FFWCC Updates – August 2012

Okeechobee man recognized as Hunter Safety Instructor of the Year

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) has named Donald Sellers of Okeechobee its 2011 “Volunteer Hunter Safety Instructor of the Year.” Each year, the FWC gives this award to the volunteer who significantly advances the cause of safe hunting through extraordinary service in training and education.

Sellers has been helping with hunter safety courses since 2001. In 2011, Sellers was the chief instructor for 23 courses in Okeechobee, Glades and Hendry counties. He also assisted with additional courses in Martin, St. Lucie and Hendry counties. Last year he certified nearly 600 students, and during the past two years he recruited 13 new instructors.

“Don is extremely enthusiastic and knowledgeable about hunting and hunter safety, and he enjoys sharing this knowledge with others,” said Diane Eggeman, director of the FWC’s Division of Hunting and Game Management. “He is one of the strongest advocates you could have for passing along the hunting tradition to the next generation.”

Throughout his life, Sellers has been recognized by a variety of organizations. Some of his awards include the Lifetime Service to Agriculture Award from Okeechobee County Farm/City Committee, the Palm Beach County Cooperative Extension Service Award for years of support to the Extension Program and an award from the Florida Lettuce Mosaic Committee for his outstanding leadership. He also served as chairman of the Lettuce Advisory Committee for 22 years.

Persons interested in learning how to become a volunteer hunter safety instructor can visit MyFWC.com/HunterSafety.

The state’s hunter safety course is required of anyone born after May 31, 1975, who wishes to obtain a Florida hunting license.


FWC wants to hear from anglers about saltwater fishing in Florida

If you’re a saltwater angler in Florida, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) researchers want to learn about your experiences and opinions through the new online Florida Saltwater Fishing Panel.

Panel members will be asked to complete one 10-to-15 minute Web-based survey per month for a one-year period. The surveys will focus on the angler’s last saltwater fishing trip in Florida during the previous month, and may also include questions about current or proposed fishing regulations, licenses, conservation of fish stocks and management effectiveness.

Survey data will be used to estimate the economic impact and value of saltwater fishing in Florida, to assess the importance of fish hatcheries, to estimate fishing effort and catch rates and to describe angler behavior. Data will also be taken into consideration by FWC during management and policymaking decisions.

Panel members will receive a coupon from West Marine for each monthly survey they complete and participants will also have access to monthly summary results. More than 200,000 anglers who provided their email addresses when they purchased their licenses have already received emails asking them to register for the panel. Those licensed anglers who have not received an email can sign up at www.fwcsaltwaterfshingpanel.com.

Deadline for participating in the September survey is August 20; new members will be accepted throughout the duration of the panel’s operation.

Participants must have Internet access, a current email address and either a valid Florida saltwater fishing license or Persons with Disabilities Resident Hunting and Fishing License. Exempt residents age 65 and older, are also eligible to participate.