Be aware. Before you head out to your favorite trail, check ahead: is hunting permitted there? If so, what are the dates? You’ll find this information by digging through the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission web page on Florida’s Wildlife Management Areas. Look and see if the public land you’re headed to is on this page. If so, click on that land and download the PDF brochure. Read it. Hunting dates and regulations are included in each brochure and are different for every WMA.
Be informed. Once you know the public land you’re headed to is a WMA, follow up by checking the land manager websites – national forests, water management districts, etc. Know their regulations. Many public lands limit camping for backpackers while general gun season is in full swing.
Be prepared. Keep a blaze orange vest or t-shirt and hat in the car for those times you arrive at a trailhead and discover hunting season is in full swing. Don’t venture into the woods without them if you are hiking in a WMA.
Be thoughtful. Hunters are being quiet for a reason. Don’t make a lot of noise, but do make your presence known. You’re both enjoying the outdoors in different ways.
If you prefer hiking where you won’t run into hunters in the woods, stick to local natural areas and county parks, Florida State Parks, National Parks, and the Cross Florida Greenway. The primary public lands where hunting is permitted include state forests, national forests, water management district lands, and some of the National Wildlife Refuges, plus the specifically-established WMAs, or wildlife management areas.
For more information, see Hiker safety during deer hunting season