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Hunters Get More Public Land; Youths Get New Turkey Hunting Weekend

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) passed new rules Wednesday, opening more public land to hunters and establishing a special spring turkey hunting weekend just for Florida’s youths.

Effective July 1, new parcels of public land will be included within the state's wildlife management area (WMA) system and available for hunting during the 2010-2011 hunting season.  Included in these new areas is the 1,290-acre Fort White Mitigation Park in Gilchrist County.  The property will have an archery season, small-game season and spring turkey season.

{sidebar id=1}The Lafayette Forest Wildlife and Environmental Area (WEA) is another tract comprising 2,148 acres in Lafayette County, which will offer archery, muzzleloading gun, family, wild hog and spring turkey hunts.

The 9,754-acre Charles H. Bronson WMA in Orange and Seminole counties will feature archery, muzzleloading gun, general gun, small-game and spring turkey hunts.  The parcel is cooperatively owned by the state’s Division of Forestry, the St. Johns River Water Management District and Orange County.

The Department of Environmental Protection's 6,445-acre Marshall Swamp in Marion County, currently a public small-game hunting area, will become a full-blown WMA, offering archery, muzzleloader, general gun, small game and spring turkey hunts.

Watermelon Pond WEA is a 4,231-acre tract in Alachua County that is cooperatively owned by the Division of Forestry and the FWC.  It too will feature an archery season and small-game hunts.

Youth hunters are sure to benefit from yet another rule passed by the FWC.  This one establishes a two-day youth turkey hunt on private property the weekend prior to the opening of spring turkey season in each hunting zone, beginning with the 2011 spring turkey season.  Only those under 16 years old will be allowed to harvest a turkey while supervised by an adult, 18 years or older.  However, any adult supervisor who has a hunting license and the necessary permits will be allowed to “call in” the turkey and otherwise participate in the hunt, but they will not be permitted to harvest one.

This information originally published on February 17, 2010.

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