The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) on Thursday, Sept. 5, implemented a new recreational hunting and fishing license exemption for disabled veterans, active and reserve duty military personnel, immediate family members of these veterans and military personnel and assistants during special events designed for the enjoyment or rehabilitation of participating military personnel and disabled veterans.
This effort to help disabled veterans and those serving in the military came about during the 2013 legislative session, when the Commission requested and the Legislature and Governor approved the new license exemption. The Commission was directed to craft rules to implement the law.
"Our disabled veterans and military have given so much to us that we wanted to give something to them, by allowing them to participate in fishing or hunting events without having to buy a license and/or permit," Chairman Richard Corbett said.
Event organizers apply for the permit to exempt their qualifying participants.
To qualify for the exemption, special events must be designed to provide rehabilitation or enjoyment to participating disabled veterans or active or reserve duty military personnel in any branch of the U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. Coast Guard or Florida National Guard. Immediate family members (parents, spouses and children) of participating disabled veterans and military personnel and one designated assistant for each disabled veteran are included in each event's license and permit exemptions.
Exemptions will last for the duration of the events. FWC regional directors, as the executive director's designee, will issue these permits. Established seasons, bag or slot limits, size restrictions and all other laws will still apply. Limited-entry activities won't be permitted under this exemption.
"We worked with stakeholders; military, veterans' and other state agencies and related organizations in drafting the exemption," said the FWC's Northeast Regional Director, Shannon Wright.
Commissioners approved staff's recommendations for implementing the rule, so now staff will advertise the proposal and file for adoption as soon as possible, as allowed by Florida Statutes, without further hearing.
For more information and to apply, visit MyFWC.com/License.