Deer Dog Hunting Dispute Goes To Florida Supreme Court

September 23, 2018

Some Northwest Florida residents have gone to the state Supreme Court in a legal battle aimed at reining in “deer dog” hunting on property around the Blackwater Wildlife Management Area.

The residents, who contend that “deer dog” hunting has infringed on their property rights and created a nuisance, filed a notice as a first step in asking the Supreme Court to take up the case, according to documents posted on the Supreme Court website.

The notice came after the 1st District Court of Appeal sided with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission and overturned a ruling by a Leon County circuit judge. The notice, as is common, does not detail the arguments that the residents will make at the Supreme Court.

“Deer dog” hunting, as the name implies, involves hunters using dogs to flush out deer and has long been allowed in the state’s Blackwater Wildlife Management Area. But the legal battle stems from hunters and dogs trespassing on adjoining private land. Property owners filed a lawsuit in 2016, seeking to prevent deer-dog hunting in the wildlife-management area.

The lawsuit included what is known as a “takings claim” — essentially arguing that the deer-dog problems were so serious that they were depriving the owners from enjoying their property. Also, the lawsuit sought an injunction to require the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to “abate” the nuisance on the private property.

Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers issued an injunction requiring the commission to abate the problem. But the commission took the dispute to the 1st District Court of Appeal, where a majority of a three-judge panel rejected the injunction and sent the case back for entry of summary judgment in favor of the commission on the takings and nuisance claims. Among other things, the appeals court said the injunction was overbroad and violated separation of powers.

“Here, the injunction is impossible for FWC (the commission) to comply with because it holds the FWC accountable for the actions of third parties over which the FWC has no control,” the appeals court ruled.

by The News Service of Florida


31 Responses to “Deer Dog Hunting Dispute Goes To Florida Supreme Court”

  1. charles h reid on February 4th, 2019 4:26 pm

    One solution for responsible dog hunters is to require licenses for all hunting dogs. The funds generate could be used to help hunters locate dogs. It would also give game wardens skin in the game. Licensing of dogs would discourage unsavory dog hunters but it would aide responsible dog hunters. Some dog hunters throw dogs out on property lines without any consideration for land owners.

  2. Tessy Gunderson on September 25th, 2018 6:20 pm

    I live in Blackwater, on private land, and on occasion dogs sometimes run across my property. Sometimes they even hang around for a little while. The dogs have never deprived me of my property or using my property anyway I choose. The other wildlife visit a lot more frequently, but that’s why I live here. I also have the right to FENCE any part of my property I don’t wish to share with my four legged neighbors. I would much rather the four legged visitors or the two legged ones anyday.

  3. BOBBY on September 24th, 2018 4:15 pm

    These people that are doing the complaining once said they did not want dog hunting stopped , now that we have spent thousands on fences and GPS Correction collars and all but completely stopped any dogs from getting on private land these same people have changed their minds , tells me they wanted it stopped to begain with , we have documented proof of the bogus complaints about homeowners telling FWC dogs crossed their land . Our GPS Maps shows the trails of the dogs and private land is marked on these units , as for ….Who needs dogs comments , we as a family dog hunt, still hunt , bow hunt , The sport of running hounds is world wide and been around for decades , Yes i agree land owners should have looked closer at their purchase of land , you move close to a sewer plant your going to smell ….:” Not sure what we can do anymore to satisfy some of these people , as for other comments above it’s crazy to think any dog hunter wants to risk a 400 dol fine and get anywhere near private property , we all watch our gps units and the dogs are trained to stop the race and return to the truck with a collar tone or some with a vibrate , Maybe we need to investigate more why some continue not wanting any hunters near their property including still hunters .

  4. LibbyLA on September 24th, 2018 1:53 pm

    This isn’t about dogs running on public land, where they absolutely have a right to run. This is about dogs trespassing on private property. Railroads, airports, race tracks, hog farms, and sewage plants are right there for a potential buyer to see, hear, and/or smell 24/7/365. Trespassing deer dogs are only there during dog-deer season. To compare trespassing dogs to those other things is ridiculous.

    People who bought property surrounded by public land did so thinking that there would be hunting going on around them, but not on their own land unless they were the ones hunting. The fact that some hunters think it’s no big deal if their dogs trespass on private property is an alien concept to landowners who expect to be able to use their property for their own purposes without interference from trespassing deer dogs.

    The deer belong to the public but that doesn’t mean the public (and their dogs) are entitled to go onto someone’s private land to get to the deer. Landowners and leaseholders have private property rights. They shouldn’t have to “suck it up” just because dog-deer hunters have hunted this way (or on this property) all their lives. If they wanted to hunt a piece of private property, they should have bought it when it was available.

    Fences don’t keep the dogs out.

  5. Grand Locust on September 24th, 2018 1:08 pm

    I have lived in rural agricultural areas most of my life. I have seen twenty sheep slaughtered by packs of dogs which run together. Farmers do not even think about shooting dogs which are running in a pack. The sad thing is a lot of family pets run with these feral packs and then after a couple of days return home with the owners not even aware of the dogs destructive behavior. I bird hunt with dogs and saw a grown man cry for an hour after a pellet from his shotgun caught his oldest dog. Owners have strict liability for animals they own. This means you control your animals. This is not about being anti hunting, it is about responsible hunting. In regard to Native Americans discussion being way out there, so is talking about dog hunting on the frontier and the Mayflower. I am tired of this socialist attitude that people can just disregard private property and that the mob will take away these folks property rights……move to Venezuela and dog hunt all you want on other people’s property.

  6. Tabby on September 24th, 2018 12:30 pm

    @John–Oh my gosh, I’m a woman and consider your comment sissified. That’s what’s wrong with this area. Yuppies and Yankee’s like you trying to take over. My husband and I very rarely go to a grocery store because we raise our own animals, vegetables, and hunt the rest. We don’t want to depend on society or the government for our survival.

  7. Nitty Gritty on September 24th, 2018 10:10 am

    Grand Locust,
    Comparing me buying property and native Americans to this situation is stupid and reaching way out there!!!!!!!! The hunters have tried to be civil and come up with answers to the problem, hell they even offer to put up fences for the owners. I live close to a railroad track and don’t really care for the noise but I’m not on a mission to shut the railroad down. I have what is very rare theses days and that’s common sense, I knew when buying my home I’d have to deal with the noise. And as far as shooting dogs go, only you can make that decision but be prepared for the consequences that goes along with it.

  8. Dog hunter on September 24th, 2018 8:49 am

    If they get there way I’m taking my dog a turning them out at the state capital and they can feed them

  9. elmerpsuggins on September 24th, 2018 8:23 am

    Hunters should have to take there chances just like the deer Hunters should get off there lazy butts and get in the woods and hunt dog hunting should banned state wide

  10. john on September 24th, 2018 7:49 am

    I have family that own land in Alabama 500 acres and all they do is still hunt, they pile up the deer every season. It seems to me that dog hunting was more justifiable back in a time when there were fewer people per square mile and you needed to do it for your very survival….in a time you didn’t have publix and Winn dixie or the corner General store. I hunt occasionally but don’t consider myself a hunter, I can’t think of one single reason why it should go on.

  11. Bobby on September 24th, 2018 7:26 am

    Dogs getting on private land has all but stopped . just look at the citations starting 6 years ago until now. We have put up fences around some properties and now have GPS and correction collars to prevent these dogs from crossing on to private property. Some land owners now have got so board that no more dogs get onto their land they are harassing still hunters . no one wants to pay a 400 sol fine for their dogs trespassing. We as our group have even gave up land close to private property even thou its legal just to help this situation. All I’m saying is look at the progress made the past 6 years with citations it has cost each dog hunter thousands to continue the sport we love . we may kill 1 in every 10 bucks we run with dogs if I wanted lots of meat I would still hunt to do so. My grandkids from 5 years old and up have my dogs loaded 530 every morning before I’m out of the bed . this is a family tradition and we work hard to keep it. All hunters must stand together because if they get their way stopping dog hunting still hunting is next

  12. John on September 24th, 2018 6:50 am

    Just because you have always done something a certain way doesn’t make it right or justify it….the area around Blackwater is way more populated than is was 200 years ago. I have been around that area around hunting season and it sounds like a war zone.

    As far as putting up fences I know a ladies fence that was destroyed by a chased deer that broke its neck and destroyed part of the fence.

  13. Aj on September 23rd, 2018 11:58 pm

    I got a buddy that lives in blackwater and still runs dogs. It’s stupid people trying to take away a family thing. There is land that we are only allowed to run dogs on. We can’t help that our dogs run on somebody’s property. They wanna complain about the dogs but not the trucks that are always there playing year round. I’m not complaining about the truck because I’m one of the guys that go and ride in the woods year round. All I’m saying is that if you don’t like the dogs running across your property then out a fence up on your property and they won’t run across your land

  14. Not that Kevin on September 23rd, 2018 9:14 pm

    @grand locust this Kevin will tell you your opening a can of worms that can’t be closed when talking about shooting a hunting dog. Most all dog hunters including myself look at our dogs as family, and I feel sorry for the land owner that reads your dumb comments and thinks there a good one. We love our hounds probably more than most families love their family pet. So please don’t be the dummy who points their gun at the wrong animal

  15. CW on September 23rd, 2018 8:40 pm

    @dog hunter

    I’m sure people who buy property next to a wildlife management area do it because they like to watch the wildlife themselves, and putting up a fence would hinder that. Seeing hunting dogs run across your land isn’t exactly what I call watching wildlife.

  16. Grand Locust on September 23rd, 2018 8:14 pm

    A simple solution is to put electronic collars on dogs, and require hunters seeking a permit to train dogs who are going to hunt the blackwater to avoid the property lines of the public property in the off season. You want to dog hunt, you will be required to train your dogs with staff setting up perimeter wire and flags which shocks dogs who cross the property lines. A simple additional GPS on the collar will allow staff to document violators and if a hunter’s dog crosses over to private property, they will be banned the rest of that hunting season. Over time the few who have been making it bad for those who follow the law will be eliminated. An additional small fee would be collected to maintain the collars and GPS and responsible hunting will be the rule, rather than the current exception.

  17. Hound lover on September 23rd, 2018 5:01 pm

    The state has implemented a lot of new rules for dog hunters requiring us to have tracking devices and shock collars on all of the dogs. These are used to one prove where the dogs have been as all the information is stored and two provide an active deterrent for the dogs aka the shock collar from being on private property. Last season the surrounding home owners conducted numerous false reports on dog hunters and in every call it was shown the dog hunters were either never near their property or the dogs never set foot on their property. In one case it was the state conducting a training excersise with law enforcement dogs. As for you saying it’s not real hunting, this type of hunting has been going on for generations, these are working animals and they love what they do. The still hunter making complaints about not being able to move around and having hunts ruined, you have multiple areas closed off to dog hunters to use. Any dogs that cross into still hunt sections must be retrieved, in order to retrieve you cannot carry any weapons into the still hunt section. Majority of the dog hunters out there have stopped hunting around the individuals involved in the lawsuits properties because of the false accusations and threat of physical harm to their animals and person. Not once last year did any of the dogs in my party cross onto private property that we have not already been given permission to be on because believe it or not some of the homeowners love hearing the dogs run as much as we do.

  18. Tabby on September 23rd, 2018 3:43 pm

    @Kevin–Either you haven’t been here for long or your ignorant to dog hunting. The folks who came here on the Mayflower used dogs to hunt. The Indians who were here before them used dogs to hunt. If your not talking about that but this area specifically, my people dog hunted on Blackwater before it was Blackwater. So what are you saying ?

  19. Fl_girl on September 23rd, 2018 3:35 pm

    My understanding for the black water land, it was donated to the state, with the stipulation that it had to remain open to the public for hunting, fishing and camping. If people purchased land in the middle of the forest (as I did) they were provided notification of the public land surrounding them. They knew when they purchased the property of the situation surrounding their selected property. They chose knowing to purchase this land. They now need to either take measures to ensure animals don’t run on to their property. Build a wall, fence or what ever you deem necessary but don’t sue in an attempt to remove rights of others. Your right is to your land only, so protect your land. Don’t enfringe on others.

  20. David Huie Green on September 23rd, 2018 3:34 pm

    “Its just like moving close to the airport and complaining about the noise.”

    What about moving close to the airport and a plane lands on your house? Just a thought.

    David for proper distinction

  21. Scout on September 23rd, 2018 2:48 pm

    Shooting at deer running away from dogs is not hunting, it’s target shooting at moving targets. People sitting in blinds/stands over a pile of corn or freshly planted fields aren’t really hunters either, again just shooters. True hunters spend months in the field scouting an area looking for sign and trying to predict the movement of the animals they want to harvest.

  22. kevin on September 23rd, 2018 1:39 pm

    them dog hunters bother more than them who live there. still hunters cant get around sometimes for all the dog trucks out on the roads and good luck hunting an area next to the dog area, them deer run out for the noise and dogs that get out. you cant get to where you want to hunt cause they only keep up the roads for the dog hunters. and dog hunters work for the forestry department and only keep up the dog hunt area roads. they are dangerous driving all over the roads speeding. I guarantee us still hunters were there way before dog hunters ever came around

  23. Idea on September 23rd, 2018 11:57 am

    Good fences make great neighbors

  24. Dog hunter on September 23rd, 2018 11:45 am

    We’ve done everything we can to appease these people. Offered to put up fences, no they don’t want fences they want signs. Well I can’t teach my dogs to read. It’s not all of us that are a problem, it’s a few that don’t care about if dog hunting continues to be legal or not. It is a family thing for us, been going on for generations and my kids absolutely love it. I can’t imagine having to tell them they can no longer do the thing they love because of a few idiots who can’t behave and some people who are bitter about dog hunting 3 months out of the year. The dog hunting/still hunting debate is also ridiculous, it’s a matter of preference. No I don’t NEED dogs to hunt, but I love to hear them run, I love my dogs, it’s the joy of the sport not necessarily of the kill.

  25. Grand Locust on September 23rd, 2018 11:32 am

    My father always had the owner of the land we hunted permission. The idea that I have a right to trespass on folk’s property is totally foreign to the way I was taught to hunt. It is hilarious to me the illogical attempts to connect liberty with trespassing on private property. They are criminals, and in some parts of this country those dogs would be shot as people do not even bother with the courts. I support legal hunting. Trespassing onto private property without permission is a crime. The owners are right, and the courts will agree…….the state needs to make sure when permitting hunting in the Blackwater that folks follow the law and respect the rights of people’s property rights protected under the fifth and fourteenth amendment. Nitty Gritty when you closed on your property did you give a open invitation to Native Americans to move into your house? Jake, your arguments are neither legal or logical and this has NOTHING to do with taking rights away from hunters, but everything to do with protecting property rights. Can I bring my dog over to your house and watch football games this afternoon without your permission? What you want to restrict my freedom? I want to watch the Green Bay game, and my dog likes spare ribs….see you this afternoon.

  26. dog lover on September 23rd, 2018 11:10 am

    hunting dogs have been around for years and years and now people want to complain about them.they should have never moved there if they knew hunting was alound there.thats like people buy houses built on swamp land and complaim abouy alligators coming in their yard.that what hunting dogs do is hunt deer racoons rabbits etc.its a hobby for good people to have fun and put food on the table.dogs dont kill the deer they just run them.deer gets over populated and people hit them with cars then people complain to many deer.alot of people eat deer and that puts food on the table for alot of families.people need to cry about something else.most deer hunters are just good ole people where families get together and have fun.

  27. Jake Gibbs on September 23rd, 2018 10:12 am

    Property rights seem to be at the center of this issue. I can understand how these people who purchased property in the middle of an active, thriving, enjoyable, beautiful Wildlife Management Area may feel infringed upon. However, if I understand law correctly, “game” (deer, racoons, turkeys, etc…) are property of the State. The State established a Commission that generally has the charge of employing professional managers who manage the “game” owned by the State for the benefit of the residents of the State (or non-residents, as the case may be). That management takes place whether “game” are on public or private lands and is funded largely through fees for licenses, firearms, ammunition (See The Pittman-Robertson Act) and are not funded by those who freely choose not to purchase a hunting license, not to purchase a firearm or not to purchase ammunition. All this being said, these folks in the middle of a Wildlife Management Area who feel infringed upon by another exercising their right to legally hunt with their method of choice should take steps to prevent the “game” from entering their private property and end the potential for dogs to cross their property chasing “game” which again, is property of the State (State = All of us).
    This is yet another example of someone who has a private problem that is seeking to have the State solve it for them. Trouble is, when/if this is solved, it will result in another loss of freedom. “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin.

  28. Walker on September 23rd, 2018 10:10 am

    Hunting with dogs has been a way of life for years. People complain to much ……say if I move by a race track or a football field. I can not complain I knew what I signed up for if move by a football field you knew there gonna be games you knew it’s gonna be loud same way with this. People knew that they just purchased land in or by wildlife management area. If they don’t like dogs coming on there property put up fence.

  29. anne 1of2 on September 23rd, 2018 9:23 am

    Funny, I never once needed a dog to deer hunt. Separates the hunters from the hobby hunters.

  30. Carl on September 23rd, 2018 8:47 am

    I wonder who was first? Dog hunting or the residents? Its just like moving close to the airport and complaining about the noise.

  31. Nitty Gritty on September 23rd, 2018 7:54 am

    Them fellows been running dogs there way before people moved to the woods.
    Here’s a idea, if you don’t want dogs running through your yard once in a blue moon don’t move to the middle of public hunting ground….

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