Gulf red snapper season opens Oct. 1

The recreational harvest of red snapper opened Oct. 1 in state and federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

In state waters, which are from shore to nine nautical miles in the Gulf, the season will remain open through Oct. 21, closing on Oct. 22.

In federal waters, which are from 9 nautical miles out to 200 nautical miles, the season will remain open through Oct. 14, closing on Oct. 15.

These supplemental recreational red snapper seasons are for 2013 only. The minimum size limit in state and federal waters is 16 inches, and the daily bag limit is two per harvester, per day. There is a zero daily bag and possession limit for captain and crew on for-hire vessels.

Anglers are required to use circle hooks and dehooking devices when fishing for any reef species, including red snapper, in Gulf of Mexico state and federal waters. The requirement to use venting tools in federal waters was removed on Sept. 3. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will consider adopting similar changes at a future meeting. The intent of these rules is to help conserve fishery resources by increasing the chances for a fish to survive after being caught and released.

Learn more about red snapper by visiting and clicking on “Saltwater” and “Recreational Regulations.”


Stone crab season opens Oct. 15

The recreational and commercial stone crab season will open Oct. 15 in state and federal waters. Only the claws may be harvested and must be at least 2 ¾ inches long. The bag limit is one gallon of claws per person or two gallons per vessel, whichever is less. Harvest of claws from females with eggs is prohibited

The season closes May 16. Harvesters cannot use any device that can puncture, crush or injure the crab body. A maximum of five traps per person is permitted.



Floridians hunting deer out of state need to be aware of CWD laws


Florida hunters planning to hunt deer, moose or elk out of state this year need to be aware of certain laws and regulations aimed at preventing chronic wasting disease (CWD) from entering our state.

CWD is a contagious, neurological disease that has been found in captive and wild cervids (white-tailed deer, mule deer, moose and elk) within 22 states, two Canadian provinces and in South Korea. The disease causes degeneration of the brains of infected animals, resulting in emaciation, abnormal behavior, loss of bodily functions and death. There is no known evidence that CWD can be transmitted to livestock or humans.

The disease has been detected in New Mexico, Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan, Virginia, Missouri, North Dakota, Maryland and Texas. It has also been detected in Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada, and in South Korea.

Hunters need to know that it is against the law to bring into Florida whole carcasses of any cervid from any of the above-listed areas. The purpose of this measure is to prevent CWD from being brought into the state. The infective agent, called a prion, can be accidentally deposited into the environment, where it can persist for years and can infect other deer. Many states have a prohibition similar to Florida’s in place.

It is OK, however, to bring into Florida deboned meat and finished taxidermy mounts, tanned hides, cleaned skulls, antlers and teeth from any of these places, as long as all soft tissue has been removed.

If anyone sees a sickly, extremely skinny deer (see photo at, he or she should report its location to the toll-free CWD hotline: 866-293-9282. Hunters who harvest such a deer should not handle it but call the CWD hotline.

For more information about CWD or this rule, visit The website also provides links to wildlife and health agencies with more in-depth information about the disease


ANERR announces Panhandle habitat classes

The Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve is happy to announce the next classes in the Panhandle Habitat Series.

The Estuaries class is Wednesday, Oct. 30 and the Rivers & Floodplains class is Wednesday, Nov. 13.

These professional level classes are intended for coastal decision makers such as consultants, ecologists, park rangers, planners, permitting staff, ecotour operators, elected officials, developers, volunteer organizations and concerned citizens.

All classes will be held from 8:45 a.m. to 4:30 the Apalachicola National Estuarine Research Reserve Nature Center in Eastpoint.

Registration is required. You must register at no later than five days before the class.

Cost is $10 per person per class payable to Friends of the Reserve. Mail payment with your name to Margo Posten, 108 Island Drive, Eastpoint, FL 32328. For more information contact Posten at 670-7719 or