Big Game Hunting

White-Tailed Deer and Hog
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The Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge ‘Big Game Hunt’ is an archery-only white-tailed deer hunt which allows unlimited harvest of feral hogs during the permitted hunt.  The season consists of two different hunts.  Each hunt is a “three-day” hunting period and is limited to 30 permitted hunters per hunt.  All hunters, 16 years of age and older must obtain a Merritt Island NWR Archery permit.  Each permitted hunter may take one youth hunter. 

 

Hunt Days - 2018 season:

1st Hunt: October 5-7

2nd Hunt: November 30 - December 2

 

Limited Entry/ Quota Permits

All State and Federal hunting regulations apply.  Merritt Island NWR Archery Big Game Hunting permits are sold under the limited entry/quota hunt permitting system through Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) through the FWC’s Recreational Licensing Issuance Services (RLIS).  To apply online for a Merritt Island NWR Archery permit go to www.myfwc.com/hunting (log into your account and choose “Apply for Limited Entry/Quota Permit”).  A second option is to complete the Application Worksheet and present it to a license agent or tax collector office. 

 

Hunter Requirements

Valid government issued ID 

Florida State issued hunting license with required permits (i.e. deer, archery) 

Florida State issued limited entry/ quota permit specifically for Merritt Island NWR Archery

Brochure permit which is a self-issuing Merritt Island NWR Big Game Regulations/Permit  

Hunters Safety Course as required by State regulations

Persons with disabilities must have a crossbow permit if hunter chooses to use a crossbow

 

Hunt Zones

The hunt zones include approximately 5,000 acres of upland habitat along State Road 3, north of Haulover Canal between the Indian River Lagoon and Mosquito Lagoon.  The zones lie within Volusia and Brevard Counties, FL which is the FWC hunt area C-4.  The lands east of State Road 3, are in the joint management area between the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The Pine Flatwoods hiking trail and WSEG Boat Ramp will be closed to all public use during the hunt except for permitted hunters.  Some roads are boundaries and there is NO HUNTING allowed on any roads.  We prohibit hunting from or within 100 yards of all refuge roads open to public vehicle travel or within 200 yards of a building or KSC facility.  We prohibit shooting over any dike or roadway.

 

There are five zones within the hunt area named: (1) Shiloh (2) Gomez Grant Line (3) WSEG (4) Pine Flatwoods (5) Beacon 42.  The zones will be posted with the appropriate zone number.  Accesses to the following zones are limited to permitted hunters.  See map for defined zones.

 

Zone (1) Shiloh- area includes north of Patillo Creek Road to south of road #132

Zone (2) Gomez Grant Line- area includes north of Fred’s road to south of Gomez Grant Line

Zone (3) WSEG- area includes north of WSEG road to south of Fred’s road

Zone (4) Pine Flatwoods- area includes north of Pine Flatwoods road to south of WSEG road  

Zone (5) Beacon 42- area includes north of road #152 to south of Pine Flatwoods road

 

Federal Rules and Regulations

The basic Refuge specific Big Game Hunting regulations can be found in the Big Game Hunting Brochure.  However, please review the United States Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). CFRTitle50 is the principal set of rules and regulations issued by federal agencies of the United States regarding wildlife and fisheries.

 

Harvest

The Refuge bag limit is two white-tailed deer per quota hunt permit in any combination as legal per state regulations within the specified dates.  The antler point regulations follow State guidelines.

Permitted hunters may also harvest feral hogs using legal archery equipment only.  There is no size or bag limit for feral hogs.  All game is subject to inspection by Refuge staff, Federal, State, or County Law Enforcement Officers.  Each hunter must gain consent from a Federal Wildlife Officer to track wounded wildlife beyond one hour after legal sunset.  During weekends and after hours contact FWC law enforcement dispatch at 1-407-275-4150 extension 7 and request a Federal USFWS officer to respond.  A reasonable effort must be made to retrieve all wounded wildlife. 

 

Check-Out Stations

Check-out at one of two check stations is MANDATORY for both successful and unsuccessful hunters and must be completed on each day hunted. The information from check-out stations will assist in maintaining high quality white-tailed deer and feral hog hunts.  There are no requirements for check-in but hunters cannot enter the refuge until 5am.  Hunters must be off the Refuge two hours after sunset.  There are two check stations:

located on the northwest corner of Haulover Canal at the kiosk

the large kiosk at the north end of SR3, west side of the road  

 

Feral Hog Diseases Health Warning

Feral Hogs (Sus scrofa) carry various diseases.  Hunters should educate themselves and adhere to advisories to reduce the possibility of disease transmission.  For more information on feral hog diseases, see FWC’s website on feral hog diseases and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

Contacts

In case of an emergency on the refuge dial (321) 867-7911.

 

To report a refuge law enforcement violation please call FWC dispatch at (407) 275-4150 extension 7 and request a USFWS officer respond. Please provide as much information as possible, i.e. license plate number, color and/or make model of the vehicle, description of individuals, etc.  

 

For big game hunt specific questions: Monday through Thursday 9am to 3pm call (321) 861-2352. 

For visitor services questions 8am to 4pm daily call (321) 861-0669.