Local News



~Snooze at home, not behind the wheel

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— Driving while tired can be just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. Fatigue behind the wheel can lead to loss of concentration and even falling asleep at the wheel, sometimes with tragic results. Whether it’s due to lack of sleep or taking medication that makes you drowsy, the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and the Florida Department of Transportation are teaming up with safety advocates to bring awareness to the dangers of drowsy driving during Florida’s Drowsy Driving Prevention Week on September 1–6.

“Florida had 14 fatalities in vehicle crashes last year due to drowsy driving,” said Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “We are proud to partner with Ronshay Dugans’ family and the Florida Department of Transportation to highlight the importance of drivers being well-rested behind the wheel to keep themselves, their passengers and other road users safe”.

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Secretary Jim Boxold said, “Providing a safe transportation system for our residents and visitors is the most important thing we do at FDOT. I am proud to continue our partnership with the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to promote awareness of Drowsy Driving Prevention Week. FDOT encourages motorists to stay alert while on the roads and use our welcome centers, service plazas and rest areas when they need to take a break from driving.”

It is always important to rest before driving but there are other steps to take to prevent drowsy driving.

  • Avoid driving at times when you would normally be asleep.
  • Read the warning information on all medications you take.       If it will make you drowsy, do not drive a vehicle.
  • On long trips, take a break every 2 hours.
  • If you start feeling tired while driving, pull over in a safe place and take a nap if you can.
  • Use the “buddy system,” and switch drivers when needed.
  • Drink caffeine. Two cups of coffee can increase alertness for several hours.
  • Always driver sober. Even one drink is too many.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles provides highway safety and security through excellence in service, education and enforcement. The Department is leading the way to a safer Florida through the efficient and professional execution of its core mission: the issuance of driver licenses, vehicle tags and titles and operation of the Florida Highway Patrol. To learn more about DHSMV and the services offered, visit www.flhsmv.gov, follow us on Twitter @FLHSMV or find us on Facebook.

Governor Rick Scott Awards Flagler County Officer with the Medal of Heroism

Governor Rick Scott Awards Flagler County Officer with the Medal of Heroism

ST AUGUSTINE, Fla. – During today’s meeting of the Florida Cabinet, Governor Rick Scott recognized Retired Flagler County Undersheriff Rick Staly with the Medal of Heroism for his bravery and quick reaction during a dangerous situation where he saved a fellow officer’s life.

Governor Scott said, “Retired Undersheriff Rick Staly did not hesitate to risk his life to protect a fellow officer and I am honored to recognize his tremendous courage today with the Medal of Heroism. Rick served Florida families as a law enforcement officer for 40 years, and I am thankful to him and his fellow officers for their selfless commitment to protecting our state.”

Retired Undersheriff Rick Staly said, “It is an honor to be presented with the Medal of Heroism by Governor Scott. During my years of law enforcement service, I worked alongside countless brave men and women who also deserve to be recognized as heroes and I am proud to represent them today.”

About Retired Flagler County Undersheriff Rick Staly

Undersheriff Rick Staly recently retired from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office after 40 years of law enforcement service. He was nominated for the Medal of Heroism by his wife for an incident that occurred in 1978 when he served as a Deputy with the Orange County Sheriff’s office. Deputy Staly and Deputy Edwin Sarver responded to a disturbance call at a gas station in Pine Hills. Upon arrival, the suspect had left the scene, but was located by a State Trooper a few miles away who called for assistance. Deputy Staly and Deputy Sarver went to the Trooper’s location, and while attempting to apprehend the suspect, an altercation ensued. During the struggle, the suspect managed to take control of Deputy Sarver’s gun and point it at him. Seeing another officer’s life was in danger, Deputy Staly quickly intervened, and put his own life in jeopardy. The suspect then shot Deputy Staly three times, striking him in the chest and arms. The suspect then again tried to flee, but was apprehended by the other officers. Rick Staly’s selfless act of heroism saved the life of Deputy Sarver.

Remnant Tropical Activity Boosts August Rainfall

Remnant Tropical Activity Boosts August Rainfall

Portions of South Florida are still experiencing dry conditions

West Palm Beach, FL — Remnant moisture from two tropical systems helped lift August rainfall to near average in much of the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD), District meteorologists reported today.

An average of 8.41 inches of rain fell across 16 counties in August, representing 108 percent of average, or 0.63 inches above average.

The Upper Kissimmee Basin received the most rainfall in August, with 11.07 inches, representing 151 percent of average, or 3.74 inches above average. The Southwest Coast, East Caloosahatchee and Lake Okeechobee also received slightly above-average rainfall for the month.

Despite multiple days of moisture from the remnants of tropical storms Danny and Erika at the end of the month, Martin, St. Lucie, Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade all experienced slightly below-average rainfall in August.

However, because the last week of August was well above average for rainfall in most of Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade counties, water levels are at or near average for this time of year in those areas

Lake Okeechobee stood at 13.02 feet NGVD today. According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages the lake, federal water managers prefer to maintain water levels between 12.5 feet and 15.5 feet to help balance competing demands such as public safety, water supply and environmental health.

South Florida Wet Season Facts

On average, South Florida’s wet season begins around May 20 and ends around October 13, lasting about 21 weeks.

  • Typically, about two-thirds of annual rains fall during the wet season, or approximately 35 inches out of 52 inches.
  • June is usually South Florida’s wettest month.
  • The wet season has three general phases:
    • Memorial Day weekend through July 4 weekend is typically the wettest six weeks of the year.
    • Early July through mid-August is hotter and often drier.
    • Late August through October is characterized by highly variable rainfall mainly due to tropical activity and cold fronts.

More information is available at:



Find out about enrollment and financial aid at the Okeechobee campus

Anyone interested in learning about how to enroll at Indian River State College and apply for financial aid is invited to a “Get Started at IRSC” workshop on September 14, open between 5 and 7 p.m. at the Dixon Hendry Campus at 2229 N.W. 9th Avenue, Okeechobee. Recent high school graduates and area residents considering returning to school will receive the information and guidance they need.

Topics include:

  • Completing the IRSC Application
  • Completing the FAFSA Application (Financial Aid)
  • Exploring IRSC programs and offerings

The “Get Started at IRSC” workshop will be held again on Oct. 12 and November 9.

For more information, contact the Dixon Hendry Campus at 863-824-6000.

Dream ending for circus lions rescued in South America: Huge airlift to take 33 lions home to Africa

Dream ending for circus lions rescued in South America: Huge airlift to take 33 lions home to Africa

September 1, 2015 – Thirty-three lions rescued by Animal Defenders International (ADI) from ten circuses in Peru and Colombia are going home to their native Africa in the biggest ever airlift of its kind.

The lions, who endured years of confinement in cages on the backs of trucks and a brutal life being forced to perform in circuses, are heading to huge natural enclosures at Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary in South Africa.

The airlift in October will be the culmination of ADI’s work with the Governments of Peru and Colombia to eliminate the use of wild animals in circuses. ADI evidence of the abuse of circus animals in Latin America led to legislation banning animal acts and then ADI stepped in to help enforce the laws.

Almost all of the rescued lions have been mutilated to remove their claws, one has lost an eye, another is almost blind, and many have smashed and broken teeth because of their circus life, but they will retire in the African sunshine.

Jan Creamer, ADI President, who is leading the rescue mission in Peru, said:  “We are delighted that these lions who have suffered so much will be going home to Africa where they belong.  The climate and environment are perfect for them. When we visited Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary we knew this is a dream come true for ADI and, more importantly, the lions.”

ADI’s year-long Operation Spirit of Freedom, working with the Peru Government SERFOR and ATFFS wildlife departments, as well as police, has seen ADI raid circuses all over the country, facing violent confrontations, rescuing over 90 animals, travelling thousands of miles, and traversing the Andes with lions.

Nine ex-circus lions from Colombia will join 24 lions from Peru on the flight to South Africa. They are the first animals to be handed over following Colombia’s ban on wild animal circuses and taken into care by the CDMB regional wildlife authority in Bucaramanga. ADI assumed the lions’ care until the flight was finalized.

Home for the lions will be Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary set in 5,000 hectares on a private estate in Limpopo Province, South Africa. The sanctuary is already home to eight rescued lions and tigers in large acreage habitats of pristine African bush, has a no breeding policy and is not open to the public.

Savannah Heuser, founder of Emoya Big Cat Sanctuary says: “Mahatma Gandhi once said; ‘Be the change that you wish to see in the world.’  The change that is being offered to these 33 lions will change their entire world. 

Their lives were forcibly wasted away in horrific tiny cages, the doing of mindless circus acts, I cannot start to comprehend the endless days suffering that these animals had to endure. They have a lot of lost time to make up for. They will live out the rest of their lives in a natural habitat, the closest they can ever come to freedom.”

ADI is chartering a Boeing 747 to transport all 33 lions with an ADI veterinary team, direct from Lima to Johannesburg and is funding the construction of habitats for the lions at Emoya, ready for the arrival of the lions in late October.

Over ninety animals have been rescued during the ADI operation, which also provided assistance to the Peruvian authorities on the issue of wildlife crime.  ADI is concluding a huge construction program for over 50 native wild animals rescued during the operation in two parts of the Amazon, including bears, six species of monkeys, coati mundis, kinkajous, and a puma.

Jan Creamer paid tribute to governments, wildlife officials and the public in Peru and Colombia:  “Seeing these lions go home to where they truly belong will be a testament to the commitment of wildlife officials and the governments in Peru and Colombia to change the treatment of animals.”

Peru’s wild animal circus ban was passed in 2011, and between August 2014 and July 2015, the ADI team identified and raided every circus with wild animals.  Some circuses went underground as the raids commenced, but were eventually caught.  Only one circus reported to have a lioness is still to be found, which was pursued into Ecuador by the ADI team in July this year. Wildlife officials and the local ADI team are on alert should the circus reappear.

ADI previously enforced Bolivia’s animal circus ban, relocating many animals within the country and taking 29 lions to two sanctuaries in the US, and a baboon to the UK. ADI’s Operation Spirit of Freedom in Peru and Colombia has been an even larger undertaking.

Savannah Heuser:  “We at Emoya are deeply honored and privileged to be part of such a massive operation. We salute ADI for saving animals and ending suffering. Let’s bring these 33 to Africa. Let’s bring them home.”

Moving the lions to Africa increases the flight costs, but it is the ideal home for the animals and ADI believes, the right thing to do. An appeal has been launched to meet the increased flight costs as well as the enclosures for the lions.

Jan Creamer:  “We really need financial support for this move.  It is more expensive to relocate these animals to Africa, but who can put a price on taking them home to where they belong?   It also sends such a clear and important message about protecting wildlife in their natural habitats and ranges.”

Until their flight, planned for end October, the lions will remain at the ADI Spirit of Freedom Rescue Center near Lima, Peru, where they will continue their rehabilitation under ADI veterinary supervision and enjoying their with grassy play pens, but the best is yet to come!

Please donate now to help get the lions home www.ad-international.org/hometoafrica

Charles Murphy News 9/1

News Cast for September 1st:

Hermance, DanAndrew Wheeler was done in not just by his assault on a 16 year old boy, but his prior record, when he was sentenced to 30 years behind bars Monday. The now 19 year old has been in and out of juvenile hall for over four years. He had prior convictions for grand theft auto, burglary and fleeing and eluding police. Despite an apology and an appeal from his mother for leniency, the judge was faced with either a mandatory 30 year sentence as a prison release reoffender, or a six year sentence as a youthful offender. Judge Sherwood Bauer chose the 30 years.

A shooting in Glades County lands a LaBelle man in jail on attempted murder charges Saturday. 59 year old Gary Wisenmandle is also a convicted felon. He’s being held without bond in the shooting of 59 year old Robert Kunkle, who was hit in the head and arm. He was treated at the hospital for non-life threatening injury.

Among arrests, 48 year old Patrick Long was charged with 7 counts of unlawful filing of documents against property. Bond was 80 thousand dollars.

Jones, Shawn28 year old Dustin Felts was charged with three counts of animal cruelty for allegedly killing three kittens with an electric guitar after an argument with his girlfriend. He apparently flew into a jealous rage and bit the victim.   Bond was 91 thousand dollars.

The large methamphetamine bust continued over the weekend. Affidavits said 21 arrests were made in Okeechobee, three more in Glades County and three in Highlands County.

40 year old William Brumley, 32 year old Melinda Butts and 60 year old William Carter were jailed in Highlands County, while 49 year old Herbert Rivers, 41 year old John Julian and 50 year old Michael Smith were arrested in Glades County. Those arrested in Okeechobee included 31 year old Thomas Cove, 30 year old Danielle Harmon, 27 year old LaDonna Hopewell, 50 year old Cynthia Carr, 33 year old Aubrey Waldron, 31 year old Jessica Rutherford, 47 year old Andrea Prewitt, and 34 year old Dwayne Ingalls.

08 31 2015 Press News Release Death Investigation

Sports Cast for September 1st:

Bryan Pinon was offensive player of the year for the Yearling soccer team last year.

He led the team in goals and was a main reason the team went undefeated 10-0. Pinon says he was pleased with the way he played. Pinon says the perfect season meant a lot because it included two hard fought victories over cross town rivals, Osceola Middle School. Pinon moves onto the high school this year and hopes to have an immediate impact on the varsity soccer team.

Pinon 1

Pinon 2

On the sports schedule today,

Moore Haven volleyball hosts Clewiston at 7 pm, OHS volleyball visits Harmony with a varsity match at 7 pm. OHS boys’ golf opens their season with a match with Vero Beach, South Fork and Wellington at the Hammock Creek Golf Club in Palm City.

SFWMD Transitions Back to Seasonal Readiness Following Storms

SFWMD Transitions Back to Seasonal Readiness Following Storms

Regional system moved stormwater while balancing the need to save for supply

West Palm Beach, FL — The South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) began returning the regional flood control system to typical summer operations today following weekend rainfall from remnant tropical activity.

From Friday morning through 8 a.m. today, approximately 2 inches of rain fell District-wide, with local maximums to 7.5 inches over the three-day period. The rains were mostly associated with remnant moisture from dissipated tropical storms Danny and Erika. Additional rain is expected today.

“The SFWMD was well prepared,” said Jeff Kivett, SFWMD Director of Operations, Engineering and Construction. “We moved water ahead of the storm and throughout the weekend and are quickly returning the system to seasonal water levels for future supply.”

For the first time, the new 15,000-acre A-1 Flow Equalization Basin (A-1 FEB) in western Palm Beach County was used to slow flows to the Stormwater Treatment Areas (STAs), which use plants to clean phosphorus from the water before it reaches the Everglades.

This action helped prevent prolonged high-water levels in the STAs, which can impact their water-cleaning effectiveness. The FEB is part of a suite of projects in the State’s Restoration Strategies plan to improve water quality in the Everglades.

As of Monday afternoon, drawn-down canals in Palm Beach County had returned to seasonal levels, while canals in Broward and Miami-Dade counties were close to recovering.

There were no reports of flooding associated with the regional flood control system, and all SFWMD infrastructure operated as designed.

Useful Storm Links

Sheriff’s Office Warns Public Regarding Nigerian Scam

Sheriff’s Office Warns Public Regarding Nigerian Scam

Osceola County – Osceola County Sheriff’s deputies want to warn the public about a common scam. Recently, several Osceola County residents have received correspondence regarding the Nigerian scam, typically known as an Advanced Fee Scam or 419 Scam, which offers a large sum of money on the condition you help them transfer it out of the country. The scammer will indicate he/she has a large sum of money “trapped” in central banks or other countries or that they have a large inheritance restricted by taxes in their country. Contact is commonly made by email, letter, text message or social media.

The Sheriff’s Office is providing the following tips:

  • Never send money or give credit card details, online account details or copies of personal documents to anyone you don’t know or trust and never by mail.
  • Avoid any arrangement with a stranger that asks for upfront payment via money order, wire transfer, international funds transfer, pre-loaded card or electronic currency. It is rare to recover money sent this way.
  • Do not agree to transfer money for someone else. Money laundering is a criminal offense.
  • Seek independent advice from someone you know and trust if in doubt.
  • Verify the identity of the contact by calling the relevant organization directly. Do not use the contact information provided in the message sent to you.
  • Beware, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is…
  • If you think you have provided your account details or personal identification information, contact your financial institution immediately.

We encourage citizens to report scams to the Internet Crime Complaint Center who works in partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Their Complaint Referral Form is located at https://complaint.ic3.gov/. Reporting your incident helps warn people about current scams, monitor trends and disrupt scams where possible. Please include details of the scam contact you received, for example, email or screen shot.



Okeechobee, Fla. – Due to recent rainfall, officials at the Florida Department of Health (DOH) in Okeechobee County emphasize the importance of Florida’s residents and visitors protecting themselves against mosquito-borne diseases.

DOH recommends the public to remain diligent in their protecting themselves from mosquito bites by following the “5 D’s,” which include:

  • Dusk and Dawn – Avoid being outdoors when mosquitoes are seeking blood. For many species, this is during the dusk and dawn hours.
  • Dress – Wear clothing that covers most of your skin.
  • DEET – When the potential exists for exposure to mosquitoes, repellents containing DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide, or N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide) are recommended. Picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, and IR3535 are other repellent options. If additional protection is necessary, a permethrin repellent can be applied directly to your clothing.  Again, always follow the manufacturer’s directions.
  • Drainage – Check around your home to rid the area of standing water, which is where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.

Tips on Repellent Use

  • Always read label directions carefully for the approved usage before applying a repellent to skin. Some repellents are not suitable for children.
  • Products with concentrations of up to 30 percent DEET are generally recommended. Other potential mosquito repellents contain picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus, or IR3535. These products are generally available at local pharmacies. Look for active ingredients to be listed on the product label.
  • Apply insect repellent to exposed skin, or onto clothing, but not under clothing.
  • In protecting children, read label instructions to be sure the repellent is age-appropriate. According to the CDC, mosquito repellents containing oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under the age of 3 years. DEET is not recommended on children younger than 2 months old.
  • Infants should be kept indoors or mosquito netting should be used over carriers when mosquitoes are present.
  • Avoid applying repellents to the hands of children. Adults should apply repellent first to their own hands and then transfer it to the child’s skin and clothing.
  • If additional protection is necessary, apply a permethrin repellent directly to your clothing. Again, always follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Tips on Eliminating Mosquito Breeding Sites

Elimination of breeding sites is one of the keys to prevention.

  • Clean out eaves, troughs and gutters.
  • Remove old tires or drill holes in those used in playgrounds to drain.
  • Turn over or remove empty plastic pots.
  • Pick up all beverage containers and cups.
  • Check tarps on boats or other equipment that may collect water.
  • Pump out bilges on boats.
  • Replace water in birdbaths and pet or other animal feeding dishes at least once a week.
  • Change water in plant trays, including hanging plants, at least once a week.
  • Remove vegetation or obstructions in drainage ditches that prevent the flow of water.

Symptoms of West Nile virus may include headache, fever, fatigue, dizziness, weakness and confusion. Physicians should contact their county health department if they suspect an individual may have a mosquito-borne illness. DOH laboratories provide testing services for physicians treating patients with clinical signs of mosquito-borne disease.

DOH continues to conduct statewide surveillance for mosquito borne illnesses, including West Nile virus infections, Eastern Equine Encephalitis, St. Louis Encephalitis, malaria and dengue. For more information on mosquito-borne illnesses, visit DOH’s Environmental Health Web site at http://www.doh.state.fl.us/Environment/medicine/arboviral/index.html or call your local county health department at 863-462-5819.

About the Florida Department of Health

The department works to protect, promote and improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county and community efforts.

Follow us on Twitter at @HealthyFla and on Facebook. For more information about the Florida Department of Health please visit www.FloridaHealth.gov.

Stay legal with these hunting tips for Florida’s bow seasons

Stay legal with these hunting tips for Florida’s bow seasons

By Tony Young

Hunting with a bow or crossbow is a great way to get a jump on the gun hunters. Bowhunters are allowed in the woods a month-and-a-half earlier and get that first crack at the deer. Plus, during archery season, you can also take antlerless deer, which really increases your chances of putting venison in the freezer.

Maybe that’s why bowhunting continues to be so popular in our state, accounting for more than 10 percent of all deer harvested, 15 percent of harvested does and 25 percent of the deer taken on wildlife management areas. Last year, more than 30,000 people bowhunted in Florida.

And along with hunting the rut, early bow seasons provide a great opportunity to take a trophy whitetail and arguably are among the best times to do so. In northwest Florida, it’s even better because bucks are still hangin’ out in their bachelor groups.

If you’re stealthy enough and have done your pre-season homework, you have a good chance of a nice one coming within shooting range of your bowhunting setup. In the early season, before the deer are under as much hunting pressure, they are more active during daylight hours. When gun season hits, you might not see that big ’un again for the rest of the year, except for maybe a picture of him taken from your trail camera in the middle of the night.

Season dates by zone

Hunting season always comes first in Zone A in south Florida.

The boundary line between zones A and C begins at the Gulf of Mexico and runs northeast through Charlotte Harbor and up the Peace River until it intersects with State Road 70. The line then follows S.R. 70, running east until it meets U.S. 441 north of Lake Okeechobee. It then follows U.S. 441 south, where it proceeds around the eastern shore of Lake Okeechobee. The line then turns off U.S. 441 and onto S.R. 80 and runs just a few miles before turning east and following County Road 880, running just a few miles before joining back up with U.S. 98/441/S.R. 80/Southern Boulevard until it reaches the Atlantic Ocean. Archery and crossbow seasons south of that line started Aug. 1 in Zone A.

This year, archery and crossbow seasons in Zone B start Oct. 17, but there’s been a change to the western boundary line of Zone B. The western boundary used to be the Gulf of Mexico, but it’s been moved eastward and is now Interstate-75. However, the zone’s northern boundary line is still S.R. 50, the eastern border remains U.S. 441 and the Kissimmee Waterway, and the southern boundary is still S.R. 60.

But that means all lands that were previously located in Zone B west of I-75 are now part of Zone C and, as a result, have earlier fall hunting season dates. This change was initiated by local hunters and landowners who wanted earlier season dates to better coincide with the rut.

The line that divides zones C and D begins at U.S. 27 at the Florida-Georgia state line (in Gadsden County) and runs south on U.S. 27 until it meets S.R. 61 in Tallahassee. From there, it follows S.R. 61, running south until it hits U.S. 319. There, the line follows U.S. 319, continuing south to U.S. 98; it then runs east along U.S. 98 until it gets to the Wakulla River, where the river becomes the line, heading south until it meets the St. Marks River and continues going downriver until it meets the Gulf.

If you hunt west of that line, you’re in Zone D, where archery and crossbow seasons begin on Oct. 24 this year. In Zone C (east of that line), archery and crossbow seasons open Sept. 19.

License and permit requirements

But, before you go, you need to make sure your license and required permits are up to date. To hunt during archery season, you’ll need a Florida hunting license and an archery permit. During crossbow season, you’ll need a hunting license and crossbow permit. If you’re a Florida resident, an annual hunting license costs $17. Nonresidents have the choice of paying $46.50 for a 10-day license or $151.50 for 12 months. Archery and crossbow permits are $5 each, and all deer hunters must have the $5 deer permit.

Anyone planning on hunting one of Florida’s many WMAs must purchase a management area permit for $26.50. And don’t forget to pick up the WMA rules and regulations brochure for the area you wish to hunt. You can get brochures at the closest tax collector’s office, or you can print them from MyFWC.com/Hunting under “WMA Brochures.”

You can obtain all the licenses and permits you’ll need at a county tax collector’s office, any retail outlet that sells hunting and fishing supplies, by calling 888-HUNT-FLORIDA or at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com.

Legal to take

During archery season and that part of crossbow season that runs concurrent with archery, you can take legal-to-take bucks (as defined by the regulations for the deer management unit in which you’re hunting) and antlerless deer, which are does and bucks with less than 5-inch antlers. You may never take spotted fawns. After archery ends, during the remaining portion of the crossbow season, you may only take legal-to-take bucks according to the specific DMU antler rules. The daily bag limit on deer is two. Bag limits for deer on WMAs can differ, so check the specifics of the area before you hunt.

You can hunt wild hogs on private lands year-round with no bag or size limits. On most WMAs, there’s also no bag or size limits, and hogs are legal to take during most hunting seasons except spring turkey. But on a few WMAs, bag and size limits do apply, so to be certain, check the brochure for the specific area.

In addition to hunting big game, it’s also legal to shoot gobblers and bearded turkeys during archery and crossbow seasons, assuming you have a turkey permit ($10 for residents, $125 for nonresidents). You may take two turkeys in a single day on private lands, but the two-bird fall-season limit still applies, and the daily bag limit for turkeys is still one on WMAs. It’s illegal to shoot turkeys while they’re on the roost, over bait, when you’re within 100 yards of a game-feeding station when bait is present or with the aid of recorded turkey calls. In addition, it’s against the law to hunt turkeys in Holmes County in the fall.

If you’re hunting during the archery season, you may hunt only with a bow and you must have the archery permit. During crossbow season, you may use either a crossbow or bow, but you must have the crossbow permit. On WMAs, only hunters with a disabled crossbow permit are allowed to use crossbows during archery season. All bows must have a minimum draw weight of 35 pounds, and hand-held releases are permitted. For hunting deer, hogs and turkeys, broadheads must have at least two sharpened edges with a minimum width of 7/8 inch.

As far as legal shooting hours go, you’re allowed to let your arrow or bolt fly between a half-hour before sunrise and a half-hour after sunset. Except for turkeys, you’re permitted to take resident game over feeding stations on private property. It’s against the law to use bait on WMAs.

You can’t use dogs to hunt deer or turkeys, but you are allowed to use a dog on a leash to help you trail any wounded game.

Here’s hoping all your preparation and persistence pay off and wishing you all a great hunting season. And if you’re on social media, please follow our HuntFlorida pages at Facebook.com/HGM.FWC, YouTube.com/HuntFloridaTV and Twitter.com/HuntFloridaFWC.

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