Duck hunting Florida? Is that even a thing? Waterfowl hunting gets so much attention in the midwest and northern areas, states like Florida are easily forgotten. Florida sits in the Atlantic flyway and is home to some of the best coastal duck hunting in the country.
In Florida, waterfowl hunting is legal on almost every body of water adjacent to public land, with a few exceptions stated clearly. Florida sits on one of the largest (possibly the largest) aquifers in the world.
This gigantic aquifer feeds over a thousand natural springs throughout the state. That’s not to mention the fact that it’s a peninsula, with more lakes, springs, rivers, creeks, and tributaries than you can possibly imagine. In short, it’s a duck-hunting paradise.
Florida Duck Hunting Season
Florida duck seasons extend to teal and wood ducks in the very beginning. Later in the season, it drops to just teal only, before it truly opens up. Mergansers (the common, red-breasted, and hooded) have their own season, which does overlap to a degree.
Duck season in Florida opens up in mid-September and runs for about a week for teal and wood ducks. The season doesn’t end abruptly as the week draws to a close, but the wood ducks drop off the list and you can only hunt teal for another few days.
The season grinds to a halt around the end of September and picks back up in mid-November. This time, however, it’s wide open for just about every duck in the United States that makes its way down to Florida.
The mid-November portion of the season ends late in the month. It starts up again in the middle of December and runs through January for the longest period of all.
For unspecified reasons that are probably only known to the locals, Leon County and Miccosukee County only allow duck hunting on Wednesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays throughout the season.
Where to hunt
Despite its limitation, Leon County is one of the best areas in the state for duck hunting, along with Jefferson County. Both have large WMAs (Wildlife Management Areas) that contain several public lakes.
The Guana River WMA is an outstanding area to check out as well. Gulf Islands National Seashore has gotten a lot of attention in recent seasons, along with T.M. Goodwin Waterfowl Management Area and Hickory Mound WMA.
The truth is, just about anywhere in Florida that touches water (which is everywhere in this state) is a good place to hunt ducks, so long as you are allowed to. As we mentioned above, unless otherwise specified, most public areas along waterways are open to duck hunters in the state of Florida.
What ducks can you Shoot
Florida is pretty wide open on what ducks you can hunt, but they do limit when you can start hunting them, with the season opening for wood ducks and teal only, followed by a larger variety of ducks as the season moves on.
- Wood ducks
- Merganser (three varieties)
- Sea ducks
- Long-tailed ducks
- Black ducks
- Mottled ducks
- Fulvous whistling ducks
Florida is complicated with its bag limits, which is probably why the state doesn’t stand out much when it comes to duck season. For instance, during the initial stage of the season, when all you can hunt are teal and wood ducks, you can bag only 6 (2 of which can be wood ducks).
- 4 Sea Ducks (No more than 3 scoters)
- 4 long-tailed ducks or elders (only 1 may be female)
- 3 wood ducks (later in the season)
- 2 redheads
- 2 black ducks
- 2 canvasbacks
- 1 pintail
- 1 mottled duck
- 1 fulvous whistling duck
- 1 scaup in the first week of the season
- 2 scaups in January
The possession limit on all of the above is three times the daily bag limit.
Florida is a big state in terms of ducks. However, some of the best counties have limitations on what days you can hunt and the other limitations are often not very attractive to out-of-state hunters, which probably limits Florida’s popularity.
If you’re curious about the various restrictions in certain Florida counties, check out the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations.
Ducks love water, and Florida is all about water, both inside and out. It’s often said that if you can’t find ducks in Florida, you aren’t trying. There’s a lot of truth in that. Florida is pretty strong on conservatorship, however, so the changing, seasonal bag limits can be aggravating.
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