Three Lakes WMA

Regulations Summary and Area Map
July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2014

Brochure Adobe PDF | Map Only Adobe PDF

This brochure is designed to provide the public with information and a summary of regulations pertaining to hunting and other recreational use on the Three Lakes Wildlife Management Area. Regulations that are new or differ substantially from last year are shown in bold print. Area users should familiarize themselves with all regulations. For exact wording of the wildlife laws and regulations, see the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s wildlife code, on file with the Secretary of State and state libraries. This brochure, the Florida Hunting Regulations handbook and quota permit worksheets should provide the information necessary for you to plan your hunting activities. These publications are available from any Commission office, county tax collector and at MyFWC.com.

Persons using wildlife management areas are required to have appropriate licenses, permits and stamps. The following persons are exempt from all license and permit requirements (except for quota permits when listed as “no exemptions,” recreational use permits, antlerless deer permits and the Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp [federal duck stamp]): Florida residents who are 65 years of age or older; residents who possess a Florida Resident Disabled Person Hunting and Fishing Certificate; residents in the U.S. Armed Forces, not stationed in Florida, while home on leave for 30 days or less, upon submission of orders; and children under 16 years of age. Children under 16 years of age are exempt from the federal duck stamp. Anyone born on or after June 1, 1975 and 16 years of age or older must have passed a Commission-approved hunter-safety course prior to being issued a hunting license, except the Hunter Safety Mentoring exemption allows anyone to purchase a hunting license and hunt under the supervision of a licensed hunter, 21 years of age or older.

Licenses and permits may be purchased from county tax collectors, license agents, at MyFWC.com/license or by telephone at 888-486-8356. A no-cost Migratory Bird Permit is available when purchasing a hunting license. Any waterfowl hunter 16 years of age or older must possess a federal duck stamp; available where hunting licenses are sold, at most post offices or at DuckStamp.com External Website.

Quota Permit Information:

Archery (first 2 days) - 625, no-cost, quota permits. 
Archery (after the first 2 days) - 625, no-cost daily quota permits are available first-come, first-served at the check station each day of the season.
Muzzleloading Gun - 625, no-cost, quota permits.
General Gun (first 2 days) - 625, no-cost, quota permits.
General Gun (after the first 2 days) - 625, no-cost, daily quota permits are available first-come, first-served at the check station each day of the season.
General Gun-dog (east of the Florida Turnpike) - 100, no-cost, quota permits (no exemptions) for each of 2 hunts.
General Gun-dog (west of the Florida Turnpike, no deer dogs allowed) - 100, no-cost, daily quota permits are available first-come, first-served at the check station each day of the season.
Quail - Up to 10, no-cost, quail permits (no exemptions) for up to 8 hunts.  Refer to worksheet for additional information.

During the archery, muzzleloading gun and general gun seasons (except the general gun-dog hunts), the quota of hunters that will be admitted daily is as follows: U.S. 441 check station – 375, Canoe Creek check station - 50 and State Road 60 check station - 200. 

Permit applications: Hunters must submit electronic applications for quota and special-opportunity permits through the Commission’s Recreational License Issuance Services (RLIS). Worksheets listing hunts, application periods, deadlines and instructions are available at county tax collector’s offices, FWC offices or MyFWC.com. Quota application periods occur throughout the year beginning April 1; please refer to the hunting handbook or MyFWC.com for specific dates. Worksheets will be available about 2 weeks prior to each application period.

Guest hunters:  For each non-transferable archery, muzzleloading gun, general gun, wild hog, spring turkey and mobility-impaired quota permit issued through the Commission’s RLIS, a quota permit holder (host) may take a guest hunter by obtaining a guest permit. Guest hunters are not allowed during quail quota hunts. A guest hunter must possess a completed guest permit while hunting except the following persons may be a guest hunter without a guest permit: a youth under 16 years of age, a youth supervisor, a mentor license holder or a mentor license supervisor. A host may only bring 1 guest hunter at a time and may only use 1 guest permit per day. The following persons are not considered to be guest hunters: other quota permit holders, non-hunters and exempt hunters (on areas and during seasons that allow exemptions). The host must share the bag limit with the guest hunter and the host is responsible for violations that exceed the bag limit. The guest hunter and host must enter and exit the area together and must share a street-legal vehicle while hunting on the area; ATVs may be ridden independently. The guest hunter may hunt only while the host is on the area. Refer to the quota hunt worksheets for additional information.

Youth and mentor license holders: A youth hunter (less than 16 years of age) must be supervised by a person at least 18 years of age. A mentor license holder must be supervised by a licensed hunter at least 21 years of age. Unless exempt, only those supervisors with proper licenses and permits may hunt. If the supervisor is hunting during any hunt for which quota permits are issued, at least 1 person in the party must be in possession of a quota permit. During a hunt that allows exemptions, a non-exempt supervisor of a youth must have a quota permit to hunt. A non-hunting supervisor is allowed to accompany a youth or mentor license holder during any hunt.

Transfer of permits: Quota and guest permits are not transferable. A positive form of identification is required when using a non-transferable permit, except for a youth under 16 years of age. The sale or purchase of any quota permit, guest permit or antlerless deer permit is prohibited.

Daily-use Permit Information:

Persons engaged in recreational activities other than hunting must possess a daily-use permit or a management area permit. Daily-use permits may be purchased at designated entry points of the management area. A daily-use permit is $3 per person, $6 per non-commercial vehicle, $75 per group of 25 to 100 people and $150 for groups of 101 people or more. Cash and personal checks are acceptable methods of payment. Members of a management area permit holder’s immediate family (spouse and dependent children) while traveling in the same vehicle or in the company of a permit holder, persons through-hiking on the Florida Trail and persons exempt from the management area permit requirement, are exempt from this permit requirement for recreational uses other than hunting.

General Area Regulations:

All general laws and regulations relating to wildlife and fish shall apply unless specifically exempted for this area. Hunting or the taking of wildlife or fish on this area shall be allowed only during the open seasons and in accordance with the following regulations:

  1. Any person hunting deer or accompanying another person hunting deer shall wear at least 500 square inches of daylight fluorescent-orange material as an outer garment, above the waistline. These provisions are not required when hunting with a bow and arrow during archery season.
  2. Taking of spotted fawn, swimming deer or roosted turkey is prohibited. Species legal to hunt are listed under each season.
  3. It is illegal to hunt over bait or place any bait or other food for wildlife on this area.
  4. Driving a metal object into any tree, or hunting from a tree into which a metal object has been driven, is prohibited.
  5. No person shall cut, damage or remove any natural, man-made or cultural resource without written authorization of the landowner or primary land manager.
  6. Taking or attempting to take any game with the aid of live decoys, recorded game calls or sounds, set guns, artificial light, net, trap, snare, drug or poison is prohibited. Recorded calls and sounds can be used to hunt furbearers, wild hog and crows.
  7. The wanton and willful waste of wildlife is prohibited.
  8. Hunting, fishing or trapping is prohibited on any portion of the area posted as closed to those activities.
  9. People, dogs, vehicles and other recreational equipment are prohibited in areas posted as “Closed to Public Access” by FWC administrative action.
  10. Taking or herding wildlife from any motorized vehicle, aircraft or boat, which is under power, is prohibited until power, and movement from that power, has ceased.
  11. Most game may be hunted from ½ hour before sunrise until ½ hour after sunset (see exceptions under each season).
  12. The release of any animal is prohibited, without the written authorization of the landowner or primary land manager.
  13. The head and evidence of sex may not be removed from the carcass of any deer or turkey on the area.
  14. The planting or introduction of any non-native plant is prohibited, without written authorization of the landowner or primary land manager.
  15. Wild hog may not be transported alive.
  16. A hunting license is not required for the take of wild hog.
  17. Littering is prohibited.
  18. It is unlawful to set fire to any forest, grass or woodlands.
  19. A Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Law Enforcement Officer may search any camp, vehicle or boat, in accordance with law. 
  20. Falconers may hunt during the statewide falconry season anytime a management area is open for public access. Falconers are not exempt from quota permits during hunts requiring them.

Public Access and Vehicles:

  1. Open to public recreational access year round.
  2. All users shall enter and exit the area through designated entrances except persons through-hiking on the Florida Trail.
  3. Vehicles may be operated only on named or numbered roads or named or numbered trails except vehicles used by persons participating in the general gun for mobility-impaired season. During the general gun dog season, only individuals participating in the hunt may operate vehicles on established firebreaks in that area east of the Florida Turnpike.
  4. Airboats, tracked vehicles and unlicensed and unregistered motorcycles are prohibited, except that airboats may be transported to and from Lake Jackson Public Boat Ramp and may be operated on that portion of Lake Jackson outside the area posted as restricted to airboat access for the protection of environmentally sensitive areas.
  5. Parked vehicles may not obstruct a road, gate or firelane.
  6. No motor vehicle shall be operated on any part of any wildlife management area that has been designated as closed to vehicular traffic. All-terrain vehicles may only be operated on roads open to other motor vehicles.
  7. Horses may only be ridden on named or numbered roads, except that horses may be ridden on firelanes during the general gun-dog season in that portion of the area east of the Florida Turnpike by hunters participating in the hunt. During the small game season, persons hunting from horseback are not restricted to named or numbered roads.
  8. A marked footpath called the Florida Trail traverses the area. This trail is open to hikers throughout the year.
  9. Alligator hunt participants may operate airboats throughout the area when hunting alligators except that airboats are not allowed in those portions of the area posted as restricted to airboat access for the protection of environmentally sensitive areas.

Hunters and Check Stations:

  1. Hunting equipment may not be taken onto the WMA until after 8 a.m. the day before the opening of a season and shall be removed by 6 p.m. 1 day after the end of the season.
  2. Hunters (except permitted alligator hunters) must check in at a check station upon entering and check out upon leaving the area and check all game harvested.
  3. No deer or wild hog shall be dismembered until it has been checked and tagged at a check station.
  4. Check station hours are 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. during Daylight Savings Time and 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. during Eastern Standard Time. During the spring turkey season, check station hours are 4:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  5. Hunting quail in the quail enhancement area (see map) is prohibited except during the quail season and only by persons in possession of a quota permit for that season.

Guns:

  1. Hunting with a firearm or archery equipment on or from the rights-of-way of all paved roads is prohibited.
  2. The discharge of a firearm outside of periods open to hunting or in areas closed to hunting is prohibited per s. 790.15 FS.
  3. Hunting at night with a gun is prohibited.  (See exception for raccoon season.)
  4. Muzzleloading guns used for taking deer must be .40 caliber or largerif firing a single bullet, or be 20 gauge or larger if firing 2 or more balls.
  5. Hunting deer with rimfire or non-expanding, full metal jacket (military ball) ammunition is prohibited.
  6. Air guns may be used to hunt gray squirrel and rabbits during any season when these species are legal to hunt, except archery and muzzleloading gun.
  7. Children under the age of 16 hunting with a firearm or air gun must be in the presence of a supervising adult.
  8. No person shall discharge a firearm or have a loaded firearm in hand while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  9. For hunting non-migratory game, only shotguns, rifles, pistols, bows, crossbows or falconry may be used. Hunting during the spring turkey season with firearms other than shotguns or using a shot size larger than #2 is prohibited.
  10. For hunting migratory game, only shotguns, bows, crossbows or falconry may be used. Shotguns shall not be larger than 10 gauge and shall be incapable of holding more than 3 shells in the magazine and chamber combined.
  11. Hunting with full automatic or silencer-equipped firearms, centerfire semi-automatic rifles having a magazine capable of holding more than 5 rounds, explosive or drug-injecting devices and set guns is prohibited.

Dogs:

  1. Dogs used for hunting may be taken onto the WMA after 8 a.m. the day before the opening of a season and shall be removed by 6 p.m. 1 day after the end of the season.
  2. Hunting with dogs, other than bird dogs, is prohibited except dogs with a shoulder height of 17 inches or less may be used for deer hunting east of the Florida Turnpike during the general gun-dog season; dogs with a shoulder height of 15 inches or less may be used during the small game season; and dogs of any size may be used to hunt raccoon during the raccoon season.
  3. No person shall allow any dog to pursue or molest any wildlife during any period in which the taking of wildlife by the use of dogs is prohibited.
  4. Dogs on leashes may be used for trailing wounded game.
  5. For purposes other than hunting, dogs are allowed, but must be kept under physical restraint at all times.

Camping:

  1. Camping is allowed only at designated hunter campsites during hunting periods and at designated campsites on the Florida Trail year round.
  2. Camping equipment may be taken onto the area after 8 a.m. 7 days prior to the opening of the archery season and shall be removed before 6 p.m. 7 days following the end of the spring turkey season.
  3. Camping shall be allowed from 8 a.m. 1 day prior to each season through 6 p.m. 1 day following each season.
  4. Only tents, trailers and self-propelled camping vehicles may be used for camping.

Bag and Possession Limits:

A guest hunter must share the host’s bag limit. No person shall exceed statewide bag limits.

  1. Deer - Daily limit 2, possession limit 4. During general gun mobility-impaired season, the bag limit for antlerless deer is 1 per certified mobility-impaired hunter and only certified mobility-impaired hunters are allowed to take antlerless deer.
  2. Wild hog - No size or bag limit.
  3. Turkey - Daily limit 1, season limit 2, possession limit 2.
  4. Gray squirrel, quail and rabbit - Daily limit 12, possession limit 24 for each, except that in the quail enhancement area, the bag limit for quail shall be 6 per quail quota permit.
  5. Raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk and nutria - No bag limits.
  6. Bobcat and otter - Possession limit 1 unless in possession of a Trapping License.
  7. Migratory birds - See Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations pamphlet.

Archery Season:

September 14-15 and September 16 through October 13.

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit (if hunting first 2 days) or daily quota permit (if hunting after first 2 days), hunting license, management area permit, archery permit, deer permit (if hunting deer),wild turkey permit (if hunting wild turkey), migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds), and state waterfowl permit and federal duck stamp (if hunting waterfowl).

Legal to Hunt - Any deer (except spotted fawn), wild hog, turkey of either sex, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria and migratory birds in season.

Regulations Unique to Archery Season - Hunting with guns or crossbows (except by disabled crossbow permit) is prohibited, except that centerfire shotguns are allowed for hunting migratory birds when 1 or more species are legal to hunt (see Migratory Bird section and the current Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations pamphlet).

Muzzleloading Gun Season:

October 19-21.

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit, hunting license, management area permit, muzzleloading gun permit, deer permit (if hunting deer)and migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds).

Legal to Hunt - Deer with at least 1 antler 5 inches or more in length, wild hog, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria and migratory birds in season.

Regulations Unique to Muzzleloading Gun Season - Hunting with archery equipment or guns, other than muzzleloading guns, is prohibited, except that centerfire shotguns are allowed for hunting migratory birds when 1 or more species are legal to hunt (see Migratory Bird section and the current Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations pamphlet).

General Gun Mobility-impaired Season:

October 25-27 (east of Canoe Creek Road).

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Hunting license, management area permit, deer permit (if hunting deer) and migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds).

Legal to Hunt - Any deer (except spotted fawn, but only certified mobility-impaired hunters are allowed to take antlerless deer, which includes does and bucks with antlers less than 5 inches in length), wild hog, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria and migratory birds in season.

Regulations Unique to Mobility-impaired General Gun Season -

  1. All hunt participants are requested to attend a pre-hunt orientation meeting at the U.S. 441 check station 5 p.m. the day before the hunt.
  2. All hunt participants shall check in and out at the U.S. 441 check station when entering and exiting the hunt area.
  3. Hunting is allowed only in that portion of the area east of Canoe Creek Road.
  4. Vehicles are not restricted to named or numbered roadsor named or numbered trails.
  5. Mobility-impaired hunters may be accompanied by a hunting guest (guest permit not required) and 1 non-hunting assistant that may participate in the hunt (no license required), but the non-hunting assistant may not harvest wildlife.
  6. All guests must enter and exit the area with the mobility-impaired hunter and share the same vehicle.
  7. The guest hunter cannot hunt on the area unless the mobility-impaired hunter is present on the area.
  8. The guest hunter and non-hunting assistant may not bring additional hunters on the area. 
  9. The guest hunter and mobility-impaired hunter must share the bag limit of a single person. The mobility-impaired hunter shall be responsible for both parties complying with the bag limit.
  10. Mobility-impaired hunters shall have their valid mobility-impaired certification cards in possession.

General Gun Season:

November 2-3 and November 4 through December 29.

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit (if hunting during first 2 days or if hunting east of the turnpike Dec. 5-8 or Dec. 26-29) or daily quota permit (Nov. 4 through Dec. 4, Dec. 9 through Dec. 25, and if hunting west of the turnpike Dec. 5-8 or Dec. 26-29), hunting license, management area permit, deer permit (if hunting deer), migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds), and state waterfowl permit and federal duck stamp (if hunting waterfowl).

Legal to Hunt - Deer with at least 1 antler 5 inches or more in length, wild hog, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria and migratory birds in season. Bobcat and otter beginning December 1.

General Gun-dog Season:

December 5-8 and December 26-29.

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit (if hunting east of the turnpike) or daily quota permit (if hunting west of the turnpike), hunting license, management area permit, deer permit (if hunting deer), migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds) and state waterfowl permit and federal duck stamp (if hunting waterfowl).

Legal to Hunt - Deer with at least 1 antler 5 inches or more in length, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria, bobcat, otter and migratory birds in season.

Regulations Unique to General Gun-dog Season -

  1. Dogs with a shoulder height of 17 inches or less may be used for deer hunting east of the turnpike (between the Florida Turnpike and U.S. 441) only.
  2. Hunting with dogs is prohibited west of the turnpike.

Small Game Season:

December 30 through March 2.

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Hunting license, management area permit, migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds), and state waterfowl permit and federal duck stamp (if hunting waterfowl).

Legal to Hunt - Gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria and migratory birds in season.  Bobcat and otter through March 1.  

Regulations Unique to Small Game Season - Hunting with centerfire rifles is prohibited.

Raccoon Season:

January 10-12, 17-19 and 24-26 (only in that area between the Florida Turnpike and U.S. 441 and only 1½ hours before sunset on Friday until 1½ hours after sunrise on Sunday).

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Hunting license and management area permit.

Legal to Hunt - Raccoon and opossum.

Regulations Unique to Raccoon Season - Raccoon or opossum may be taken at night by the aid of a light and dogs, with .22 rimfire firearms other than .22 magnum, or with a single-shot .410 gauge shotgun using shot no larger than No. 6. The hunting of raccoon or opossum under the provisions of this paragraph by display or use of a light from a moving vehicle, boat or animal is prohibited.

Quail Season (Quail enhancement area only):

January through February (Saturdays only, maximum of 8 days).

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit, hunting license and management area permit.

Legal to Hunt - Quail.

Regulations Unique to Quail Season - Up to 2 hunters are allowed per quota permit.

Trapping:

Prohibited.

Spring Turkey Season:

Youth Turkey: March 8-9.

Spring Turkey: March 15 through April 20.

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Hunting license, management area permit and wild turkey permit.

Legal to Hunt - Bearded turkey or gobbler.

Regulations Unique to Spring Turkey Season -

  1. Legal shooting hours are ½ hour before sunrise until 1 p.m.
  2. Hunting other animals is prohibited.
  3. Hunting with firearms other than shotguns or using a shot size larger than #2 is prohibited.
  4. During the youth turkey hunt, only youth under 16 years of age may hunt and must be under the supervision and in the presence of an adult not younger than 18 years of age. Adults with required licenses and permits for taking wild turkeys may participate when in the presence of a youth, but may not harvest a wild turkey.

Migratory Bird Seasons:

Rails, common moorhen, mourning dove, white-winged dove, snipe, ducks, geese, coot, woodcock and crows may be hunted during seasons established by the Commission for these species that coincide with the special September duck, archery, muzzleloading gun, mobility-impaired general gun, general gun, general gun-dog or small game seasons.

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit or daily quota permit (if hunting during any quota period), hunting license, management area permit, migratory bird permit, and state waterfowl permit and federal duck stamp (if hunting waterfowl).

Legal to Hunt - See Migratory Bird Hunting Regulations pamphlet.

Regulations Unique to Migratory Bird Seasons - All Migratory Bird Regulations shall apply.

  1. Hunting ducks, geese and coot with lead shot is prohibited.
  2. Only the portion of the area between the Prairie Lakes Unit and Canoe Creek Road will be open for the special September duck season.
  3. Centerfire shotguns are allowed for hunting during established area seasons when 1 or more migratory birds are legal to take.

Fishing and Frogging:

Allowed year round.

Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Fishing license (not required when frogging), management area or daily-use permit.

Legal to Take - See Florida Freshwater Fishing Regulations Summary.

Regulations Unique to Fishing and Frogging - All General Freshwater Fishing Regulations shall apply. Shooting frogs is allowed only during the listed open hunting seasons and only with the legal methods of take during each particular season.

General Information:

  1. Public use of the Prairie Lakes Unit is covered in a separate brochure.
  2. Water in wells is not certified for human consumption.
  3. Information for persons with disabilities can be found at MyFWC.com/ADA.
  4. If you have any questions about this material, please call the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at 352-732-1225 (TDD 800-955-8771).
  5. The FWC is not responsible for protection of personal property and will not be liable for theft of or damage to personal property.
  6. Please report the location of any sick or extremely skinny deer to the Chronic Wasting Disease hotline, toll free at 866-293-9282.

Cooperation Requested:

If you see law violators or suspicious activities, contact your nearest Commission regional office or call 888-404-FWCC. You may qualify for a cash reward from the Wildlife Alert Reward Association.

The U.S. Department of the Interior prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, sex or handicap. If you believe that you have been discriminated against in any program, activity or facility as described above, or if you desire further information, please write to: The Office for Human Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Department of the Interior, Washington, D.C. 20240. The project described in this publication is part of a program funded by federal dollars under the Wildlife Restoration Act. Federal funds pay 20 percent of the cost of the program.



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