Public land and Mormon properties

HuntingNoob308HuntingNoob308 OrlandoPosts: 1 Greenhorn
Hello all, I’m brand new here, and also brand new to hunting. Ive been lurking on this forum for a little while and I can’t help but notice that there is a lot of hate for public land/WMA’s and Mormon land here. While there are some mixed posts, for the most part I’m getting the vibe that as a brand new hunter I would pretty much be wasting my time trying my luck at my nearest WMA which would be Three Lakes, or even trying to get in on someone’s leased land. Am I right in assuming this? I also see posts about hunter numbers dwindling, which while is sad, as a new hunter myself is even more discouraging. I did go out to Three Lakes last year with a couple army buddies and we showed up the week after the dogs came through so I don’t think anyone saw anything there that entire week. I did see an absolute TON of orange shirts walking/driving around and sitting up in trees. That leads me to believe that I don’t have a chance in hell as a fresh hunter if there are a bunch of old timers out there year after year who know the land and even they are complaining about not getting anything. Do you old hunting vets think Three Lakes is a waste of time for a greenhorn? Slowly building some contacts down here that might have some private land I can get on but I’d like to hear some opinions from this forum as, for the most part, this seems to be a pretty knowledgeable and down to earth hunting forum. Thank you in advance for any replies and good luck out there

Replies

  • swampwalkerswampwalker Posts: 1,140 Officer
    Welcome to the hunting ranks and the forum! Remember some folks often use a forum to rant or let off steam - it's cathartic. Take complaints and rants for what they are. I love our WMAs. Each one is different and has a variety of users and positives & negatives. Three Lakes can be great if you learn it. Even after the dog hunts some find it productive.  You also need to learn the pulse of the area knowing when the odds are best. Public areas do see heavy use for the most part. Go on line and check some of the quota hunts that can be applied for. These can improve your chances. It's also good to know if you value the entire outdoor experience or just want to kill something quick and go home. Leases can be great as the numbers of users is a lot less. Take a look at previous posts and see what you think. Please note, just like a family some of us can be a little annoying or downright prickly making you want to slip out the backdoor when they arrive at the party. There are some very experienced and helpful members that will answer questions. The only questions to stay away from are, where do you hunt, where was that kill made and wher should I hunt? Whereas face to face someone might point you to a tree - they mist likely won't do it on an open forum. Don't give up, we need new hunters and proponents. The hunting challenge is awesome! Check the FWC website out, get a Hunter Safety Course and be safe!
    The original - "Renaissance Redneck"
  • spanglerspangler Posts: 336 Deckhand
    Welcome HuntingNoob308!  I am also new to hunting and I'm right there with you.  At first, it seems futile.

    Don't throw in the towel just yet though. Swampwalker has given you excellent advise.  I do think it's important to understand your intent.  What are you looking for from hunting?  Everyone is different and those differences can definitely dictate what direction you should go in.

    I personally am committed to WMAs.  At least for now, while I am learning.  But I also really like a challenge.  Florida is tough to hunt in general.  The WMAs are even tougher. 

    Although I became determined to start hunting 3 seasons ago, last season was really the only one I count.  Last season was when it really hit me, what I need to be doing to be successful on public lands in florida.  And the one where I put in the necessary time.  WMAs defintiely require a lot of boots on the ground. 

    Full disclosure, I haven't harvested yet.  I did pass on a pig that I could have taken but that was it. 

    To say I've enjoyed it regardless doesn't quite characterize it fairly for me.  Even though I'm not new to the woods, or outdoor adventures, my experiences hunting have been unparalleled.  They have been transformative.  I have developed a much deeper connection with nature through hunting that I ever could have imagined.  It has a way of breaking down your reality to just the basics.  That's probably good for a lot of people.

    I will tell you this.  If you are not looking for the outdoor experience or building woodsmanship skills, just forget about WMAs..

    Hope you hang in there regardless.  You're right about hunter numbers and it's something that concerns me too, just getting in to this.  Although I've also started hunting later in life than most, I hope to continue hunting for the rest of it.  It's become quite important to me.

    Good Luck!!!!



  • RiverRat22RiverRat22 Posts: 38 Greenhorn
    Great advise so far.  Don't forget get about other species with better odds of success.  Squirrel hunting on a WMA is a fun challenge that will teach you a lot.  Plus hardly anyone does it, so you can have the place to yourself.  Gator hunting has a high rate of success if you can draw a tag.
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 7,376 Admiral
    Complaining on the first post about a dog hunting approved WMA.. 63k acres and nobody saw a deer

    . I did go out to Three Lakes last year with a couple army buddies and we showed up the week after the dogs came through so I don’t think anyone saw anything there that entire week.
  • shempshemp Posts: 490 Deckhand
    PM sent
  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 22,199 AG
    Three Lakes is a very large and nice place.

    Most hunters never make it more than a mile past their truck.

    With 54,000 acres, that is A LOT OF AVAILABLE HUNTING LAND.

    Gotta be willing to walk, or ride a bike.
    133cbf2b243368b1ddb2f591a1988076--beach-posters-florida-travel.jpg
  • hunterjwhunterjw Posts: 319 Deckhand

      You will be fine on 3 lakes if you do your scouting. 

    You may find public land better than some private land.  Less expensive leases tend to be crowded and people have "grandfathered" spots leaving you the less favorable areas.  On public land you have the option to hunt where you want.  On the crowded WMA's one of the biggest factors to take into account aside from feeding & bedding areas and natural edges are people.  Deer will avoid the pressured areas which should in turn make your well scouted spots more prolific.

    Also hunt archery if you want to see deer in florida.  That is when the peak rut is.  Gun season is mostly nocturnal.  You will probably appreciate those dogs in the future as they can force a nocturnal deer to move.  Also most dog hunters are about the social aspect and enjoyment of the hunt and not just the social media strutting

    "He who hoots with the owls at night will not soar with the eagles at dawn"
    buckpic.jpg" tuna.jpg th_turkey1-1.jpg
  • PinmanPinman Posts: 1,281 Officer

    Welcome to the forum and most of all welcome to hunting! We definitely need more new hunters.

    Thank you for your service to all of us and our country Mr Noob (I hope you loose that moniker quickly).

    I stink at Deer hunting so don't take any advice about Deer hunting from me.  I do hunt public land almost exclusively for Ducks and Turkey and will tell you one of my first priorities when hunting public land is finding ways to get away from the masses. If you run with the crowds you are going to find...crowds.

    Get to know an area inside out. Go the extra mile even if its only 1/4 mile but a tough area to get to. Hunt small. Learn the area.

    Don't give up on a romp and stomp like 3 Lakes.  Myself and a friend, who had never shot a Turkey, were coming back from a private land hunt in Alabama and decided to stop for a quick AM hunt near there on a WMA. He shot his first Turkey that morning. But knowledge of the area is what made it happen.

    Good luck and keep at it!  Took me 4 years to get a first Turkey, public land WMA, but was so much more rewarding than having someone just sit me down and shooting one. I learned a lot along the way.

  • joekat46joekat46 Posts: 1,846 Captain
    Welcome to the forum.   I have a special feeling for Three Lakes since it is where I took my first Florida turkey back in 07.  The only secret was hunting on weekdays late in the season.  Never saw another hunter that morning. Pick your days to hunt, avoid weekends if possible and enjoy it.  Good luck.
  • FloridaODFloridaOD Posts: 3,008 Captain
    edited May 17 #11
    Join a Morman lease for much money and enjoy relative private space in a landscape in fact, from an environmental aspect, is poorly managed compared to what you will witness on public lands. And it is not certain some current Morman Hunt Lands might not in fact end up “ Developed”.....I would never enjoy or hunt land I knew was slated for development.
    I personally know a person/ Principal that was instrumental in the state purchase of Three Lakes.
    Welcome to Florida Hunting!
    Lucky You!...... 
    Beats many States once you grasp the details.
    After all, within the Continental United States, nothing can compare to The Land Of Flowers.
    Hunters are present yet relatively uncommon in Florida :wink
  • bgeorgebgeorge Plant City FLPosts: 1,292 Officer
    Keep in mind that some people will discourage others from hunting wma land so that it will have less pressure during their hunts.  I have hunted WMA's since the early 80's.  Took many seasons to figure it out.  Did not have coattails to hang on to.  In my peak years I once averaged one deer or pig for every two days in the WMA.  Pigs are easier to figure out as they leave much more obvious sign.  Today I have the option to hunt private land but still do more than most in a WMA.  Both my kids took their first animals on public land.  Buddies ragged on me for making them take the hard road.  They now appreciate other opportunities much more.  Took multiple turkeys this year and all off of WMA's.

    Bottom line is WMA's are great, especially if that is all you have.  If you can do it there you can do it anywhere.  As stated above learn a small section so intense that you will be able to notice little changes as animals use it.  Get an app that allows you to have satellite images that you can see where you are at in the woods.  Will make the learning of the land much easier as many outings can be mentally pieced together. A great spot can be on the road or 2 miles from it.  If you find one do not leave orange tape or a treestand to let others take note of where it is.  Sometimes 50 yards makes is the difference between seeing nothing and a hot spot. Also as stated, different times will make big differences in how many people are in the woods.  Take the time to go shoot somewhere that lets you fire freehand,  Opportunities in FL can be short windowed and game can disappear quick in the thick stuff.

    Good luck comes more frequently to those that work hard.

    The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones. Hopefully the next man is not dropping his stones on the mountain you are trying to move.
  • bowhunter4lifebowhunter4life Posts: 917 Officer
    Complaining on the first post about a dog hunting approved WMA.. 63k acres and nobody saw a deer

    . I did go out to Three Lakes last year with a couple army buddies and we showed up the week after the dogs came through so I don’t think anyone saw anything there that entire week.
    New hunter telling you what he saw, don’t think he was complaining about anything!...lighten up Francis!
  • bowhunter4lifebowhunter4life Posts: 917 Officer
    Lots of good information given already. Stay positive and do your homework and you can be successful on public land . Welcome to the forum!
  • GeetchGeetch Posts: 70 Greenhorn
    hunterjw said:

    Also hunt archery if you want to see deer in florida.  That is when the peak rut is.  

    Maybe where you hunt. 
  • hunterjwhunterjw Posts: 319 Deckhand
    Geetch said:
    hunterjw said:

    Also hunt archery if you want to see deer in florida.  That is when the peak rut is.  

    Maybe where you hunt. 

    If he is hunting 3 lakes archery is when his peak rut is.  Yes I understand W. Fl or NW Florida are different.
    "He who hoots with the owls at night will not soar with the eagles at dawn"
    buckpic.jpg" tuna.jpg th_turkey1-1.jpg
  • awayaway Posts: 228 Deckhand
    Complaining on the first post about a dog hunting approved WMA.. 63k acres and nobody saw a deer

    . I did go out to Three Lakes last year with a couple army buddies and we showed up the week after the dogs came through so I don’t think anyone saw anything there that entire week.
    That wasnt a complaint. Chill out
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 4,973 Captain
    I'm a Still Hunter and my Club is a Dog hunting Club with 450 members.
    I don't have a problem at all...
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 7,376 Admiral
    away said:
    Complaining on the first post about a dog hunting approved WMA.. 63k acres and nobody saw a deer

    . I did go out to Three Lakes last year with a couple army buddies and we showed up the week after the dogs came through so I don’t think anyone saw anything there that entire week.
    That wasnt a complaint. Chill out
    BS thats a direct complaint about dogs
  • CyclistCyclist Posts: 22,199 AG
    away said:
    Complaining on the first post about a dog hunting approved WMA.. 63k acres and nobody saw a deer

    . I did go out to Three Lakes last year with a couple army buddies and we showed up the week after the dogs came through so I don’t think anyone saw anything there that entire week.
    That wasnt a complaint. Chill out
    BS thats a direct complaint about dogs
    Dogs are great...it's the hunters with the dogs that suck... ;) Just kidding. Not all dog hunters suck...
    133cbf2b243368b1ddb2f591a1988076--beach-posters-florida-travel.jpg

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