Hunting Public land

hjbob284hjbob284 OrlandoPosts: 1 Greenhorn
Hello everyone, I am new to the forum but have been using the website as a non-member for a while. I just recently turned 16 years old and have grown up hunting and fishing. I am huge on gun safety and know how to handle myself in the woods, I have hunted by myself for a long time now on private land. We lost our lease and I love spending time in the woods, with a rifle in my hand or not. I am looking to spend a lot of time on a few local wma's . I was wondering if anyone had any advice or general knowledge on how I should get started? thank you.

Replies

  • spanglerspangler daBurgPosts: 614 Officer
    edited May 17 #2
    Hi hjbob284 and welcome!  I'm glad your not letting the loss of your lease stop you from enjoying hunting.  I think you'll enjoy WMAs and they'll surely make you a better, more skillful hunter!

    I'm no expert and others will chime in to give you good advice. This is what I have done and I think has worked well for me.  I would suggest you pick 2 WMAs.  One that is non-quota (aka romp-n-stomp) and one that you have to pull a permit to hunt.  Both should be within a reasonable driving distance from you.  Learn those 2 WMAs as well as you can.

    You want the non-quota, so that you can hunt at your convenience and as often as possible.  And you want a quota hunt because they are supposed to have a better success rate and quality due to limiting the pressure.  But you won't get to hunt it often.  Not nearly often enough.

    You're in a bit of a pinch for next season.  With public land in Florida, it's all about scouting.  Scout, scout, scout!!!  You can start now, but some will tell you that you should be wrapping things up.  IDK to be honest.  I'm going to keep scouting for at least another month.  When season comes around, you don't really want to be scouting until small game season.  During Archery/Muzzle/GenGun (exception maybe hog hunts or during gen gun when people stalk hogs), you will tick people off walking around.  And you don't want to get shot either..

    Be very careful!  There are definitely some people on public land that can be careless.  If you find yourself dragging/carrying something out, make sure you put your orange vest on!  And of course wear it while deer hunting during gun season as required by law.

    Good luck!  I think you will find hunting public land very rewarding. 
  • bgeorgebgeorge Plant City FLPosts: 1,371 Officer
    With a large area to choose to learn, think about where sign is easier to spot.  Tracks on a dirt road or plowed fire break are easier to see than in a palmetto field or limestone road.  Hog rootings are another easy place to see fresh tracks.  
    Deer and pigs do not shy from the water and I have seen plenty of fresh buck sign in thigh deep water.  

    You can always look to take advantage of others hard work.  Hang out at the check station and start to learn the people who regularly bring in game.  Then just follow them.  People leave easy to follow trails on heavy dew mornings.  

    Careless people are everywhere.  Probably less frequent on WMA than on the interstate.  Guy in orange vest was once shot off a bike at long distance from a color blind guy with iron sights who thought it was a buck running.  Pay attention to your surroundings.  
    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.
  • H20dadH20dad Posts: 845 Officer
    Do not hang out at the check station and hunt other hunters. That is unethical and is akin to cheating on your tests in school. Learn how to hunt and have some pride in your actions. Don’t learn to cheat off the hard work of others. 
  • bowhunter4lifebowhunter4life Posts: 958 Officer
    Hjbob, check recent post ( hunting public and Mormon properties) lots of good information there. I agree with H20 dad, rude thing to do following other hunters. Get out there and put boots on the ground and figure it out, you will feel much better about yourself when you figure it out yourself and are successful!....good luck!
  • FloridaODFloridaOD Posts: 3,035 Captain
    Hjbob- National Forest / WMA can be ideal if you are close enough to one.

    Hunters are present yet relatively uncommon in Florida :wink
  • PinmanPinman Posts: 1,304 Officer

    Yeah I don't agree with the follow others advice. Bgeorge is a good guy on the forum so surprised he suggested it.

    Blaze your own trail and get away from others. Pick an area that has sign and learn it. Hunt small. Too many go to an area with promising sign and if they don't see game immediately they move miles away. Learn the area that area.

  • bgeorgebgeorge Plant City FLPosts: 1,371 Officer
    Pinman said:

    Yeah I don't agree with the follow others advice. Bgeorge is a good guy on the forum so surprised he suggested it.

    Blaze your own trail and get away from others. Pick an area that has sign and learn it. Hunt small. Too many go to an area with promising sign and if they don't see game immediately they move miles away. Learn the area that area.

    Just have to throw something way out every so often. Seems to be the wave of the times for people to just want to take the benefit of other hard work.  Sometimes I wonder if people read half the stuff out here.

    Many of those successful people would be willing to talk a little while they are cleaning their game. Just try to refrain from asking for a spot. Ask what type of habitat they are hunting and what the game seems to be eating at the moment.

    Many successful hunters do a good job of not blazing a trail into their spots. I personally turn into a pig hunter once I get up a tree. Do not want others to notice an orange blob and want to investigate more.  You would be surprised how many people do try to hunt somewhere just because other people are.  At the same time on public land, one has to tolerate others wanting to be in the same place as others.  If I want exclusivity then I better buy the land and hope the neighbors are not hunting it while you are not there.  
    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.
  • FloridaODFloridaOD Posts: 3,035 Captain
    I have witnessed areas within Osceola National Forest during General Gun that are far less pressured than some area leases.
    Hunters are present yet relatively uncommon in Florida :wink
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 5,351 Admiral
    Big Cypress has about a Zillion Acres with nobody for miles.
    You 'll have to wade to get there and don't worry too much about dragging your kill out either..
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • H20dadH20dad Posts: 845 Officer
    Big Cypress has about a Zillion Acres with nobody for miles.
    You 'll have to wade to get there and don't worry too much about dragging your kill out either..
    Did they get a second buck in the addition unit last year?  30-40,000 acres  and one or two legal bucks. I certainly don’t worry about getting a kill out when I hunt there. 
  • Big MakBig Mak Posts: 1,636 Captain
    The only one still dragging deer outta da cypress regularly is my boy Down4dacount.
  • Turner River TerrorTurner River Terror Posts: 5,351 Admiral
    I did it for Years and killed a Buck every year..sometimes 2 , But boy you sure have to work for them out there.
    Every Big Cypress Buck is a Trophy..you earn them out there....
    Killin and Grillin :grin
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