The 2022-2023 fishing and hunting season is in full swing! Beginning July 1, new FWC rules and regulations took effect (some took effect even earlier).
While there are too many updates to list here, below we have summarized the changes that impact fishing and hunting in South Florida.
WILD TURKEY – Hunters are now required to report harvested wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) within 24 hours of harvest and record the harvest in a log prior to moving the wild turkey. Hunters may log and report harvested turkey using the mobile app FWC Fish|Hunt Florida, going to https://gooutdoorsflorida.com, or completing a paper harvest log and calling 888-HUNT-FLORIDA (888-486-8356).
HUNTING DOGS – Hunting dogs not under physical restraint must have collars with devices that allow for tracking (GPS) and behavior correction.
FELLSMERE WATER MANAGEMENT AREA – As of June 7, 2022 (a little earlier than the official 2022-2023 season kickoff), no access is allowed to this WMA until one hour before sunrise. Moreover, the hours of access apply the same to hunters as to all other users. Regarding fishing: Black bass must be released immediately, and circle hooks are required when fishing with natural bait greater than 3 inches in length.
BLUE CRAB TRAPS: To protect the diamondback terrapin, a species of turtle, all recreational blue crap traps must have rigid entrances no larger than 2×6 inches at the narrowest point or a bycatch reduction device measuring 2×6 inches installed by March 1, 2023.
DIAMONDBACK TERRAPIN (additional protective measures): The collection of diamondback terrapins is now prohibited unless the collector has a permit for scientific research. Those who already have diamondback terrapins as pets can legally keep them if they obtained a permit before May 31, 2022.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission continues to increase regulations with the stated intention of protecting our flora and fauna. For most regulations, ignorance of the law is not a defense. Those engaging in fishing and hunting activities in Florida are responsible for keeping up with the rules.
Tip: A helpful tool for keeping abreast of FWC fishing rules is the Fishbrain App.
If you have been arrested or cited for an FWC violation, contact Casanova Law for your fish and wildlife defense. Attorney Lourdes Casanova is a former prosecutor experienced in litigating fish and wildlife criminal cases and noncriminal infractions.