You often hear people in government say, “We need to do more for the troops.” And while it’s uplifting to hear our elected officials say something that 99.9 percent of the public agrees with, it’s even better when they actually follow through and do something nice for the troops.
Such is the case in Florida where the state legislature along with the governor passed a bill during the 2013 legislative session that creates a recreational hunting and fishing licensing exception for disabled veterans, active and reserve duty military personnel, immediate family members and assistants during special events designed for the enjoyment or rehabilitation of participating military personnel and disabled vets.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission implemented the exemption last on Sept. 5.
“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,” FWC Chairman Richard Corbett said in a press release.
So, does this mean disabled vets and active military personnel don’t need hunting or fishing licenses if they go off on their own? No. The exemption only kicks in when they are participating in a special event, e.g. a Wounded Warriors-sponsored fishing trip or maybe an NRA organized hunt. Also, event organizers must apply for a permit before exempting their qualified participants.
As noted by Herald Tribune, the permit authorizes qualified event participants to hunt and fish without a recreational hunting, freshwater fishing or saltwater fishing license or a Florida waterfowl, migratory bird, deer, turkey, snook, spiny lobster, archery season, crossbow season, muzzleloading season permit or management area permit.
It does not authorize hunting or fishing without a license by anyone other than the qualified event participants who are directly participating the permitted event and as specified in the terms of the permit.
The permit exemption does not apply to tarpon tags, alligator trapping licenses or permits, the federal duck stamp or limited entry/quota hunts.
So, there you have it. Not a bad gesture by Gov. Rick Scott, the Florida Legislature and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Also, help get the word out. And if you’re planning a event for disabled veterans or active duty personnel, make sure you take advantage of the exemption. You can read more about it by checking out this application form or by visiting the FWC website.