Florida – Mild Winter and Good Nesting Season Leads to Increase

Forecast: Luckily for Florida‘s hunters, the state’s mild winter weather resulted across the state in improved overwinter survival of northern bobwhites. Nesting began early and weather conditions were favorable during much of the nesting season, except in a few areas that received high amounts of rainfall from tropical systems. These factors combined with quail habitat management, helped improve summer survival of adults, which means healthier birds going into Florida’s hunting season. This according to Greg Hagan, northern bobwhite coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission

The Sunshine state has numerous state and federal forests along with Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) where bobwhites are featured and management efforts have been increased. Over the past several years, bird numbers on these properties have increased steadily. Blackwater River State Forest, Apalachicola National forest, Apalachee WMA, and the Blue Springs Unit of Twin Rivers State Forest, should provide good opportunities for Panhandle hunters.

Hunters should find much better conditions and hunting opportunities in Florida this season compared to 2011. According to Bill Palmer, game bird program director for Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy, “we are anticipating population increase across the state where habitat conditions are suitable and rainfall has not been excessive.”

Season Dates: November 10, 2012 through March 3, 2013
Daily Bag Limit: 12
Possession Limit: 24
Field Notes: The Upland Ecosystem Restoration Project (UERP) is a multi-agency cooperative effort to increase populations of northern bobwhites and other declining fire dependent wildlife species on public lands throughout Florida. Initiated in 2006, UERP has become an integral partner with the state’s land management agencies, as well as a vital component for upland restoration, management, and monitoring on public lands. What makes UERP unique is its approach of developing long-term restoration projects; increase in prescribed fire frequency and land management activities (roller chopping, timber harvest, etc.) to maintain early successional habitats; and provide a statewide-view and assessment of the issues and facilitate communication within and among agencies. Find out more here

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