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Hunting & Fishing - Ocala National Forest

The Ocala National Forest is a wildlife management area, in which hunting and fishing activities are managed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. A $26.50 Wildlife Management Area Permit is required for all hunters (except those indicated as exempt) to hunt in this area. A Quota Hunt Permit may also be required during certain time periods or certain game. General hunting information may be found on the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissionís website, or in the current Hunting Handbook available at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission Office, their various subagents, or the Forest Service Ranger Stations. For specific regulations that pertain only to the Ocala Wildlife Management Area a unique brochure is published annually and can be obtained at the same locations, including the website. This brochure identifies specific hunting units and regulations of the Ocala Wildlife Management Area. Click here to see this brochure.

Freshwater fishing is available in the many lakes, streams and ponds of the Ocala National Forest. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission also regulates fishing and produces a Fishing Handbook that outlines specific rules, bag limits, licensing, and health advisories. This handbook is available at the same locations as the Hunting Handbook. The Forest Service produced a specific fishing guide for the Ocala National Forest. This handy paperback book, entitled Fishing Opportunities in the Ocala National Forest, identifies 50 bodies of water within the Ocala and provides great detail for each one. These details include: recreation facilities available, ramp access, specific regulations, sport fishing opportunities, and lake description. Fishing Opportunities in the Ocala National Forest is sold at all three visitor centers.

Hunting and Fishing licenses and permits for residents and nonresidents are available at county tax collectorís offices and their subagents, such as sporting goods stores or other retailers selling hunting and fishing equipment. For your convenience, you may use a major credit card and purchase your license over the phone: 1-888-HUNT-FLORIDA or 1-888-FISH-FLORIDA; or through the FWC website.

The Ocala Rifle Range was built with funds provided by the Pittman-Robertson Act to be used by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commissionís Hunter Education Program. This Act levies an excise tax on all sporting arms and ammunition, which is then used for wildlife restoration and hunter education. When classes are not scheduled, the range is available to the public. The facility is open from sunrise to sunset and is unsupervised, so cooperation among shooters is a must! While backboards are provided, they must be maintained and the range is usually closed on Wednesdays for repairs. Shooters should bring their own targets and tacks or staples, and those using the shotgun range should bring their own targets. There is no fee to use the range. The range is located within a wildlife management area boundary, so transporting firearms to and from the range is limited to state and county roads and prohibited on forest service roads.The rangeís location on FS 88 just 0.7 mile north of SR 40.

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