Florida lifts ban on silencers for game hunting

by Jim Turner  |  published on January 8, 2015

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Florida hunters can now muffle their shots when hunting deer, gray squirrels, rabbits, wild turkeys, quail and crows.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission on Friday agreed, with little comment, to issue an order that immediately removes a prohibition on the use of noise-suppressors, or silencers, with rifles and pistols.

Florida becomes the 33rd state to allow the noise-suppressors for game hunting.

Florida had been the only state in the Southeast to have such a ban, which was lifted at the request of hunters, said Diane Eggeman, director of the agency’s Division of Hunting and Game Management.

Eggeman said silencers cut noise by about 30 decibels, and it’s a common misconception that such noise-suppressers eliminate sound from the weapon.

“You can hear it from a long way away,” Eggeman said. “It’s a significant noise.”

Florida already allows the use of suppressors on shotguns for game hunting. A suppressor can also be placed on a rifle or pistol when hunting on private lands for non-game wildlife, including hogs and armadillos.

During the commission meeting, held in Key Largo, Fish and Wildlife staff and a couple of hunters defended the proposal as a means to protect hunters’ hearing, lessen the impact of hunting on others and help while introducing people to the sport.

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