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citrus wma muzzle loader hunt

turkeymanturkeyman Posts: 95 Deckhand
I grew up hunting this wma in the 70's. Have a ton of memories there with my dad and brother. I moved away after graduating high school. I have moved back to north fl and put in for the draw hunt. I made the hunt and started reading and looking on topo maps and find that it has changed tremendously. It was nothing to see 15 plus deer in a hunt. From what I have read suggest that the deer population has really declined. Seems like there is a lot more traffic than just hunting now days.

My question to you all is: is it as bad as I have been reading? If any of you have been in the area pass along your thoughts. I plan on scouting the same areas that I hunted with my dad so I'm not asking for information on where the deer are. I guess I'm wanting info on what's happened over the last few years.
Thanks in advance


  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 13,168 AG
    well, it's fire training for the Forestry Service. the jeep clubs eff up the roads 12 month out of the year along with every **** wannabe redneck, horseback, hikers, and bikers are allowed 24/7/365..
    None of these yahoo's pay a user fee.

    Place is managed for the red cockaded woodpecker per lawsuit so eff deer and quail.

    Most of the jeep club claim to be doing a service by holding garbage runs but they are mostly cleaning up after them selves,
    I am glad to only be a bird hunter with bird dogs...being a shooter or dog handler or whatever other niche exists to separate appears to generate far too much about which to worry.
  • swampwalkerswampwalker Posts: 2,359 Captain
    Welcome to the forum. Search prior posts- there's a lot on Citrus. It's been used and is being abused. Luck man.
    The original - "Renaissance Redneck"
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Posts: 2,235 Captain
    First permanent job that I had after finishing forestry school was Area Forester of the Citrus Unit of WSF. That was in 1965, 52 years ago! At that time hunting the Citrus Area was closed and had been since the government took ownership of the land in the Depression Years of the early 1930's. When I was there (14 months total) the deer population far exceeded the carrying capacity of the land to support it. It was common--very common--to see herds of deer 10-20-30 in numbers running together just about anywhere on the Unit. The deer were all small as in 50-60 pounds for does and a little larger for bucks maybe, and it wasn't all that rare to find a diseased and dying or dead deer especially after a large area was control burned.

    Virtually all of the Unit was/is deep sandy soil, very poor in fertility and covered with small Turkey Oak. The best soils were in the Tillis Hill area and just south of highway 480, and the deer were a little healthier and larger there. Overall the carrying capacity of the land was probably about one deer to every 40 acres whereas on the average over most of Florida the carrying capacity will probably run about 1 to 20 acres. (There are areas in the Tallahassee Red Hills that will run about 1 to 8, 10 acres---Tall Timbers Research Station, Alavaya and River Ridge Plantations for example). [Then there's my one acre garden which will run about 8-10 deer every night that my electric fence isn't on :hairraiser]

    I have no idea what the status presently is of the Citrus Unit deer herd, but I really doubt if the total deer population on this part of the Forest should, health wise, exceed 1,200-1,400 deer over the 43,000+ - acres. The Richloam Area has much better soils and I would think the deer herd there is larger.
  • turkeymanturkeyman Posts: 95 Deckhand
    Thanks for the info, I'm still going to go. Wow sounds bad down there. I told my nephew i would take him. I like a good challenge, it seems like i have one.
    Thanks again folks
  • ckurusckurus Posts: 5 Greenhorn
    Shot a nice 9 pt out of there in 2010. I have heard that there was a lot of poaching going on in there in the past as it was not enforced by FWC. We don't hunt it every year but usually don't have an issue seeing deer. Not the 10-20 like it used to be but we still see them.
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