FWC Commission Developing Rules for Establishing Restricted Hunting Areas

Contact: Mark Lance, Southeastern States Coordinator 

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation (FWC) Commission (Commission) is developing draft rule changes that provide objective criteria for establishing Restricted Hunting Areas (RHAs). The FWC’s stated intent is to reduce confusion for hunters that utilize RHAs and communities that apply for a RHA. The Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation is tracking the rule development process to ensure that hunter access is not unduly restricted. 

The proposed rule changes include:

  • The jurisdiction applying to establish an RHA must:
    • Document that the proposed RHA has an average dwelling density of not less than one (1) dwelling per acre;
    • Pass a resolution that clearly states that the jurisdiction is seeking to establish an RHA. The resolution must contain a statement that all residents in the proposed RHA have been contacted and invited to at least one public meeting to discuss the resolution before the resolution was passed;
    • Provide detailed maps and legal descriptions of the proposed RHA;
    • Provide a list of the local law enforcement agencies that have consented to enforcing the RHA rules; and
    • Pass an ordinance once a permit has been issued.
  • Hunting within 300 feet of a dwelling will be prohibited except for dwelling owners or those that have written permission from the dwelling owner;
  • Restricted hunting areas will not include any FWC or federally owned or managed lands, and the 300-foot buffer will not extend onto these areas; 
  • Local law enforcement will be solely responsible for enforcing restricted hunting areas; and
  • Signs must be posted along the entire border of the RHA.

The proposed rule changes would not prohibit hunting in undeveloped areas within an RHA or areas more than 300 feet from a dwelling.

The FWC hosted webinars for the public to learn about the proposed rule changes. The public comment period is open, and comments can be submitted online.

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