Purchasing licenses and permits to fish and hunt is quick and easy using the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website.
With some exceptions, you must have a license to fish in Florida. There are two types of fishing licenses: freshwater and saltwater. Each one has certain restrictions to the kind of fish you can take. Combination licenses and different commercial freshwater fishing licenses are also available.
Licenses and permits are issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). They can be bought at the FWC website, the Tax Collector's office, places such as sporting goods stores, hunting and fishing equipment retailers, or by calling 1-888-486-8356.
Fishing licenses are regulated by the State of Florida, with fees for licenses and permits set by the Florida Legislature.
Do I need a freshwater or saltwater fishing license or both?
In general, you need a freshwater license to take freshwater fish and a saltwater license to take saltwater fish unless one of the exemptions applies to your situation. You need a freshwater license if you are fishing in pure fresh water where no saltwater species live. Likewise, you need a saltwater license if you are fishing in the ocean.
However, the issue becomes less clear when you get into estuarine-type areas where salt and fresh water commingle and both types of fish can be found. The interpretation of the rule is:
- You either need a freshwater, saltwater or combination license (or appropriate exemption) to take fish (take is legally defined as taking, attempting to take, pursuing, molesting, capturing or killing any fish, or their nests or eggs by any means, whether such actions result in obtaining possession of such fish or their nests or eggs)
- If you are using species-specific gear, your license should be appropriate (freshwater or saltwater) to the species you are targeting, and
- Otherwise, you need an appropriate license to keep your catch and immediately release any species you are not licensed for. License requirements follow the fish species, regardless of where they are caught. In other words, if you only have a freshwater license and are primarily fishing for largemouth bass or bream (freshwater species) in a river but happen to catch a red drum (a saltwater species), you must immediately release the red drum
Annual recreational hunting and fishing licenses expire one year from the date issued. The expiration date is printed on all the licenses.
To view your current Florida recreational hunting and fishing licenses:
- Go to the FWC Recreational Licensing Issuance Services (RLIS) online license sales website
- Enter your identification information and click "Continue"
- Your current licenses will be listed. Click "Show License History" to see your expired licenses
A fishing or hunting license is required to be with you when you are engaged in the licensed activity. If your license is not listed there, it is expired. At this point, you may continue and purchase a replacement or new license or close out to end the session.
There are a variety of hunting licenses for different seasons (for example, alligators, migratory game birds and waterfowls). Each one is subject to different hours and bag limits or quotas.
Recreational hunting licenses and permits can be purchased yearly. Florida residents also have the option to buy five-year and lifetime licenses
To get a hunting license, anyone born on or after June 1, 1975 must take the FWC Hunter Education Course.
A trapping license is required to sell furbearing animals (animals whose fur is valued commercially) or use live traps or snares to take furbearers for commercial purposes.
A dealer's license is required for anyone other than the trapper who participates in the buying and selling of furbearing animals for commercial purposes.
Licenses and permits are issued by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). They can be purchased online, in person at our public service office, in places such as sporting goods stores or hunting and fishing equipment retailers, or by calling 1-888-486-8356.
Hunting licenses are regulated by the State of Florida, with fees for licenses and permits set by the Florida legislature.
Hunting licenses can be purchased online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or at our public service office. For more information, please visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
- Hunting License - Required when taking or attempting to take game or furbearing animals (by methods other than trapping)
- Sportsman's License - Includes hunting and freshwater fishing licenses, wildlife management area, archery, muzzleloading gun, crossbow, deer, turkey and Florida waterfowl permits. It does not include saltwater fishing license, snook or lobster permits
- Silver Sportsman's License - Available for Florida residents 64 years of age or older. It includes hunting and freshwater fishing licenses, wildlife management area, archery, muzzleloading gun, crossbow, deer, turkey and Florida waterfowl permits. It does not include saltwater fishing license, snook or lobster permits
- Gold Sportsman's License - Includes hunting, saltwater fishing and freshwater fishing licenses, wildlife management area, archery, muzzleloading gun, crossbow, deer, turkey, Florida waterfowl, snook and lobster permits
- Military Gold Sportsman's License - Includes hunting, saltwater fishing and freshwater fishing licenses, wildlife management area, archery, muzzleloading gun, crossbow, deer, turkey, Florida waterfowl, snook and lobster permits. Through an online verification process, it is available to Florida residents who are active duty or retired military members at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com. The license is also available at our public service office with proof of residency and a current military identification card
- Youth License - Optional for youth ages 8 to 15 who have successfully completed hunter safety education. The license is valid until the recipient's 17th birthday
Lifetime licenses can be purchased online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or our public service office.
The following documentation is required:
For children under 13 years of age:
- Certified copy of the child's birth certificate
- Social Security card and
- Copy of the Florida driver's license of one parent whose name appears on the birth certificate
Youth between the ages of 13 and 18:
- Student ID from a Florida school and
- Parent's proof of residency (the parent must accompany the child at the time of purchase)
Residents age 16 and older:
- Florida driver's license or identification card with residency verified by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles
Lifetime License Designations
- Lifetime Gold Sportsman's License - Includes hunting, freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing licenses, deer, wildlife management area, archery, muzzleloading gun, crossbow, turkey, Florida waterfowl, snook and lobster permits
- Lifetime Saltwater Fishing License - Includes a Saltwater Fishing license and Snook and Lobster permits
- Lifetime Freshwater Fishing License - Includes a freshwater fishing license
- Lifetime Hunting License - includes a hunting license, deer, wildlife management area, archery, muzzleloading gun, crossbow, turkey and Florida waterfowl permits
Lifetime license holders can now have designations for hunting, freshwater fishing, saltwater fishing, or gold sportsman's licenses, as well as boating safety certifications added to a Florida driver's license. Learn more information about these DHSMV designations.
Florida residents aged 65 or older only need a Florida driver's license or identification card to prove residency and age. They are not required to purchase the following recreational licenses and permits:
- Saltwater fishing, freshwater fishing and hunting licenses
- Snook, lobster, deer, management area, muzzleloading, turkey, archery, crossbow, *Florida waterfowl and migratory bird permits
The Resident 65+ Hunt/Fish certificate is available at no cost online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or in person at our public service office, but it is not required. While a license is not required for resident seniors, they should keep proof of age and residency while participating in these activities.
* The exemption does not apply to the federal duck stamp or tarpon tag.
A recreational fishing or hunting license is required to be in your possession when you are engaged in the licensed activity.
To replace a lost or stolen license or permit, you may reprint it at any time online at no cost, or visit a licensed agent or our public service office to have it reprinted for a $2.50 fee. A lost or stolen hard card can be replaced for $5 for annual and five-year licenses, and $10 for a lifetime license card.
Licenses can also be downloaded electronically with the FWC's Fish|Hunt FL App on Apple or Android smartphones or tablets. Renew, purchase, and store your licenses and permits on the app, as they count as personal possession of your license. Search for FWC in your app store to download the Fish|Hunt FL App today.
A charter captain or boat license is required to carry paying customers (where a fee is paid directly or indirectly) for the purpose of taking, attempting to take, or possessing saltwater fish or organisms. To be a saltwater fishing guide in Florida, you must comply with U.S. Coast Guard (USGC) requirements. The U.S. Coast Guard (USGC) requires all operators of for-hire vessels to have a captain license/merchant mariner credential. Charter, headboat and saltwater fishing guide operations must have an FWC charter captain or boat license to cover their passengers, who are not required to hold a recreational saltwater fishing license. Customers authorized to fish under the vessel license are not required to have a recreational saltwater fishing license.
Dive Charters: Scuba divers engaged in fishing or lobstering must have an individual saltwater fishing license and all necessary permits if the vessel they are on does not have the required vessel license.
What the FWC saltwater charter license authorizes:
- The vessel license holder is to carry up to the number of fishing passengers specified on the license
- The number of customers specified on the FWC vessel license to take, attempt to take, or possess a limit of saltwater fish or organisms for noncommercial purposes without purchasing a recreational saltwater fishing license
- A person who holds the charter captain license does not need to purchase his recreational saltwater fishing license to fish recreationally from a vessel. He may use his charter captain because it's tied to him. This does not apply to a charter boat/vessel license
What the FWC saltwater charter license does not authorize:
- Harvest in commercial quantities or the sale of fish
- Passengers (whether licensed, not licensed or exempt from licensure) more than the number specified on the FWC vessel license to take, attempt to take, or possess a limit of saltwater fish or organisms (even if licensed by the USCG to carry more paying passengers)
- The captain and crew taking, attempting to take, or possessing a limit of fish or organisms under the vessel license
- Freshwater fishing guides
For more information, please visit Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Authorizes the holder to take or attempt to take furbearing animals (including raccoon, opossum, skunk, nutria, beaver, coyote, bobcat, and otter) with a live trap or snare and to sell furbearers' hides and meat to a licensed fur and hide dealer. Further authorizes the holder of a recreational hunting license to take and possess furbearers or their parts for commercial purposes and to sell such animals. Required of anyone except residents aged 65 or older. License fees:
- Annual Resident: $26.50
- Annual Non-Resident: $26.50
Please see the current Florida Hunting Season Dates and Bag Limits for more information.
A furbearer trapping license is not required for wild hogs since they aren't considered game animals. Landowner permission is required to hunt or trap wild hogs. A Feral Swine Dealer Permit issued by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (1-850-410-0900) is required to transport live wild hogs.
- Licenses and permits are required to help or assist in the take. Someone who is passively participating (setting decoys, calling birds or baiting hooks), whether actively fishing or hunting or not, must have a license and appropriate permits
- A license is required to attempt to catch fish. You need a fishing license if you cast a line or catch and release
- A saltwater fishing license is required to attempt to take any native or non-native marine organisms, such as crabs, lobsters and marine plants
- Licenses and permits are required to help or assist in the take. Someone who is passively participating (setting decoys, calling birds or baiting hooks), whether actively fishing or hunting, must have a license and appropriate permits
- People listed on the National Saltwater Angler Registry are required to have a Florida recreational fishing license unless exempt as listed below
Pursuant to Florida Statute 379.353, the following individuals are EXEMPT from recreational hunting, freshwater fishing, or saltwater fishing licenses, as well as Florida waterfowl, migratory bird, deer, turkey, snook, spiny lobster, archery, crossbow, muzzleloading and management area permit requirements (unless noted, these exemptions do not apply to federal duck stamp requirements):
- Youth under 16 years of age (also exempt from federal duck stamp requirements)
- Resident seniors age 65 or older with proof of age or residency (such as a valid Florida driver's license or identification card) or possessing an optional Resident 65+ Hunt/Fish Certificate (available at no cost online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or at our public service office)
- Freshwater fishing or hunting in your County of residence on your homestead (or the homestead of your spouse or minor child), or if you are a minor child freshwater fishing or hunting on the homestead of your parent
- Florida residents certified as totally and permanently disabled who possess a Florida Resident Disabled Person's Hunting and Fishing License
- Florida residents who are members of the Armed Forces of the United States not stationed in this state and are home on leave for 30 days or less upon submission of orders
- Those hunting for wild hog on private land
- Individuals who are observing or filming someone else who is fishing or hunting and who are not assisting (baiting hooks, reeling, setting decoys, calling birds, etc.) in the take in any way
- Disabled veterans or active or reserve duty military service members and their immediate family members and assistants participating in a permitted outdoor recreational event for which the Commission has issued a Military/Disabled Veteran Event License Exemption Permit to the event organizer
- Customers or patrons (residents and non-residents) hunting on a hunting preserve that has a Blanket Hunt Preserve License are exempt from individual license requirements of a hunting license, deer permit, Florida waterfowl permit, archery season permit, crossbow season permit, muzzleloading gun season permit and/or turkey permit (pursuant to Florida Statute 379.3712)
In addition, the following are exempt from a furbearer Trapping License:
- Resident seniors age 65 or older with proof of age or residency (such as a valid Florida driver's license or identification card) or possessing an optional Resident 65+ Hunt/Fish Certificate (available at no cost online at GoOutdoorsFlorida.com or at County tax collectors' offices)
In addition, the following are exempt from a freshwater fishing license:
- Florida residents are accepted as a client for developmental disabilities services by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. The agency must furnish proof to such clients
- Those fishing in a fishpond of 20 acres or less, which is located entirely within the private property of its owner. A fishpond is an artificial pond constructed for the primary purpose of fishing, entirely within the owner's property lines and with no surface water connection to public waters
- Individuals fishing in a fish pond of 20 acres or more, whose owner has purchased a fish pond license at a fee of $3 per surface acre
- Individuals who possess a Resident Freshwater Commercial Fishing License
- Those fishing in the St. Mary's River or Lake Seminole (but not including tributary creeks in Florida) and have a valid Georgia fishing license
- Those freshwater fishing during free freshwater fishing days
- Florida residents fishing with live or natural bait, using poles or lines not equipped with a fishing-line-retrieval mechanism, and fishing for noncommercial purposes in their home County (does not include fish management areas within the home County)
In addition, the following are exempt from a saltwater fishing license and snook or spiny lobster permits:
- Florida residents are accepted as a client for developmental disabilities services by the Agency for Persons with Disabilities. The agency must provide proof to such clients
- Individuals who are saltwater fishing from a for-hire vessel (guide, charter, or party boat) that have a valid charter license
- Those saltwater fishing from a vessel whose operator has a valid recreational saltwater vessel license issued in the name of the operator of the vessel
- Those saltwater fishing during a free saltwater fishing day
- Individuals saltwater fishing from a pier with a valid saltwater pier license
- Individuals who hold a valid saltwater products license or FWC charter captain license (does not apply to charter boat license or U.S. Coast Guard license or to the crew operating under any charter license or Vessel or Individual Crew SPL)
- Florida residents who are fishing for mullet in freshwater who hold valid Florida resident freshwater fishing license
- Florida resident's saltwater fishing from land or a structure fixed to land who have been determined eligible for the food stamp, temporary cash assistance, or Medicaid Program by the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Proof of identification and a benefit issuance or program identification card issued by DCF or the Agency for Health Care Administration must be in possession when fishing. A license is required when fishing from a vessel, swimming, or diving, and this exemption does not apply to freshwater fishing
- Florida residents who are saltwater fishing with live or natural bait, using poles or lines not equipped with a fishing-line-retrieval mechanism, for noncommercial purposes in their home County (does not include fish management areas within the home County)