Waterfowl Regulations and Permits
Gulf Islands National Seashore was established in 1971. The tremendous variety of habitats found on the seashore and its location in the Atlantic Flyway makes Gulf Islands National Seashore an important wintering area for many species of migratory birds. The Seashore is listed as a National Watchable Wildlife Area. The Seashore provides numerous recreational opportunities for Seashore visitors, among the most popular are camping, cast netting, fishing, picnicking, boating, birding, swimming, hiking, exploring the historic forts and walking on the beach.
Before your hunt
You must first obtain a hunting permit from the Seashore. The permit is issued free of charge by the Chief Ranger and required for all hunters (including youth under 16 and those over 65). To apply, submit the information in the permit online via email, or in person at the Naval Live Oaks Visitor Center at 1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway, Gulf Breeze, Florida, 32563 or (850) 934-2600. Permits will be issued Monday through Friday 8:30 to 4:00 only. Before you apply for your permit, unless exempt, you must possess the following documents:
Confirmation number from your Migratory Bird Harvest Information Program (HIP) license.
After your hunt
As a requirement of the Seashore waterfowl hunting permit, each hunter is required to file a "Waterfowl Hunt and Harvest Report Form" with information from each hunt including the date, unit hunted, number and species of waterfowl harvested. Please report hunts during which no harvest occurred, - report zeros. Reports should be submitted individually for each member of a hunting party, but may be submitted or mailed or emailed together.
Gulf Islands National Seashore Hunting Regulations
Waterfowl hunting on Gulf Islands National Seashore is in accordance with all State and Federal Migratory Bird regulations. Hunters should consult these regulations before going afield. Seashore regulations are more restrictive and are listed below.
Open Season: Hunting is allowed during the open Waterfowl and Coot season(s) established for Florida, including the Youth Hunt Days. Dove hunting and hunting during the Special September Duck Season are not allowed within the Seashore boundaries. Visit www.MyFWC.com/duck for the annual waterfowl and coot season brochure, typically available in October. Only waterfowl with an open season established by the State of Florida may be taken.
Hunting Times:Shooting hours are from 30 minutes before sunrise, to sunset.
Hunting Areas: Hunting for waterfowl is permitted in two areas of the Seashore, up to the mean high water tide line only. The areas open to hunting are delineated on the maps in this brochure/permit. Hunting Area boundaries depicted along the shore are the approximate location of the mean high tide line. The Hunting Areas are open to both hunters and non-hunters during waterfowl hunting season. Note specific non-hunting areas listed below.
Perdido Key Hunting Area - Located in the waters of the Big Lagoon area of Perdido Key under the Seashore jurisdiction from the western boundary beginning ½-mile east of the terminus of the Johnson Beach Road and visitor facilities to the eastern end of Perdido Key .
Santa Rosa Hunting Area - Located in the waters of Santa Rosa Sound under the Seashore jurisdiction from the western Seashore boundary at Big Sabine Point to the eastern Seashore boundary near Navarre Beach. A 150-yard no hunting buffer shall be maintained west and east of the picnic area at Opal Beach.
Access: Hunting areas within the Seashore may be accessed by water only. Access to hunting areas from land is prohibited.
Boats may be launched outside the Seashore boundaries or from designated boat ramps within the Seashore. Boats used for hunting shall be allowed to travel within areas closed to hunting, but traveling with loaded guns shall be prohibited in these areas. No combustion engines may be operated over seagrass beds within the Seashore boundaries. Use of electric (trolling) motors, sails or paddles is allowed in these areas.
Seagrass Beds: Within seagrass beds, the use of internal combustion engines is prohibited and shall not be operated over seagrass beds within Seashore boundaries. For vessels with motors, the motor(s) must be turned off and tilted up so as to be out of the water, or removed from the transom or gunnels. Use of electric (trolling) motors, paddling, and poling is allowed in these areas.
Youth Hunting: is in accordance with State Law. Youth hunters must remain in sight and normal voice contact with a state permitted adult hunter, 18 years of age or older.
Bait and Wanton Waste: You may not hunt over bait or place any bait, or other food for wildlife within the Seashore boundaries. The wanton and willful waste of wildlife is prohibited.
Hunting Blinds:Hunting is permitted in temporary blinds (including boat blinds) located below the mean high water tide line. Blinds must be removed at the end of each hunt. Construction of permanent blinds and digging are prohibited.
All reused blind material, if brought in from outside the park, should be rinsed off-site with water prior to hunting, to help prevent bringing non-native pests into the Seashore.
Discard blind materials outside of the Seashore and properly dispose of in accordance with Federal, State, and local laws.
Littering is prohibited.
Hunting or Shooting: You may not shoot over any roadway. A minimum separation of 300 yards shall be required between hunting parties.
Personal Property: such as blinds, decoy, boats and other gear must be removed from the field daily.
Dogs: The use of retrieval dogs is encouraged. Dogs must remain under the control of the hunter at all times. Dogs are permitted to cross the beach to retrieve downed waterfowl to avoid wanton waste, but must remain under control of the owner. Dogs are strictly prohibited from pursuing or harassing wildlife other than downed waterfowl and are strictly forbidden from roaming the shorelines, beaches, or upland areas within the Seashore.
Camping: is prohibited.
Professional Hunting Guides: are required to obtain a Seashore/ NPS Commercial Use Authorization and have it in their possession while guiding.
Alcohol: The possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited while engaged in hunting activities. State laws on alcohol consumption shall be enforced.
Glass: Glass containers are not allowed on the Seashore.
Hunting Equipment and Techniques
Persons hunting waterfowl at the Seashore shall comply with all Federal and State waterfowl hunting regulations. A summary of Federal regulations that pertain to migratory bird hunting is available at www.myfwc.com/hunting/by-species/waterfowl/.
No persons shall take migratory game birds with a trap, snare, net, rifle, pistol, swivel gun, shotgun larger than 10 gauge, punt gun, battery gun, machinegun, fish hook, poison, drug, explosive, or stupefying substance.
No persons shall take migratory game birds with a shotgun of any description capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with one-piece filler, incapable of removal without disassembling the gun, so its total capacity does not exceed three shells.
No persons shall take migratory game birds from or by means, aid, or use of a sinkbox or any other type of low floating device, having a depression affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the surface of the water.
No persons shall take migratory game birds from or by means of any motorboat or other craft having a motor attached, or any sailboat, unless the motor has been completely shut off and/or the sails furled, and its progress there from has ceased.
Taking or attempting to take any game species in Florida with recorded game calls or sounds is prohibited (68A-12.002).
No persons shall take migratory game birds from or by means or aid of any motor driven land, water, or air conveyance, or any sailboat used for the purpose of or resulting in the concentrating, driving, rallying, or stirring up of any migratory bird.
No persons shall take migratory game birds from or by the aid of baiting, or on or over any baited area, where a person knows or reasonably should know that the area is or has been baited. Baiting means the direct or indirect placing, exposing, depositing, distributing, or scattering of salt, grain, or other feed that could serve as a lure or attraction for migratory game birds to, on, or over any areas where hunters are attempting to take them.
Non-toxic shot is required for waterfowl hunting. Possession of shells loaded with shot other than steel, bismuth/tin, tungsten/iron, or other shot approved by USFWS, is prohibited. A list of approved shot types can be found at:
A 150-yard no hunting buffer shall be maintained west and east of the picnic area at Opal Beach, Santa Rosa.
A ½-mile no hunting buffer shall be maintained east of the terminus of the Johnson Beach Road, Perdido Key .
The Seashore may execute protective (seasonal, temporary, or permanent) closure of areas to avoid impacts to protected species or protected species habitats. Any closures will be implemented prior to the opening of waterfowl hunting season, no later than November 15thannually.
Hunting or carrying loaded firearms shall be prohibited within areas posted as closed to hunting, posted as safety zones, or delineated as non-hunting areas.
Boats used for hunting shall be allowed to travel within areas closed to hunting, but traveling with loaded guns shall be prohibited in these areas.
Repeat Violations: of Seashore regulations may result in the loss of hunting privileges within the Seashore.
Any person may be ejected from the area, including the revocation of their annual Seashore hunting permit, for disorderly conduct, intoxication, failure to abide by the federal, state, or Seashore-specific hunting regulations, or any other conduct which endangers the public welfare.
In addition to the above restrictions, all activities within the Seashore are subject to the Seashore Superintendent's Compendium that provides designations, closures, permit requirements and other restrictions imposed under the discretionary authority of the Superintendent of the Gulf Islands National Seashore.
Did You Know?
The 2nd Regiment of Louisiana Native Guards trained on Ship Island and became the first black unit on April 9, 1863 on the Gulf Frontier. They met Confederate forces in battle during a raid on Pascagoula, MS.