Hunting News

Tallahassee                                                                       For Immediate Release


Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

620 South Meridian Street • Tallahassee, FL • 32399-1600 • (850) 488-4676

FAX (850) 488-1961 • Web site:

March 16, 2007


Contact: Steve Robbins (386) 758-0525

Florida’s certified bowhunting course is now available online from the National Bowhunter Education Foundation (NBEF). 

Bowhunters can access the program on the NBEF Web site, enter through the Florida portal and complete the online classroom topics before attending a shortened, interactive field day. 

The cost to take the distance learning course is $20, payable online to the NBEF program provider.  A student who passes the online test will be issued a qualifier certificate that will enable the student to complete the course at a field day.  There the student will participate in field walks, blood trail exercises, erecting and safely ascending and descending from tree stands, as well as equipment preparation and survival techniques. 

            Bowhunting certification is not mandatory in Florida to purchase a license, however, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) volunteer instructors provide this course as an additional service to those who plan to bowhunt in a state that requires the additional certification, as well as those hunters who want to learn more about safe bowhunting.  The 14 states that require NBEF Bowhunting Certification are Alaska, Connecticut, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Vermont.  It is also required in the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Quebec.

Students should bring their own equipment to shoot at the field day, but bows can be provided.  Students should dress in hunting attire with proper footwear. Sandals are not allowed.  Arrows should have field tips only. Targets for shooting arrows with broadheads will not be available.  Students under 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. 

The Web site to take Florida’s online course is  For a list of field days offered by the FWC Hunter Safety and Ranges Section, visit and look through the course schedules for “Bowhunting only - distance learning field day.” The FWC plans to offer one field day each month somewhere in the state.  Florida still offers the free traditional bowhunting course.  Look for the listing that states “Bowhunting course only – traditional course.” 

While on the FWC Web site, hunters can sign up for a free hunter safety course.  Many are available throughout the state during the spring and summer months, but they fill up quickly as it gets closer to the hunting seasons. 

Nov 2, 2006
The following is copied from the September/October 2006 edition of Sentry - the newsletter of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation
Under - U.S. Sportsmen's Legal Defense Fund
Judge OKs Sportsmen's Involvement In Lawsuit to Defend Hunting
A federal court judge will allow the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation (USSAF) to represent hunters' interests in a lawsuit brought by anti's to make black bears in Florida off-limits to sportsmen.  The suit also creates legal precedent that threatens hunting from coast to coast.
Judge Henry Kennedy, Jr granted the USSAF and its U.S. Sportsmen's Legal Defense Fund permission to join the suit, which was brought by the Humane Society of the United States, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club and other anti-hunting groups.  They are suing the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS), contending that the black bear in Florida is a separate sub-species of the North American black bear.  The groups argue that the distinction entitles Florida bears to protection under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
A dangerous precedent will be set if black bears in Florida are classified as a sub-species and categorized as endangered.  It will allow anti-hunters to bring similar lawsuits to challenge the classification of deer, quail and other game animals that have numerous sub-species throughout the country.
Anti's have tried for years to list Florida's bears under the ESA, but extensive research has determined that the listing is not warranted.  Studies show that healthy bear populations occur in secure habitats in several areas.
The USSAF will join the Safari Club International, Central Florida Bear Hunters Association, and Mark Roden of St. Augustine to intervene in the case.

Sep 21, 2006
I noticed this in today's Gainesville Sun newspaper...  The article was written by Tim Tucker:
Beginning Saturday, football will lose a few fans as the state's bow-hunting season begins in North Central Florida.
Archery Season, which runs from September 23 (tomorrow) through October 22, provides a great opportunity to take a trophy whitetail and is arguably one of the best times to do so (along with hunting during the peak of the rut).  If you are stealthy enough and have done enough homework, you stand a good chance of having a buck walk out in front of you.
To hunt during archery season, you'll need a Florida hunting license and an archery permit.  For a Florida resident, a hunting license costs $12.50.  Nonresidents may pay $46.50 for a 10-day license or $151.50 for 12 months.  The archery permit costs $5 for in-state and out of state hunters.  In addition, hunting on one of the region's numerous wildlife management areas requires a management area permit ($26.50).
The most common game taken during archery season are deer and wild hog.  During this period, deer of either sex are legal game regardless of antler size (except for spotted fawns).  The daily bag limit on deer is two (bag limits on WMAs can differ).
Wild hogs are considered livestock on private lands and - with landowner permission - can be hunted year-round with no bag or size limits.  On most WMAs, there are no bag or size limits.  Hogs are legal to take during any hunting season except spring turkey.  On a few WMAs, limits do apply.
In addition to hunting big game, it's also legal to shoot gobblers or bearded turkeys during archery season.  Only one can be taken per day and there is a two-bird fall limit.  It is against the law to hunt turkeys in Holmes County during this period and turkeys cannot be shot while they are on the roost, over bait, when you're within 100 yards of a game-feeding station or with the aid of recorded turkey calls. 
If you are good enough with a bow, gray squirrel, quail and rabbit are also legal to take during archery season.  There's a daily bag limit of 12 for each.
Only bows may be used during archery season.  No crossbows are allowed, except for hunters with a disabled crossbow permit.  Bows must have a minimum draw weight of 35 pounds (hand-held releases are permitted).  Broad heads must have at least two sharpened edges with a minimum width of 7/8 inch.
Legal shooting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to a half-hour after sunset.  Except for turkey, resident game can be taken over corn or soybeans - as long as the game-feeding station has been established for at least six months and maintained year-round.  It's against the law to use such bait on WMAs.
Things you can't do during archery season include possessing firearms, using explosive or drug-injecting arrows, using bows equipped with electronic or laser sights, and possessing a bow on an airboat in Miami-Dade County.
A new crossbow hunting season for private lands debuts this season October 23-27.  The added season is limited to private lands and restricts harvest to bucks only.

Thursday March 30, 2006
The county commission and park service of Polk County Florida will be deliberating the decision that bowfishing is to be banned from Carter Road Park near Lakeland, Florida. Any and all bowfishers and those interested in fighting this ban are invited to the meetings.  There will be three meetings and anyone interested may attend to speak or supply a rep for all those who bow fish along with a signed letter of names and addresses of those opposing the ban. It is possible that is banning issue will become a trend that will affect all county parks in Polk and eventually be a spearhead for other counties in Florida to follow. If you bowfish in a county park somewhere in Florida there is a good chance it will be a thing of the past. Call the Polk County Commission and Park Services and let them know you don’t want this to happen and for it be a model for other Florida counties to follow!

Sunday February 12, 2006

Crossbows, not hurricanes, are the big news from the state of Florida.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved rule changes to open a five-day crossbow season on private lands between archery and muzzleloader season in the south and central zones. A seven-day season in the northwest zone will open on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

Conventional bows may be used during the new crossbow season, and both bows and crossbows may be used on private property during muzzleloader gun season, but crossbows will not be legal during the archery season.

With the legalization of crossbows in Florida, New York State continues as one of just five states that do not recognize the crossbow as a legal hunting implement for the general public in any big-game hunting season.

Kansas, Nevada, Oregon and Utah either do not recognize the implement for hunting or, like New York, set limitations that allow only severely impaired persons to apply for a crossbow-hunting permit.

Daniel James Hendricks, editor of Horizontal Bowhunter magazine and executive director of the American Crossbow Federation, sees Florida's crossbow season opener as "another step in the right direction." For more information about the magazine or ACF, go to: For a breakdown of state regulations, go to: and click on "Crossbow Regulations" and then "USA Regulations."

April 2005

There will be 9 NBEF Certified Florida Bowhunting Courses held around our state this fall.  I anticipate posting a few more in the next couple of months. Here's the current list:

   DATE   COUNTY                                LOCATION                             TIME      
060405  MARION  OCALA CONSERVATION CAMP 8:00           
071605  ALACHUA BEAR ARCHERY, GAINESVILLE       8:00           
072305  BAKER   TERRY’S FISHIN’ & HUNTIN’ MACCLENNY     8:00           
072405  SARASOTA        SARASOTA ARCHERY CLUB   8:00           
081305  MARION  OCALA CONSERVATION CAMP 8:00           
081305  SUWANNEE        SUWANNEE COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS     8:00           
081405  SARASOTA        SARASOTA ARCHERY CLUB   8:00           
090305  CITRUS  CITRUS WMA, HOLDER MINE CAMPGROUND      8:00           
091005  PALM BEACH      CORBETT YOUTH CAMP      8:00           

You can register for these courses online at  Please pass this information along to your members, especially if they will be hunting out-of-state where this certification may be required. If your club is interested in hosting a Bowhunting Course, please contact me at the email address or phone number listed below, and I'll direct you to someone in your area who can help set one up. Don't forget the annual Florida Bowhunting Jamboree at the Holder Mine Campground in the Citrus Wildlife Management Area on Labor Day weekend (a bowhunting course will be conducted there on Saturday, September 3, preceeding the Sunday/Monday jamboree). Thanks to all of you for your support of bowhunting and hunter safety in Florida.

Steven R. Robbins, Regional Hunter Safety Coordinator
FL Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
Division of Hunting and Game Management
Hunter Safety & Ranges Section, North Central Region
3377 East U. S. Highway 90  Lake City, FL  32055
386 758-0525
Visit us on the web at

March 2005

Florida Couple wins National Award from Winchester.

North Central Region                                   For Immediate Release


Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

3377 East US Hwy 90 • Lake City, FL • 32055-8713 • (386) 758-0525

FAX (386) 758-0533 • Web site:


March 31, 2005

Contact: Karen Parker (386) 758-0525






With 54 years of teaching Florida hunter safety courses between them, Terry and Norma Neenan, from Bell, have been named the 18th Annual Winchester National Volunteer Hunter Education Instructor of the Year for 2004.  

With Terry having 32 years of tenure with the program, and Norma logging 22 herself, they have offered or participated in approximately 454 courses, certifying approximately 20,750 students while donating approximately 7,543 hours to Hunter Safety, according to Steve Robbins, Regional Hunter Safety Coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) North Central Region.

The Neenans will attend the International Hunter Education Association’s annual meeting in Las Vegas April 26-28 to receive their award.

“You could have knocked us over with a feather,” Terry explained. “Because we were a couple, we didn’t think we had a chance of getting this award.”

“I’m not surprised that the Neenans won this honor. These two are amazing,” Robbins explained. “They were the first couple in Florida to introduce team-teaching into their courses.

 “In 2004, Terry and Norma certified 531 students in 22 courses, while serving as chief instructor in nine of those courses.  They work tirelessly with new instructors to familiarize them with Florida’s Hunter Safety program.  They advertise for new instructors in each course they participate in, recruit from the ranks of 4H and Junior ROTC programs, and they attend outdoor shows in an attempt to recruit new instructors,” Robbins said.

            Terry and Norma won the FWC’s Statewide Hunter Safety Instructor of the Year award in 2003.  In 1990 and 2002, they received Regional Area Coordinator awards.  They served as Florida state volunteer coordinators for the National Bowhunting Education Foundation (NBEF) for eight years, traveling the state teaching students as well as certifying other instructors to teach the NBEF course, according to Robbins.

Some of their other accomplishments include:

·         They both graduated from Clemson University’s Master Wildlifer Course to further their knowledge.        

·         They are active in the Gilchrist County 4-H chapter, conducting shooting sports programs for the agency and giving a special talk to the 4-H that covered gun safety issues, regarding proper gun handling in the home and field.  (This was not part of any regular Hunter Safety course.) They were awarded the Outstanding Service to 4-H of Gilchrist County award in 2003.

·         They took the NRA training for instructor certification and are certified NRA instructors in the pistol, rifle shotgun and muzzleloading disciplines.  They are also certified NRA range safety officers.

·         Terry is a member of the Fort White Gun Club, past president of the Tampa Bay Beagle Club, Secretary of Crane Bay Hunting Club for over the past eight years. 

 “The Neenans inspire and teach ethics both in and out of the classroom.  They are still as enthused, energetic and active as they were 20 years ago and willing to help promote and teach the Hunter Safety courses.  They actively teach and assist over a six county-area (Alachua, Levy, Dixie, Gilchrist, Suwannee and Columbia).  And they have never canceled a class because of bad weather. They are amazing,” said Robbins.

“Terry was an instructor when we got married,” Norma said. “I became an instructor myself out of ‘self preservation’ so I could spend some time with my husband.”

            And it’s become a family affair. Patrick Neenan, one of the couple’s six children, is also a Florida Hunter Safety instructor.

            Both the Neenans are avid hunters. They run beagles for deer and rabbits in Dixie County.

“I like still hunting too,” Norma explained. “I love sitting in a tree stand, listening to the sounds of the woods. It’s my ‘quiet’ time.”

“One good thing about being an instructor is we’re always running into former students when we’re in the woods,” Terry said. “And the best part of that is we know they’re safe hunters … if they paid attention during the class!”

For more information on Hunter Safety and the courses offered, check out

The Neenans will be conducting an Online/CD Rom Field day April 2 at Cross City Correctional Institute in Dixie County and another Online/CD Rom Field day June 11 at the Gilchrist County Sheriff's Office range north of Trenton.  They will hold a class for the 4-H summer camp at the same location June 27-30, and will offer a one-day National Bowhunter Education Foundation course at Bear Archery in Gainesville July 16.

Steven R. Robbins
FL Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
Regional Hunter Safety Coordinator, North Central Region
3377 East U. S. Highway 90  Lake City, FL  32055
386 758-0525
Visit us on the web at

February 2005

U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance

801 Kingsmill Parkway, Columbus, OH  43229

Ph. 614/888-4868 • Fax 614/888-0326

Website: • E-mail:


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE           Contact: Doug Jeanneret (614) 888-4868 x 212

February 2, 2005                                       Beth Ruth (614) 888-4868 x 214


Sportsmen Fortify Defense Against Anti’s

With Launch of Bowhunter Rights Coalition


(Columbus) – A coalition of the nation’s leading national bowhunting organizations and communications firms have joined to combat the newly elevated threat to bowhunting posed by the merger of two national animal rights groups.


 The groups are uniting behind an initial U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance plan to mobilize bowhunters in defense of their sport. 


“Bowhunters have proven their resolve in the past and must again demonstrate their might to stave off promised attacks by anti-hunters,” said Rick Story, senior vice president of the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance.


At a January meeting, the Bowhunter Rights Coalition (BRC) was launched in response to the January 1 merger of the Humane Society of the United States and the Fund for Animals.  The new mega-animal rights group boasts of a multi-million dollar budget and has vowed to target bowhunting in 2005.


State and local bowhunting organizations, as well as individual bowhunters and other sportsmen are being recruited to unite under the BRC flag.  Bowhunter Magazine, The Bowsite, The International Bowhunting Organization and Pope & Young Club have already joined the coalition.


“The BRC will build a grassroots network capable of defending against attacks in the courts, in legislatures or on the ballot,” said Story.  “These allies will help to distribute issue alerts, urge sportsmen to contact lawmakers regarding hunting-related legislation and dilute the burden of legal fees in defense of bowhunting.”


The coalition’s main thrust will be the ability to effectively communicate and to have a rapid response capability.  The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance is preparing a BRC website on which it will post the latest news about the assault against bowhunting for sportsmen and bowhunting publications.  It will provide educational materials about bowhunter safety and more.  A chat room will also be available to discuss issues and for occasional live chats with leaders of the bowhunting community.


“The Alliance’s successes over the years have been attributed to our ability to organize,” said Story.  “That was evident in the formation of the Bowhunter Defense Coalition in 1988 in response to increasing attacks on bowhunting.  This effectiveness will be recreated with the BRC.”


A report from the Humane Society of the United States released on January 31 lays out the group’s plans to ban hunting in 2005.  Aside from previous plans to target bowhunting, HSUS is preparing a ballot campaign to ban Michigan’s dove season for which sportsmen arduously fought.


For more information about how to join the Bowhunter Rights Coalition, call the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, (614) 888-4868 or e-mail


The U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance protects the rights of hunters, anglers and trappers in the courts, legislatures, at the ballot, in Congress and through public education programs.  For more information about the U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and its work, call (614) 888-4868 or visit its website,


August 2004

This link is an article from the Gainesville Sun dated August 23, about Terry and Norma Neenan, 2003 Hunter Safety Instructors of the Year.

Steven R. Robbins   (386) 758-0525
Regional Hunter Safety Coordinator
FL Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
North Central Region
3377 East US Highway 90   Lake City, FL  32055
visit us at

June 2004


    Florida sportsmen last month were called upon to help stop legislation that would provide funding to the nation's largest anti-hunting group, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

    Senate Bill 2020 creates an "Animal Friend" special license plate, to fund the HSUS.  The bill also allows for the creation of other specialty plates including some to benefit food banks, youth soccer leages and family organizations.

    The bill passed the House of Representatives and Senate within a five day period.  The rush did not allow sportsmen's organizations to educate legislators about HSUS'santi-hunting agenda.

    The HSUS does not operate a single dog or cat shelter, but according to its website, it "strongly opposes the recreational hunting and killing of wild animals..."  The group's primary function is to change public policy with regards to animal use issues through legislation, litigation and ballot issue campaigns.

    "Through license fees and taxes on firearms, ammunition and tackle, hunters and anglers invest nearly $50 million annually in Florida's conservation programs," said Rob Sexton, U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance vice president for government affairs.  "The legislature must not have known that their bill would provide funding to an organization that wants to destroy the wildlife management system that has resulted in thriving wildlife and abundant recreational opportunities."  

    At press time, the bill had not been acted upon by Gov. Bush, but action is imminent.

Copied from page 3, June 2004 Sentry, official membership newsletter of the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance and The U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation.

June 6, 2004.
Currently, there are 6 NBEF Certified Florida Bowhunting Courses between now and September posted on the NBEF Website  I anticipate posting a few more around the state in the next couple of months.  Please pass this information along to your members, especially if they will be hunting out-of-state where this certification may be required.  If your club is interested in hosting a Bowhunting Course, please contact me at the email address or phone number listed below, and I'll direct you to someone in your area who can help set one up.  Don't forget the annual Florida Bowhunting Jamboree at the Holder Mine Campground in the Citrus Wildlife Management Area on Labor Day weekend (a bowhunting course will be conducted there on Saturday, September 4, preceeding the Sunday/Monday jamboree).  Thanks to all of you for your support of hunter safety in Florida.

Steven R. Robbins   (386) 758-0525
Regional Hunter Safety Coordinator
FL Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission
North Central Region
3377 East US Highway 90   Lake City, FL  32055
visit us at

Hunting Tale from L.R Van Cleave, 3 Mar 2003

Jan 7, 2003
Tim's vehicle registration renewal had the following information with it...  (I guess that he might have hit 65 years old).

"Congratulations, as a Florida resident 65 years old or older, you may fish in fresh or salt water and hunt for free.  Proof of age and residency is all that is required."

Thought some of you might be interested in this benefit...

Oct 21, 2002.
Don Fafking - A New York archer who winters in Florida and affiliates with Lee County Archers - has registered to shoot NAFAC this year.  When I talked to him on the phone, he was quite excited about the successful hunt from which he had just returned - He's 74 years old and just shot his first Moose!  He brought home 348 pounds of meat and is having the hide tanned.  He shot the moose at 38 yards and it traveled just far enough to drop in water, so they had a couple of hours just getting it
out where they could work on it properly...  Y'all in Lee County need to get Don to tell you about his hunt when he gets down here.

Published October 2002

Bow-and-arrow hunter kills man trying to steal his car

Copyright 2002 Houston Chronicle

Published Monday, September 3, 2001

Hunters could soon be extinct in Everglades National Park
Starting with the opening of archery season this week, rangers will mount what they call an `education campaign.'

The following is copied from the June Update from the Wildlife Legislative Fund of America:

Florida Bills to Ban Youth Hunts Are Defeated

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