I'm new here and obviously to hunting as well. I've been shooting since I was a wee girl but never had a chance to go hunting and I plan to change that.
As much as I'd love to go deer or hog hunting, I don't have a truck or a detached home to even ponder bringing home a buck or what have you. So I think focusing on small game makes sense.
With that in mind I looked up hunting dates in the FWC site and found something that confused me. For instance, if I look up rabbit, which seems like good game to start with, it says:
Year-round by all legal rifles, shotguns, air guns, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and pistols (D)
Daily bag limit: 12
Possession limit: 24
However when I go to just about any wildlife management brochure on the same site, these WMA's show specific dates for small game, including rabbits. I looked up the Green Swamp for instance, since it is close by, and here's what it says:General Gun Season:
December 2 through January 28.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Quota permit (if hunting during first 9
days) or daily quota permit, hunting license, management area permit, deer
permit (if hunting deer), migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds),
and state waterfowl permit and federal duck stamp (if hunting waterfowl).
Legal to Hunt - Deer with at least 1 antler having 3 or more points (each point 1-
inch or more in length) OR a main beam length of 10 inches or more, wild
hog, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit
, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote,
skunk, nutria, bobcat, otter and migratory birds in season.
Regulations Unique to General Gun Season - Youth less than 16 years of age may
harvest antlered deer with at least 1 antler 5 inches or more in length.Small Game Season:
February 3-4, 10-11, 17-18, 24-25 and March 3-4.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Daily quota permit, hunting license,
management area permit, migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds),
and state waterfowl permit and federal duck stamp (if hunting waterfowl).
Legal to Hunt - Wild hog, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit
, raccoon, opossum, armadillo,
beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria and migratory birds in season. Bobcat and otter
through February 25.
Regulations Unique to Small Game Season -
1. Only the State Road 471 check station will be open.
2. Hunting with centerfire rifles is prohibited.
So what is correct? Can you only hunt rabbits (or any other game) during the specific time listed in the individual WMA brochures or can you just use the dates given on the general hunting season dates of the FWC site?
I'm not asking to be told your secret spots or anything but do any of you have suggestions on what might be some good areas to look for small game....squirrels, rabbits, coyotes, bobcats, raccoons (for the fur), and maybe quail/duck?
As noted, I'm not exactly setup for hunting given I've got a passenger car and my main long guns for hunting would be a maverick 88 (with the 18.5" barrel) and an m&p 15-22. I know, not ideal but i'd like to use what I have and develop my skills rather than dropping money on a shiny hunting rifle, etc.
I've read some books on hunting and watched a couple of seasons of Steven Rinella's show (great show!).
Even if it ends up that I have to wait till late fall to actually do any hunting then I can at least do some scouting and learn about the areas you all suggest.
Thanks for reading and helping out a noob
The seasons are for private land. Each wma has its own separate seasons you must know and read about.
It's a major headache but hunting is fun and eating wild game is awesome.
Maybe squirrel hunting if you can get a shotgun or .22 rifle.
Any suggestions on some good WMA's in my neck of the woods to find smaller game like squirrels, rabbits, and coyotes?
I'm in Pinellas...
I think you're making the right decision starting with small game. Its a lot easier to find places to hunt where squirrels and rabbits are abundant than it is deer and hog.
I'm not familiar with Pinellas though. You may have to do some looking. You may find that you know people out in the suburbs or farmlands with squirrels they'd like thinned out. Air rifles are good choices for squirrel hunting in a back yard. They aren't firearms so they often get around restrictions on discharge in residential areas. You just need to practice hunting with a safe backdrop. Unless you're in the woods, don't aim up trees. Only aim so that the projectile has a good mound of dirt to catch it if you miss or it shoots thru the animal.
BTW, although squirrel have a defined season even on private land, rabbits do not. You can hunt rabbits year round in the daytime on private land. A friend with a garden might have a need for you to remove some rabbits.
To the poster this time of year is not a good time to harvest rabbits they tend to get wormy in the summer.
If you are in North Florida you will have more options as far as WMA are concerned. You can get around in a car on most of them. Central and South Florida not so much.
Any suggestions on better wma's for small game around central florida?
Not looking for shooting tips or anything of the sort, just what might be better zones to invest time.
The Ocala National Forest has a long small game season and its often underutilized. I wouldn't recommend any young person not familiar with the area to go out there alone until you get your bearings. There are some unsafe places out there due to some unsavory humans. However, in a group or once you know a partcular spot good, its a great place to camp and small game hunt.
Concerning eating rabbits this time of year, I too was raised to believe they aren't safe in the summer. In fact, all they really have in the summer are bot flies, which are ugly to see but harmless otherwise. I've eaten summer rabbit in recent times to no ill effect. I think the seriousness of the warnings is a leftover from the days when screwworms were common in the SE. Screwworms are tropical and would die after a frost.
Rabbits carry ticks which can have tularemia and are a vector for transmission. I have seen more than one human die from it, so not just bot flies.
Ticks can carry it for up to 2 years after exposure, some biting flies can spread it up to 14 days after exposure, and it was recently discovered that wild hogs are vectors of it. Between 2005-2015 there were 4 cases in Florida. It can be transmitted any time of the year. Cold doesn't kill it. You can just as easily catch it from a rabbit in January than July. You find it by checking the condition of the rabbit's liver.
Given all of that, its a very rare occurance and not something to fret over, any more than any other potential threat in the woods. It is not the source of the advice to not eat rabbits in the summer.
So you're more likely to get bit by a snake or be struck by lightning, and your more likely to die from lightening and about equally likely to die from the snake bite, than you are to contract or die from a rare disease like tularemia.
Always be vigilent and be careful skinning game. Most certainly its good to warn a new hunter about being careful with wild game diseases. Just don't let the minuscule threat otherwise keep you out of the woods.
Like said already the general rules are for private land, and each WMA has a separate set of rules.
Regarding summer rabbits..
I've read your comments here and online at other sites but guessing it probaby won't apply to me since I don't have access to private land and will be hunting on wma''s and their seasons which appear to be later in fall and early winter. Although it seems to not depend on temperature given internal body temperatures for mammals are all high.With that said I'll still be following the suggestion for checking each animal for signs of disease even when it's cold out!
Happy to see the 88 being used to take game. I like using what I have more than buying a new gun just for one specific thing.
Regarding ocala NF...I'm solo here in florida but sounds like I should do lots of scouting and look for drier, upland areas maybe with some oaks, cabbage palms, and other preferred squirrel food sources. Hope to not run into trouble but i guess one could do worse than go out there with my 12 gauge I suppose and letting family know of my expected plans and return.
Another tip if you are in an area with lots of squirrels keep an eye open for snakes, especially pygmys laying under fallen trees.
Don't go alone!!! Don't hunt where other people are. And be safe!!!
Good idea to let people know where you are. And even better to go with someone.
That shotgun can be used for anything in Florida.
Don't forget wingshooting. Dove and Ducks can be found all over. And Snipe are in any wetland area during Winter months. All theses are Migratory birds regulated by the Federal Government and are separate regulations.
Turkey hunting too. Its big game hunting during cooler Spring months - now my favorite hunting season.
Good luck and keep at it. Always something interesting in the outdoors even if you doing come home with meat. Have fun.
Was surprised to see FWC has info on these same tables today when looking up the link to the company - http://myfwc.com/fishing/freshwater/fishing-tips/solunar-theory/
One key to getting the most from these tables is following the advise the table gives one in the book - they are most accurate during a ConsisTenT weather cycle. Fronts coming in and stormy weather throw things way off - on those days I just go from sunrise to sunset.
Reading all the info in the little book was very enlightening for me plus using the book for many years gave me other insights into nature I would not have ever picked up otherwise (e.g. Owls hooting day or night signal the start and stop signs) - Yep- could be voodo but during consistent weather it happens most of the times I've double checked. - also won a $100 dollar bet over a debate on the topic one night around a campfire while out in Big Cypress Preserve.- So Funny.
Color me and quite a few dead deer, hogs and turkey killed during the cycles believers.