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Posted: 9/1/2021 7:39:50 PM EDT
Hey guys new Florida resident here. I have a question or two about hunting here. Primarily deer but turkey and hogs may be interesting to me as well.

I’ve read the regulations and whatnot, all of that seems fairly straightforward. Especially compared to the convoluted mess that Colorado’s regs are. What I’m curious about is public land hunting.

Is there any public land worth hunting within a reasonable driving distance from the Keys? I don’t mind driving 5-8 hours for a long weekend fwiw.

TIA.

Link Posted: 9/1/2021 8:00:54 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2021 8:02:31 PM EDT by Bowhntr6pt]
Our regs are straight forward. Deer hunting regulations differ depending on what zone you are in.

Your best bet is to visit FWC's web site and determine which Wildlife Management Ares you are interested in... they all have their own downloadable/printable  map and specific regulations, not all WMA's have the same rules so read the pamphlet carefully.

As with just about any WMA, hunting pressures will be high but every year someone manages to get a big one. Then there is the safety issue of hunting public lands.

In addition, some of the WMA's are extremely difficult to navigate due to rivers, streams, and swamps. You better be on your A game with old school land navigation and DO NOT rely on GPS as tree canopy can easily interfere. At the Sheriff's Office, we get lots of lost hunter calls between Sept-Dec.

Last thing to mention, snakes and skeeters are a serious consideration. If you know what a Therma Cell is, get two of them. If not, google it, it IS your deep swamp friend.


WMA Search
Link Posted: 9/1/2021 8:32:39 PM EDT
In addition to open WMA's, which are generally open during the entire season, there are WMA's that are controlled by Quota Application. Most. if not all of the WMA's at least require a quota permit for the first NINE DAYS of the season opener, after those nine days, it's first come, first served.

There WMA's offer quota based hunting only by type (archery, muzzle loading, general gun) and have specific dates, generally 3 to 5 days and that's it. This was a specific area only has a certain amount of pressure, meaning these quota hunt only WMA's are extremely popular.

One of the best I know of is Half Moon in Sumter County. Of course it's too late now but you can be prepared to apply next year.

Quota Hunts
Link Posted: 9/1/2021 8:42:14 PM EDT
Great info thank you. Yeah I kinda planned on just getting to know an area this year and hunting next year.
Thanks for the heads up on navigation. I’m accustomed to hunting in western Colorado. Swamps and whatnot will be a new experience to say the least.
Link Posted: 9/1/2021 9:10:49 PM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By denverdan:
Thanks for the heads up on navigation. I’m accustomed to hunting in western Colorado. Swamps and whatnot will be a new experience to say the least.
View Quote


A compass and map are a must... deep swamp areas, thick palmetto flats, and even the hardwood high grounds all look the same. No terrain features to navigate off of because you simply can't see very far. Even using streams and rivers are problematic because of the flood zone. Using the sun is difficult because of canopy, overcast skies, or the sun is low on the horizon, or a combo of all three.

Some WMA's are gridded pretty good by a road system and make it easier... if you get "lost", you just press on until you pop out on the road, then back-track.

One thing to be aware of is old time Florida crackers who have been hunting certain areas think they own the WMA. On occasion we get calls where hunters are being harassed.

Ever hear of chiggers? AKA, red bugs? Ticks are a SERIOUS health concern as well. But you can defend against all that with spray/DEET. Do not under estimate the health hazards of ticks in Florida.

Hunting in Florida is just down right tough going until we get cooler weather... you will be soaking wet within 15 minutes of leaving your truck lol. Then when the waves of skeeters drain you of your blood supply and you have whelps the size of gold balls on your forehead....

I'll IM you some areas to explore but they are several hours north of you.
Link Posted: 9/1/2021 10:57:25 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2021 11:19:36 PM EDT by PR361]
Bowhunter hit in a lot of good points, Florida’s hunting lands are tiered, generally, the tougher the hunt is to draw, the less pressure it will have and higher game density.

Like western states, Florida awards points if you are unsuccessful, points increase your opportunities in following years. It’s important to apply each year, even if you aren’t going to hunt. Hunts can be turned back in for a point if you can’t go.

Also, you can still draw hunts right up until the day of the hunt. The afore mentioned turn in hunts are put up for draw and re-issued each Saturday. If you get a Managemt Stamp and establish an online I.D. with FWC, you can compete for re-issued hunts now, and until the hunts occur. Re-issues do not count in the point system, and you can apply for, and hold, as many as you want. No better way to scout than to hunt.

I have driven all the way to Hickory Hammock north of Lake Ochachobbee to have a crack at the monsters they were  pulling out of there. Heard good things about JW Corbett. The Big Cypress and Glades are extremely tough terrain and truly require specialized transportation to navigate. Not for a beginner.

Florida hunting is generally tree stand hunting, you might want to start looking at those. Very tough to sneak up on a deer on foot here, limited visibility and noisy walking. Setting up an ambush from an elevated platform is the way it’s done for the most part here. I’ve killed deer on the ground, but it’s rare.

Different stands work better in different situations. My go to is an aluminum climber. It’s about 25 lb, but very easy to climb with and comfortable  to sit in . Ladders are good for beginners, easy to set up, more of a pain to get in, especially if you are hunting deep woods. Some guys like hang ons and climbing sticks , I don’t. Get you and your scent up off the ground where you can see.

I have hunted Florida WMA’s for over 40 years, almost exclusively, my opportunities to hunt private land have been few and far between. I’ve hunted from Pensacola to Ochochobee.

I’ve killed a few deer too!

Ask away.
Link Posted: 9/1/2021 11:09:21 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/1/2021 11:13:14 PM EDT by PR361]
Weird double tap
Link Posted: 9/2/2021 12:48:42 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By PR361:
Bowhunter hit in a lot of good points, Florida’s hunting lands are tiered, generally, the tougher the hunt is to draw, the less pressure it will have and higher game density.

Like western states, Florida awards points if you are unsuccessful, points increase your opportunities in following years. It’s important to apply each year, even if you aren’t going to hunt. Hunts can be turned back in for a point if you can’t go.

Also, you can still draw hunts right up until the day of the hunt. The afore mentioned turn in hunts are put up for draw and re-issued each Saturday. If you get a Managemt Stamp and establish an online I.D. with FWC, you can compete for re-issued hunts now, and until the hunts occur. Re-issues do not count in the point system, and you can apply for, and hold, as many as you want. No better way to scout than to hunt.

I have driven all the way to Hickory Hammock north of Lake Ochachobbee to have a crack at the monsters they were  pulling out of there. Heard good things about JW Corbett. The Big Cypress and Glades are extremely tough terrain and truly require specialized transportation to navigate. Not for a beginner.

Florida hunting is generally tree stand hunting, you might want to start looking at those. Very tough to sneak up on a deer on foot here, limited visibility and noisy walking. Setting up an ambush from an elevated platform is the way it’s done for the most part here. I’ve killed deer on the ground, but it’s rare.

Different stands work better in different situations. My go to is an aluminum climber. It’s about 25 lb, but very easy to climb with and comfortable  to sit in . Ladders are good for beginners, easy to set up, more of a pain to get in, especially if you are hunting deep woods. Some guys like hang ons and climbing sticks , I don’t. Get you and your scent up off the ground where you can see.

I have hunted Florida WMA’s for over 40 years, almost exclusively, my opportunities to hunt private land have been few and far between. I’ve hunted from Pensacola to Ochochobee.

I’ve killed a few deer too!

Ask away.
View Quote


IIRC you got a nice 8 this past season...?
Link Posted: 9/2/2021 10:47:07 AM EDT
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Bowhntr6pt:


A compass and map are a must... deep swamp areas, thick palmetto flats, and even the hardwood high grounds all look the same. No terrain features to navigate off of because you simply can't see very far. Even using streams and rivers are problematic because of the flood zone. Using the sun is difficult because of canopy, overcast skies, or the sun is low on the horizon, or a combo of all three.

Some WMA's are gridded pretty good by a road system and make it easier... if you get "lost", you just press on until you pop out on the road, then back-track.

Ever hear of chiggers? AKA, red bugs? Ticks are a SERIOUS health concern as well. But you can defend against all that with spray/DEET. Do not under estimate the health hazards of ticks in Florida.

Hunting in Florida is just down right tough going until we get cooler weather... you will be soaking wet within 15 minutes of leaving your truck lol. Then when the waves of skeeters drain you of your blood supply and you have whelps the size of gold balls on your forehead....

I'll IM you some areas to explore but they are several hours north of you.
View Quote View All Quotes
View All Quotes
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Bowhntr6pt:


A compass and map are a must... deep swamp areas, thick palmetto flats, and even the hardwood high grounds all look the same. No terrain features to navigate off of because you simply can't see very far. Even using streams and rivers are problematic because of the flood zone. Using the sun is difficult because of canopy, overcast skies, or the sun is low on the horizon, or a combo of all three.

Some WMA's are gridded pretty good by a road system and make it easier... if you get "lost", you just press on until you pop out on the road, then back-track.

Ever hear of chiggers? AKA, red bugs? Ticks are a SERIOUS health concern as well. But you can defend against all that with spray/DEET. Do not under estimate the health hazards of ticks in Florida.

Hunting in Florida is just down right tough going until we get cooler weather... you will be soaking wet within 15 minutes of leaving your truck lol. Then when the waves of skeeters drain you of your blood supply and you have whelps the size of gold balls on your forehead....

I'll IM you some areas to explore but they are several hours north of you.


Even the pioneers had problems:
Cebe Tate took off into the woods to find a cow, any cow, to quiet his bride.

Armed with a shotgun and accompanied by his hunting dogs, he journeyed into the swamp in search of a cow. His dogs took off chasing a panther, and he lost his gun in the mud. Tate was lost in the swamp for seven days and nights. He went into the Dwarf Cypress stand to escape the relentless bugs, and fell asleep..

He awoke when bitten by a snake and ran blindly thru the swamp, delirious from the bite and from drinking the murky waters. Finally he came to a clearing near Carrabelle, living only long enough to murmur the words, "My name is Cebe Tate, and I just came through Hell!"

And ever since, our legendary and forbidden swamp has been called Tate's Hell.

Link Posted: 9/2/2021 5:14:46 PM EDT
Thanks for all the great tips/info dudes. @Bowhntr6pt I got your IM.  I’m  gonna try and take some long weekends and check some places out when it cools off a bit.
Link Posted: 9/2/2021 7:50:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/2/2021 7:51:21 PM EDT by PR361]
Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By Bowhntr6pt:


IIRC you got a nice 8 this past season...?
View Quote


Been a few years since I’ve killed a “ good one”.

I did get a small 8 at Croom year before last.

Haven’t done a lot of hunting since retiring from the FD in 2020, my new retail gig requires 40 hours a week and weekends, so I’ve been limited to an hour or two after work at nearby areas.

Been using my time off for repairs on my hands, maybe next year I’ll have time off to hunt!
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