2020 Duck Hunting Season on Local Lake
Written by M.J. Carnevale, Public Works Director, City of Winter Haven
November 21 marks the beginning of the first session of the regular season for water fowl and that runs through November 29, 2020. The second session runs from December 12, 2020 through January 31, 2021.
While the City of Winter Haven government takes an active interest in management of local water bodies, this particular issue is governed by state regulations, some of which actually prohibit local government from imposing any additional regulations.
State regulations created by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission govern the actual activity of duck hunting covering topics such as type of gun and ammunition (non-toxic) that may be used, timing, bag limits, locations etc. This requires a Florida Hunting Permit, Florida Water Fowl Permit, Federal Duck Stamp, and in some cases a Migratory Bird Permit. I’ve linked the FWC Migratory Bird hunting website below, but thought it was worth noting that the “Summary of federal hunting regulations” includes a “Wanton waste of migratory game birds” stipulation addressing any concerns people might have about birds being shot and not retrieved (a concern we have heard from residents in the past):
“Wanton waste of migratory game birds No person shall kill or cripple any migratory game bird without making a reasonable effort to retrieve the bird, and retain it in his actual custody, at the place where taken or between that place and either (a) his automobile or principal means of land transportation; or (b) his personal abode or temporary or transient place of lodging; or (c) a migratory bird preservation facility; or (d) a post office; or (e) a common carrier facility.”
As to the discharge of fire arms in City limits; prior to 2011 the City limited the discharge of firearms within City limits through local ordinance however House Bill 45 from the 2011 legislative session placed the power to regulate firearm usage solely in the hands of the State and went so far as to limit the ability of local government to impose any further regulations. I’ve included links to HB 45 as well as a the current state statue governing firearm discharge in Florida.
Additionally, it should be noted that statutory protection (379.105) exists for the sportsmen prohibiting anyone from intentionally interfering with or attempting to disturb the lawful taking of fish, game, or non-game animals and can have legal consequences.
There is something called "trespass by projectile" i.e. shot moves over private property. This is something FWC takes very seriously.
FWC Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations
Florida House Bill 45 (2011 Legislative Session)
2020 Florida State Statutes Chapter 790.15 (Discharging firearm in public or on residential property)
2020 Florida State Statutes Chapter 379.105 (Harassment of hunters, trappers, or fishers)
1/21/2021 02:45:00 pm
Why can’t we petition the state for a ban of hunting in city limits on water in populous areas. For example Lake Mirror where almost everyone in the community of Interlachen is complaining of the early am firing of weapons.
2/9/2021 01:10:11 pm
Kenny, assuming the hunting is taking place within legal shooting hours, game is being ethically harvested, and no "trespassing by projectile" is happening, then why a ban? You have to remember, people have been hunting on our Florida lakes long before houses dotted nearly every shoreline. With the rate of Florida growth, people will need to simply realize that hunting and fishing may take place on the water body they chose to live on. Again, these are activities that existed long before Florida had 20+ million residents. Also, from a safety perspective, there have been no recorded instances of a home owner being injuries by shot from a duck hunter (per FWC). The effective lethal range to a human is minuscule, I would be surprise if it was legal past 10 yards. Past 100 yards or so, if it even reached someone before falling, it would not even likely break the skin. So, from a safety point of view, there is nothing to worry about. It comes down to noise, which is understandable. As someone who lives on the water, I have accepted and realized people may use these lakes for various activities, as is their right. We cannot simply legislate because of personal feelings or something we may conceive as an inconvenience, if no laws are being broken.
2/16/2021 06:10:54 pm
As an avid hunter myself I understand the whole hunting concept in areas that have since become more populated. Safety was a minor concern here. The issue is a lake completely surrounded by home other than a small wooded area within the city limits being awoken every weekend morning with shotgun blasts. It is indeed a nuisance and there are plenty of lakes out in the rural areas of the county one can duck hunt. Being on the lake makes it sound like they are shooting in your living room, literally.
7/7/2021 12:04:44 pm
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