Going Fishing or Hunting in Natural North Florida? Don’t Forget Your License!

If you’re heading out to fish (or hunt) in our Natural North Florida region, you’ll likely need a license.  That’s especially true if you’re not a Florida resident.  Florida’s rules can be complicated, so here’s a quick look at the basics, thanks to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC).

Who needs a recreational hunting or fishing license or permit?

Florida Residents and Visitors need a Florida hunting, freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing license unless they are a member of one of the “exempted” groups of people listed below. Your license is required to be with you when you are engaged the licensed activity. Replacement licenses cost $2.

A fishing license is required to attempt to take fish.  If you cast your line, catch nothing, catch and release, or catch and keep and you are not a member of one the groups listed below; you need a license.  A saltwater fishing license is also required to attempt to take any native or nonnative marine organisms, such as crabs, lobsters, and marine plants.

Licenses and permits are required to help or assist in the take. Someone who is passively participating (setting decoys, calling birds or baiting hooks), whether actively fishing or hunting or not, must have a license.

How and where do I buy hunting or fishing licenses?

Who does not need a license or permit?

Some of the exemptions listed below apply to “Florida Residents” only. Please be aware of the Florida state residency requirements.
The exemptions listed below may also apply to hunting, saltwater fishing, or freshwater fishing, or all three.
These exemptions DO NOT apply to:alligator licenses or tags, many limited entry and quota hunt permits, persons with disabilities crossbow permits, tarpon tags or boating safety requirements.

Seniors and children

Children under the age of 16 and resident seniors who are 65 or older are not required to purchase *most recreational licenses. However, officers may ask exempt children and seniors for proof of age. Seniors should also be prepared to show proof of residency.
Nonresident seniors, need to have a Florida hunting license and permits and/or a recreational fishing license and permits, unless fishing with a charter captain, from a charter vessel or otherwise properly licensed vessel or from a licensed pier.

Food stamp, temporary cash assistance, or Medicaid recipients

The “food stamp” exemption below only applies to Florida residents who are saltwater fishing from the shore or a structure attached to the shore. It does not apply to freshwater fishing or to saltwater fishing from a vessel or when swimming or diving.


You do not need a recreational hunting, freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing license or a *Florida waterfowl, migratory bird, deer, turkey, snook, spiny lobster, archery season, crossbow season, muzzleloading season permit or *management area permit if…

  • You are a child under 16 years of age (also exempt from federal duck stamp requirements).
  • You are a Florida resident age 65 or older possessing proof of age and residency (a valid Florida Driver License or Florida ID Card meets this requirement) or possessing an optional Resident Senior Citizen Hunting and Fishing Certificate.  Residents age 65 or older may obtain, at no cost, complimentary hunting and fishing certificates from some county tax collectors’ offices.
  • You hunt or freshwater fish in your county of residence on your homestead or the homestead of your spouse or minor child, or if you are a minor child hunting or freshwater fishing on the homestead of your parent.
  • You are a Florida resident certified as totally and permanently disabled and you possess a Florida Resident Disabled Person Hunting and Fishing License (hunter safety and migratory bird permit requirements apply).
  • You are a resident who is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, you are not stationed in this state, and you are home on leave for 30 days or less, upon submission of orders.
  • You are hunting wild hog on private land.
  • You are observing or filming someone else who is fishing or hunting and you are not assisting (setting decoys, calling birds, etc.) in the take in any way.
  • You are a disabled veteran or active or reserve duty military service member and his or her immediate family members and an assistant who are participating in a permitted outdoor recreational event, for which the Commission has issued a Military/Disabled Veteran Event License Exemption Permit to the event organizer.

* These exemptions do not apply for the federal duck stamp.

In addition to the exemptions listed above, you do not need a freshwater fishing license if…

  • You have been accepted as a client for developmental disabilities services by the Agency for Persons with DisabilitiesExternal Website.  The agency must furnish proof to such clients.
  • You are fishing in a fish pond of 20 acres or less which is located entirely within the private property of its owner.  A fish pond is a man-made pond constructed for the primary purpose of fishing, entirely within the property lines of the owner and with no surface water connection to public waters.
  • You are fishing in a fish pond of 20 acres or more, whose owner has purchased a fish pond licenseNot a Mobile-Enabled Link at a fee of $3 per surface acre.
  • You possess a Resident Freshwater Commercial Fishing LicenseNot a Mobile-Enabled Link.
  • You are fishing in the St. Mary’s River or Lake Seminole (but not including tributary creeks in Florida) and have a valid Georgia fishing license.
  • You are freshwater fishing during Free Freshwater Fishing DaysNot a Mobile-Enabled Link.
  • You are a resident who is fishing with live or natural bait, using poles or lines that are not equipped with a fishing-line-retrieval mechanism, and you are fishing for noncommercial purposes in your home county.  However, you must have a valid fishing license to fish by any method in a fish management area.

Shoreline saltwater fishing license

Residents who are fishing for a saltwater species (other than mullet in fresh water) from land or from a structure fixed to the land are required to have a no-cost saltwater shoreline fishing license unless they have a regular saltwater fishing license or are exempt

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