Laws for Hunting Bobcats in Florida

Will you be hunting bobcats in Florida this year? This article covers many of the fundamental laws you will need to know to get started. It also provides information such as seasons, harvest limits, and required permits for bobcat hunting in Florida. It is not a legal document and is not intended to cover all hunting laws and regulations.

If laws bore you to tears, consider this: There are an estimated 300,000 bobcats in the Sunshine State. Some research is worth the chance to hunt that many bobcats.

Laws for hunting bobcats in Florida
Laws for hunting bobcats in Florida.

In Florida, the bobcat hunting season runs from December 1 to March 31. A license is required. Hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. There are no bag limits.

Bobcats may be taken by rifle, shotgun, pistol, muzzleloader, air gun, crossbow or bow.

Purchase a Florida hunting license here.

Check out the Florida hunting seasons.

If this is your first time hunting bobcats, check out this article on the three vital tips to bobcat hunting success.

Related: Read the laws for hunting coyotes in Florida.

General laws for hunting bobcats in Florida.

Suppressors are legal. You may use while hunting bobcats.

Electronic callers are legal.

Read this article and watch the video to learn how to use a closed reed rabbit squealer.

You can check Amazon for electronic predator caller prices here.

Decoys are legal. You can read about some highly effective but inexpensive ($20) coyotes decoys here.

Night hunting bobcats. Is prohibited except for depredation permits.

Can I kill a bobcat on my property in Florida?

The Gun and Light at Night Permit authorize individuals to take depredating wildlife (beaver, bobcat, fox, opossum, rabbit, raccoon, otter, skunk, or nutria) at night with a gun and light on land that they own or possess the written permission of the landowner. Under special restrictions, it authorizes harassment (scaring) deer causing damage to crops with a gun and light at night.

The permit is not required to take wild hog, coyote, armadillo, black or Norway rat, and house mouse with a gun and light during non-daylight hours.

Cost: $0.00

What a Florida gun and light permit allows.

  1. The permit holder and assistants use a gun and light at night to take (kill) certain wildlife that is destroying crops and/or livestock.
  2. The landowner – or the permit holder with the landowner’s written permission – to take certain wildlife with a gun and light at night on their land or permitted property.
  3. To take certain wildlife that is causing damage only in the immediate area where the damage to crops and/or livestock is taking place.
  4. The taking (killing) of the selected wildlife causing damage: beaver, bobcat, fox, possum, rabbit, raccoon, otter, skunk or nutria.
  5. Under special restrictions, deer causing damage to crops can be harassed (scared) with a gun and light at night under this permit when authorized.
  6. Both the permit and written permission of the landowner, if applicable, must accompany each person while using a gun and light at night under the terms of the permit.
  7. In many cases, the method of taking the wildlife causing damage under this permit is limited to using a rimfire rifle.
  8. Before engaging in the permitted activities, you must call 1-888-404-3922 to inform FWC of the date and time of the planned permitted activity.

Related: Is it a bobcat bothering your property? Learn how to read bobcat prints and sign.

What a Florida gun and light permit does not allow.

  1. The discharge of firearms in areas not allowed by state law or court injunctions/orders.
  2. The possession of firearms by individuals not allowed by state law or court injunctions/orders.
  3. Anyone without a valid hunting license to engage in the permitted activities unless exempt from license requirements.
  4. A fee to be charged to anyone to participate in the permitted activities.
  5. The sale of any wildlife or parts of wildlife taken under this permit.
  6. The taking of wildlife:
    1. not listed on the permit,
    2. not on the property listed on the permit, or
    3. away from the immediate area where the damage to crops and/or livestock is taking place.
  7. The permit holder to be under the age of 18.

Tagging of bobcats pelts required in Florida.

CITES tags must be attached to any bobcat and otter pelt that leaves Florida and immediately upon purchase if they are sold.

Hunters may possess 1 untanned bobcat and otter pelt without a CITES tag. Any additional pelts must have a CITES tag.

There are no possession limits for trappers; however, possession of untanned pelts of either species is prohibited between April 1 and November 30, unless the pelt has a CITES tag. CITES tags can be obtained by calling 850-488-5878.

Prohibited methods and equipment when hunting bobcats in Florida

  • This document doesn’t address or advise persons as to local ordinances prohibiting the discharge of firearms or as to the validity of such ordinances.
  • Centerfire semi-automatic rifles having magazine capacities of more than five rounds
  • Nonexpanding full metal case (military ball) ammunition for taking deer
  • Firearms using rimfire cartridges for taking deer
  • Fully automatic firearms
  • Air guns that are not pre-charged pneumatic (PCP) air guns when taking deer or turkey
  • PCP air guns firing single bullets that are less than .30-caliber when taking deer and less than .20-caliber when taking turkey.
  • Explosive or drug-injecting arrows
  • Taking or attempting to take with live decoys, recorded game calls or sounds, set guns, artificial lights, nets, traps, snares, drugs or poisons
  • Shooting from vehicles, powerboats or sailboats moving under power. Motors must be shut off or sails furled, and progress must cease from such motor or sail before taking game.
  • Herding or driving game with vehicles, boats or aircraft.
  • Hunting turkeys with dogs
  • Taking turkeys while they are on the roost
  • Taking turkeys when the hunter is within 100 yards of a game-feeding station when feed is present.
  • Taking spotted fawn deer or swimming deer
  • Using dogs without collars that identify the owners name and address.
  • Using dogs on private lands without written landowner permission. See information about statewide deer dog registration.
  • Using dogs not under physical restraint to pursue deer, fox, coyote and wild hog without a collar allowing remote tracking (GPS or telemetry).
  • Placing, exposing or distributing soporific, anesthetic, tranquilizer, hypnotic or similar drugs or chemicals; preparation by baits; or by other means where game birds or game animals may be affected.
  • Shooting or attempting to shoot or harass any bird, fish or other animal from aircraft, except as specifically authorized by a Federal or State issued license or permit.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr.

Dennis V. Gilmore Jr. is a former Marine Sergeant and the author of several books, including two on night hunting coyotes and red and gray fox. He has written several hundred articles on predator hunting for

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