct. 23-27 in the Central Zone and Nov. 27 – Dec. 3 in the Northwest Zone. Hunters will need to purchase the $5 crossbow permit to hunt during these periods when only crossbows and bows can be used.
The new crossbow season is offered on private lands only and not available on any of the state’s wildlife management areas.
For more information on the hunter safety mentoring exemption or crossbow season, call Tony Young at (850) 488-7867.