nra1
Join Second Amendment supporters in your community for an evening of food, fellowship, and fundraising for the shooting sports!

09/15/16 – Volusia Area | 6:00 PM | Deland, FL

09/16/16 – Treasure Coast | 6:00 PM | Stuart, FL

09/17/15 – Space Coast | 6:00 PM | Cape Canaveral, FL

09/20/16 – North Florida | 5:30 PM | Gainesville, FL

09/22/16 – Emerald Coast | 5:30 PM | Ft Walton Beach, FL

09/24/16 – Miami | 6:00 PM | Miami, FL

09/30/16 – West Palm Beach | 6:00 PM | West Palm Beach, FL

10/01/16 – Hendry County | 6:00 PM | Clewiston, FL

10/06/16 – Florida Gateway | 5:30 PM | Lake City, FL

10/07/16 – Southwest Florida | 6:00 PM | Naples, FL

10/08/16 – Desoto County | 6:00 PM | Arcadia, FL

10/13/16 – Lakewood Ranch | 6:00 PM | Lakewood Ranch, FL

10/15/16 – Osceola County | 6:00 PM | Kissimmee, FL

10/20/16 – Capital City | 6:00 PM | Tallahassee, FL

11/05/16 – West Pasco | 5:00 PM | New Port Richey, FL

Not seeing a local banquet, or interested in starting a banquet near you? Contact Florida Field Representatives Tom Knight at tknight@nrahq.org or Bret Eldridge at beldridge@nrahq.org

282432_4235775368663_1132307266_nFor immediate release: Sept. 12, 2016
Contact: Karen Parker, 386-754-1294
 
Hunter safety internet-completion courses offered in October

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is offering free hunter safety internet-completion courses in 13 counties in October. (List follows.)

Students who have taken the online course and wish to complete the classroom portion must bring the online-completion report with them.

All firearms, ammunition and materials are provided free of charge. Students should bring a pen or pencil and paper. An adult must accompany children younger than 16 at all times.

Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975, must pass an approved hunter safety course and have a hunting license to hunt alone (unsupervised). The FWC course satisfies hunter-safety training requirements for all other states and Canadian provinces.

The dates and times are:
Alachua
Oct. 15 (8 a.m. until compete)
Gainesville

Baker
Oct. 1 (8 a.m. until noon) in Macclenny
and (1 p.m. until complete) in Lake City

Oct. 22 (8 a.m. until noon) in Macclenny
and (1 p.m. until complete) in Lake City

Bradford
Oct. 20 (6 to 9 p.m.) in Starke
and Oct. 22 (8 a.m. until complete) in Graham

Citrus
Oct. 8 (9 a.m. until complete)
Homosassa

Clay
Oct. 6 (6 to 9 p.m.) in Middleburg
and Oct. 8 (8 a.m. until complete) in Graham

Oct. 13 (6 to 9 p.m.) in Keystone Heights
and Oct. 15 (8 a.m. until complete) in Graham

Columbia
Oct. 13 (6 to 9 p.m.) and Oct. 15 (8:30 a.m. until complete)
Lake City

Dixie
Oct. 8 (9 a.m. until complete)
Cross City

Duval
Oct. 6 (6 to 9 p.m.) and Oct. 8 (8:30 a.m. until complete)
Jacksonville

Gilchrist
Oct. 15 (8:30 a.m. until complete)
Trenton

Hamilton
Oct. 14 (6 to 9 p.m.) in White Springs
and Oct. 15 (8:30 a.m. until complete) inLake City

Levy
Oct. 15 (9 a.m. until complete)
Chiefland

Nassau
Oct. 7 (6 to 9 p.m.) and Oct. 8 (8 until 11 a.m.)
Yulee

Suwannee
Oct. 12 (6 to 9 p.m.) in Wellborn
and Oct. 15 (8:30 a.m. until complete) in Lake City

The specific locations for this class will be given to those who register in advance. Those interested in attending a course can register online and obtain information about future hunter safety classes at MyFWC.com/HunterSafety or by calling the FWC’s regional office in Lake City at 386-758-0525.


Hunter safety courses (TRADITIONAL) offered in October for Lafayette, Madison counties

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) is offering free traditional hunter safety courses in two counties in October. See below.

All firearms, ammunition and materials are provided free of charge. Students should bring a pen or pencil and paper. An adult must accompany children younger than 16 at all times. Students must attend all sessions to receive their certificate.

Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975, must pass an approved hunter safety course and have a hunting license to hunt alone (unsupervised). The FWC course satisfies hunter-safety training requirements for all other states and Canadian provinces.

The dates and times are:
Lafayette
Oct. 15 and 16 (from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m.)
Mayo

Madison
Oct. 17, 18, 19 (7 to 10 p.m.) and Oct. 22 (2 p.m. until complete)
Madison

The specific locations for this class will be given to those who register in advance. Those interested in attending a course can register online and obtain information about future hunter safety classes at MyFWC.com/HunterSafety or by calling the FWC’s regional office in Lake City at 386-758-0525.

bahamas1For immediate release: Sept. 9, 2016

Media contact: Amanda Nalley, 850-410-4943 or Amanda.Nalley@MyFWC.com; Kim Iverson (South Atlantic Fishery Management Council), 843-224-7258

Bringing fish back from the Bahamas becomes easier Sept. 13

Bringing fish caught recreationally in the Bahamas back to Florida by water will become a little easier soon. A new exception goes into place Sept. 13 in state waters, allowing anglers to possess and land filleted dolphin, wahoo and reef fish that were caught in Bahamian waters. Similar allowances for dolphin and wahoo, as well as modifications to existing recreational regulations for reef fish managed as snapper-grouper being brought back from the Bahamas by water went into effect in Atlantic federal waters in January 2016. These regulations apply to fish being transported by water only and do not apply to fish being transported or shipped by air.

The changes will allow more fishing freedom for Florida’s residents and visitors while creating consistency between state and federal regulations.

Some things to keep in mind when bringing recreationally-caught dolphin, wahoo and reef fish managed as snapper-grouper back from the Bahamas by water:

Skin must remain on the fillet (to aid in identification by law enforcement).
Anglers must comply with Atlantic federal bag and vessel limits.
Two fillets count as one fish toward the bag limit.
Vessels must have valid Bahamian cruising and sport-fishing permits.
Passengers must possess a valid government passport with current Bahamian stamps and travel dates.
Travel through state waters must be continuous and gear must remain stowed. Fishing gear that is appropriately stowed means terminal tackle, such as hooks, leaders, sinkers, etc., must be disconnected and stowed separately from the rod and reel.
Fish landed under these exceptions cannot be sold.
Bahamian regulations may be different than those in U.S. state and federal waters. Before you return with your catch, make sure you comply with the more restrictive U.S. and Bahamian recreational bag and possession limits. For example, species that are prohibited from harvest in the U.S., such as queen conch, goliath and Nassau grouper, cannot be transported back into U.S. waters by boat. Spiny lobster must be in whole condition and can only be transported into U.S. waters during the recreational season (Aug. 6 through March 31).

To learn more about bringing your Bahamian catch back to Florida, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Bahamas.” Federal fishing regulations are available from the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council at SAFMC.net. For more information on Bahamian regulations, visit Bahamas.gov.bs.

FWC expands fishing opportunities for black sea bass in Atlantic

At the September meeting in St. Augustine, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) expanded recreational fishing opportunities for black sea bass caught in Atlantic state waters and approved several other management changes.

Recreational anglers will soon be able to take seven black sea bass per person, per day. The bag limit is currently five.

The Commission also approved a management change requiring the buoy line attached to a commercial black sea bass trap fished or possessed in or on Atlantic state waters to meet federal seasonal marking requirements.

These management measures are similar to recently approved and pending changes for Atlantic federal waters. The bag limit change went into effect on Aug. 12 in Atlantic federal waters.

The effective date for changes to state waters is yet to be determined. A press release will be issued and the FWC website will be updated before these changes go into effect.

To learn more about black sea bass, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Black Sea Bass.”

For immediate release: Sept. 13, 2016
Contact: Karen Parker, 386-754-1294
 
Hickory Mound Impoundment remains closed; other areas open after storm cleanup

Although the Hickory Mound Impoundment in the Big Bend Wildlife Management Area remains closed, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) crews are working to clear roads and remove public safety hazards throughout the area damaged by Hurricane Hermine.

As of today, the following areas are open on Big Bend WMA:
Hickory Mound Unit: Public access continues to be restricted to County Road 14 via Mossy Hammock Road and Martin Grade, as the portion of Cow Creek Grade owned by Four Rivers Land & Timber Company is still closed for construction. Within the boundaries of the Hickory Mound Unit, all roads west of Cow Creek Grade and including the portion of Cow Creek Grade between the north WMA boundary and Swartz Tram are open, except for the portions of Coker Road south of Swartz Tram.
Spring Creek Unit: Spring Creek Road, Rock Road., and all roads south of Henderson Road are open.
Tide Swamp Unit: All roads south of and including Dallus Creek Road, Tide City Mainline, Turkey Track Tram, Pine Island Road, Indian Island Road, Bridge Road, Horse Island Road, Road 6 and Road 7 are open. Hagen’s Cove will remain closed until necessary repairs can be made.
The Snipe Island Unit.
The Jena Unit.
WMA staff have been removing trees blocking area roads. As additional roads are cleared and deemed safe for public access, the list of roads reopened will be updated. To get the updates, go to MyFWC.com/Viewing and click on “Wildlife Management Areas,” then “Open/Closed Status.”

According to David Nicholson, district biologist in the Perry Field Office, Hickory Mound Impoundment has quite a bit of damage.

“We know this is a popular area, but because of public safety concerns we need to keep the impoundment closed while we make the necessary repairs,” said Nicholson. “It’s important to us that the public be able to access this WMA, and that’s why we are working hard to make the necessary repairs as quickly as possible. However, because of the extent of the damage, these repairs could take a while.”

The 10-foot-plus tidal surge removed up to 1 foot of material from nearly 3 miles of dike. The storm surge also damaged several of the hatches on the water control structures and eroded the sides of the dike.

1000246_10151769421238879_1883694957_nAs Florida recovers from Hurricane Hermine, FWC extends recreational red snapper season per Gov. Rick Scott’s request

Expanded fishing on Veteran’s Day and Thanksgiving Holiday

Following a request from Gov. Rick Scott, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has expanded the recreational red snapper season in Gulf state waters by adding an additional seven days in November. The expanded open season dates will be Nov. 5 and 6; Nov. 11 and 12, which is Veteran’s Day weekend; and Nov. 25, 26 and 27, which is the Thanksgiving holiday. The Nov. 26 date is also a saltwater license-free fishing day. Recreational fishing in Gulf waters adds $7.6 billion annually to Florida’s economy.

Gov. Scott said, “Communities across Florida’s Gulf Coast rely on the economic benefit provided by Florida’s 78-day red snapper season. Because of weather conditions caused by Hurricane Hermine, Florida anglers were unable to enjoy an essential weekend of this important season. That is why I requested FWC to expand red snapper season to make up for lost fishing opportunities and keep Florida the ‘Fishing Capital of the World.’”

“The popular red snapper season is an important economic driver for Florida’s coastal communities,” said FWC Chairman Brian Yablonski. “On behalf of the entire FWC, I would like to thank Governor Scott for the encouragement on the expansion of red snapper season and for his leadership while Florida continues to recover from Hurricane Hermine. We look forward to more communities and anglers benefitting from these additional fishing opportunities.”

The red snapper season in state waters was scheduled to be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through the end of October. To learn more about red snapper, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Snappers.”

mutton1aMutton snapper management changes approved, effective Jan. 1

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved several mutton snapper management changes at the September meeting in St. Augustine.

Changes will go into effect Jan. 1, 2017, and include:
Increasing the recreational, commercial, importation and sale minimum size limits to 18 inches.
Reducing the recreational bag limit to five fish per person within the 10-fish snapper aggregate bag limit.
Replacing the May through June commercial trip limit in all state waters with a five-fish per person, per day limit from April through June in Atlantic state waters.
Establishing a 500-pound commercial trip limit for the remainder of the year (July through March) in Atlantic state waters.
Public input from several workshops in February and August 2016 was considered by the FWC when making these changes. The Commission discussed but did not pursue special management actions for Western Dry Rocks, a well-known and popular mutton snapper spawning area southwest of Key West.

Though mutton snapper is not overfished or undergoing overfishing, the 2015 stock assessment indicated that the population is smaller than previously estimated. These regulation changes are intended to prevent exceeding the updated federal quota, or number of fish that can be harvested, and to also avoid potential early season closures.

To learn more, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Snappers.”

For immediate release: Sept. 8, 2016
Contact: Amanda Nalley, 850-410-4943 or Amanda.Nalley@MyFWC.com
 
FWC approves Gulf greater amberjack season closure

At its Sept. 8 meeting in St. Augustine, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) approved closing Gulf state waters to recreational harvest of greater amberjack for the remainder of 2016. This closure was put into place because NOAA Fisheries estimates that the annual federal recreational quota was exceeded. The quota is the poundage of fish that can be caught each year while maintaining a sustainable fishery. Federal rules require that any harvest in excess of the quota must be deducted from the next year’s quota and could result in a shortened federal season. Closing state waters for the rest of 2016 will help minimize negative impacts of a quota overage on Florida fishermen and the 2017 season.

Greater amberjack closed to harvest in Gulf state and federal waters June 1 through July 31 as part of a regular, two-month season closure. In late July, NOAA Fisheries announced that federal waters would remain closed to recreational harvest of greater amberjack through Dec. 31.

Greater amberjack will close to harvest in state waters on Sept. 10 and will remain closed through Dec. 31. Both state and federal waters will reopen Jan. 1, 2017.

To learn more about greater amberjack, visit MyFWC.com/Fishing and click on “Saltwater Fishing,” “Recreational Regulations” and “Amberjack.”


*(Photo courtesy of Capt. Larry McGuire and “SHOW ME THE FISH CHARTERS”)

redfish1NW Florida red drum bag limit to remain at 1 fish

The recreational red drum daily bag limit in the Northwest Red Drum Management Zone (Escambia County through Fred Howard Park near Pasco County) will remain one fish per person. The bag limit was changed from two fish to one in May via a temporary order. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) adopted the change into rule at the September meeting in St. Augustine, making this a long-term conservation measure.

Florida’s iconic red drum fishery has a high economic and social value in northwest Florida and is managed for abundance statewide in order to ensure a quality angler fishing experience.

In the past year, stakeholders have expressed concerns that red drum populations have declined in parts of the Panhandle since 2013, the final year of data included in the most recent stock assessment.

This conservation measure will ensure red drum continue to be abundant in northwest Florida and exceed management goals for that portion of the state.

With this rule change, the red drum bag limit remains one per person per day in all portions of the state except the Northeast Red Drum Management Zone (Flagler to Nassau counties) where the daily bag limit is two. All other red drum regulations remain the same, including the statewide eight-fish vessel limit.

fwc-kids1Media contact: Amanda Nalley, 850-410-4943

Photos available on the FWC’s Flickr site: http://flic.kr/s/aHsjzBWzfa.
Video available on the FWC’s YouTube site: http://youtu.be/KzOua12jMX8.

Suggested Tweet: Introduce kids to #fishing skills and fun at the Sept. 17 @MyFWC clinic! https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/FLFFWCC/bulletins/1621d09 #Florida #Sarasota

Free Kids’ Fishing Clinic promises day of learning, fun

Teaching children a lifelong hobby, instilling appreciation for our marine environment and providing fun, family outings are the objectives of the Kids’ Fishing Clinic in Sarasota on Sept. 17.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) will offer a free Kids’ Fishing Clinic for children between the ages of 5 and 15 from 9 a.m. to noon, Sept. 17 at Ken Thompson Park, 1700 Ken Thompson Parkway.

These free clinics enable young people to learn the basics of environmental stewardship, fishing ethics, angling skills and safety. In addition, environmental displays offer participants a unique chance to experience Florida’s marine life firsthand.

Kids’ Fishing Clinics strive to achieve several goals, but the main objective is to create responsible marine-resource stewards by teaching children about the vulnerability of Florida’s marine ecosystems. In addition, organizers hope to teach fundamental saltwater fishing skills and provide participants a positive fishing experience.

Fishing equipment and bait are provided for kids to use during the clinic, but organizers encourage children who own fishing tackle to bring it. A limited number of rods and reels will be given away to participants upon completion of the clinic.

If conditions allow, participants will have the opportunity to practice their new skills and fish from the pier. This event is a photo catch-and-release activity. An adult must accompany all participants.

Individuals or companies interested in helping sponsor this event or volunteering at the clinic should contact Ron Gauthier at 941-376-2714 or the FWC’s Allison Ashcroft at 850-487-0554.

To find out more about fishing clinics for kids, go to MyFWC.com/Fishing, select “Saltwater” then “Outreach and Education” and “Kids’ Fishing Clinics.”