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Florida may require hunters to report 2011 deer harvests

From the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission

-- Florida's Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has directed its staff to advertise new rule proposals requiring all hunters to tag harvested white-tailed deer and report the harvest to the FWC.  
       
However, commissioners have directed staff to provide a menu of options regarding exempt hunters, showing how those hunters would report their harvest. Exempt hunters include individuals 65 and older and 16 and under.
       
Tagging and reporting game harvests is commonly done in many state, and Florida reviewed several other state harvest-reporting systems to see what might work well in Florida.
       
The objective is to craft a system where hunters would report their harvested deer to better track where and how many deer are harvested in Florida.  
       
Wildlife Commission staff presented a draft proposal at five public meetings across the state and gathered input and feedback through an online poll. The proposed harvest-reporting system would utilize a 24-hour, seven-days-a-week telephone and internet system, and tags to attach to harvested deer.

Some of the information hunters would have to report includes customer number, date of harvest, county, method of take, hunting with or without dogs, type of deer (antlered buck, button buck or doe) and number of antler points on bucks.  All compiled statewide harvest data would be available to the public online and updated daily, but would not include hunters' personal information.
       
"We want to make this system as friendly as possible for Florida's hunters," according to Cory Morea, biologist and deer management program coordinator.  "We need the data to give Florida hunters what many of them have asked for, that is better management of the state's deer herd, and at a more local level.  This will give us one of the tools to enable us to do that."
       
The new rules could be approved for final adoption at the February 2011 Commission meeting and would become effective July 1, 2011, and apply to the 2011-12 hunting season. For more detailed information on the proposed harvest-reporting system, go to http://myfwc.com/recreation/Deer_index.htm.

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