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any thoughts on Aucilla in archery?

deerflydeerfly Posts: 818 Officer
Looks like I may be near there this weekend or next, never set foot in the place before. I see the majority of it is open to dog hunting during general gun, which in and of itself doesn't bother me, I hunted with dogs for a lot of years growing up in S. Fl and regularly hunt the dog area in Chazz to this day. Since it's still archery in there though, I'm just wondering how hard the dog section gets hit (no harvest data for this WMA) and whether I should focus on the still hunt areas instead. I may only get a day or two to romp around anyway, so I'll probably just still hunt along the river and creeks hoping to spot some hogs. Not really enough time for any serious deer hunting. Any thoughts appreciated...
"impossibility cannot be concluded from a sample of failed efforts" - Edsger W. Dijkstra

Replies

  • binellishtrbinellishtr Posts: 8,797 Admiral
    great place, hope U find what your looking for.
  • huntmstrhuntmstr Posts: 6,290 Admiral
    Great area. Killed many deer in there over the decades. Look for dry islands out in the western sloughs around Hells Half Acre or small, isolated bay heads in Goose Pasture. Productive area also south of Grade 17 between Hosford Branch and Grade 15. Good luck! You may want to take hip waders or even breathable chest waders.
    Bushnell, Primos and Final Approach Pro Staff. Proud member of the Fab Five, Big Leaugers and Bobble Head 4.

    I had you pissed off at hello.
  • deerflydeerfly Posts: 818 Officer
    awesome, like I said, won't have enough time for any serious deer hunting, but I'll be happy if one crosses my path while still hunting. Depending on how things go and what I see I might dedicate a longer trip to hunt it before archery closes and get more serious about a deer stand setup then. Otherwise this will more like a scouting mission with high hopes for a shot at something to break a sweat dragging out, but will be content to whack a few squirrels with my longbow.

    Wader point well taken, but I grew up hunting the Everglades where slogging through knee high water or deeper getting to a and from a stand was the norm. After so many years of this, unless it's brutally cold I don't bother with waders at all anymore and just wear cheap hiking sneakers from wally world and throw them out at the end of the season. That way I'm traveling light on my feet, can feel the ground when I need to be quiet and can wade as deep as I need to go without concern for filling boots or waders, etc. I buy a bulk pack of athletic socks or two each season as well and usually just throw the pair away or burn'em in the fire at the end of each day. Not worth trying to clean the mud and muck out of them anyway, just grab a fresh pair and go. I'll have another set of dry pants and shirt for the next day too. Very simple system for dealing with the water. :)
    "impossibility cannot be concluded from a sample of failed efforts" - Edsger W. Dijkstra
  • This is a Hunter that knows the Glades Swamps here.
    Forget Waders if it 's warm out. You'll sweat to death wearin them anyways. I wear Nam Combat type boots with the Drain holes bored out oversize...1/2 Paddle bitt.
    I'd ride the dirt roads and hunt the fresh sign right know. Deer patterns are changing and oaks are dropping pretty good.
    You ain't coming back next weekend...burn the fresh sign..
    Killin and Grillin :grin
  • huntmstrhuntmstr Posts: 6,290 Admiral
    I suggested the waders in Aucilla for two reasons, cold spring water in Wacissa River and scent control with the breathables walking in and out of the stand location. A good pair of breathables are comfortable, easy to walk in and don't make you sweat like neoprene or vinyl waders do. Long sits on stand with a wet **** and wet feet are no fun, especially when the temperatures this weekend are a low of 60 and a high of 71 (and it will be cooler and damp in the bottoms.)
    Bushnell, Primos and Final Approach Pro Staff. Proud member of the Fab Five, Big Leaugers and Bobble Head 4.

    I had you pissed off at hello.
  • deerflydeerfly Posts: 818 Officer
    This is a Hunter that knows the Glades Swamps here.
    Forget Waders if it 's warm out. You'll sweat to death wearin them anyways. I wear Nam Combat type boots with the Drain holes bored out oversize...1/2 Paddle bitt.
    I'd ride the dirt roads and hunt the fresh sign right know. Deer patterns are changing and oaks are dropping pretty good.
    You ain't coming back next weekend...burn the fresh sign..

    yeah, same here, hunted all over hell and back down there from about 69-91. I'm an hour or so N of Tampa these days and there's still plenty of places around these parts to end up balls deep in one wrong step. Ended up waist deep in Goethe this weekend cutting through a cypress head. The nam boots are a great idea, definitely better ankle support and foot protection over my cheap sneakers. We have an army surplus in town too, may need to check those out.

    I agree with your strategy too and huntmstr pretty well narrowed down the places to look. I should be in good shape unless someone wants to share lat/lon's of existing deer stands. :)
    "impossibility cannot be concluded from a sample of failed efforts" - Edsger W. Dijkstra
  • deerflydeerfly Posts: 818 Officer
    huntmstr wrote: »
    I suggested the waders in Aucilla for two reasons, cold spring water in Wacissa River and scent control with the breathables walking in and out of the stand location. A good pair of breathables are comfortable, easy to walk in and don't make you sweat like neoprene or vinyl waders do. Long sits on stand with a wet **** and wet feet are no fun, especially when the temperatures this weekend are a low of 60 and a high of 71 (and it will be cooler and damp in the bottoms.)

    If I had a stand setup already I'd be a little more in tune with your advice. I do try to wear knee high rubber boots going to and from deer stands and usually take great pains to have multiple routes to go in and out too so I minimize polluting the area I expect the deer to be. Just not at that level of preparedness for this trip.

    I hadn't considered spring water temperatures though. I do have a pair of very packable stocking foot hip waders I used on two Alaska float hunts that may be the ticket based on what you're saying though, I can bring'em along no problem. As you can see they stuff right into the wading boot's or a fanny pack. They're still pretty **** hot in these climates though, that water would have to be pretty cold for me to want to use them.

    hunting2005003.jpg

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    "impossibility cannot be concluded from a sample of failed efforts" - Edsger W. Dijkstra
  • huntmstrhuntmstr Posts: 6,290 Admiral
    Well good luck with whatever you decide. I spent many a shivering sits on stands after walking butt deep in those swamps and creeks. There are some dandy deer in there and the dog's won't be running yet so it should be a peaceful hunt.

    Word of advice, make sure you don't leave anything you don't want stolen in plain view inside the truck. The last few years have seen an increase in theft and vandalism out there as the meth problem has spread out that way pretty bad.
    Bushnell, Primos and Final Approach Pro Staff. Proud member of the Fab Five, Big Leaugers and Bobble Head 4.

    I had you pissed off at hello.
  • deerflydeerfly Posts: 818 Officer
    np, I get what you're saying on the cold thing and will throw the hip waders in the truck, but not going to worry too much about it on the first foray in there.

    Didn't know about the meth heads tho and glad you mentioned that. I'm not particularly paranoid about that sort of stuff, but being alone I will be sure to pack an equalizer. Also, has me wondering whether I'd want to camp at Goose Pasture too. Probably see how many other hunters are camped there, worst case I set up at Rocky's outside of Perry and commute a bit farther.
    "impossibility cannot be concluded from a sample of failed efforts" - Edsger W. Dijkstra
  • huntmstrhuntmstr Posts: 6,290 Admiral
    There's a nice public camp at Newport too. I have some lots behind Outzs with our campers on it. But I'll be elsewhere this weekend.
    Bushnell, Primos and Final Approach Pro Staff. Proud member of the Fab Five, Big Leaugers and Bobble Head 4.

    I had you pissed off at hello.
  • Tanman34Tanman34 Posts: 59 Greenhorn
    Used to be a great place.... Hunted it for many years.
    Deer in archery... goose pasture rd cross the creek and hunt the first block on the right of oneal grade...take the second rd on the right go down about a 100 yards.... hunt the oaks on the right...That is a pretty block to drive around we call the rd along the river there the cottonwood rd...
    Hogs hunt the first two rds running north and south off 59 or off fire break 14 east side in the swamp....fire break 14 is usually not a good rd to drive north and south on. For some reason the hogs like to hang by the highway...
    hope that helps
  • Skunk ApeSkunk Ape Posts: 3,860 Captain
    I hunted it a lot back in the day, awesome area. Definitely worth bowhunting. Btw, I think I drove by your place the other day. I did a job right around the corner from you.
  • Skunk ApeSkunk Ape Posts: 3,860 Captain
    We use to camp at Newport. We'd just sleep under the pavilions, it was awesome. So many great memories up there. I killed my first archery buck and hog there.
  • deerflydeerfly Posts: 818 Officer
    Skunk Ape wrote: »
    I hunted it a lot back in the day, awesome area. Definitely worth bowhunting. Btw, I think I drove by your place the other day. I did a job right around the corner from you.

    shoulda' banged on the door bud! I was probably up at Aucilla anyways...

    as fer the trip, put nearly 8 miles on foot according to my gps, good looking area, huge, but has some real nice habit, what I was able to cover in a day and half anyway...

    I got soaked Fri afternoon with the front passing through, focused mainly off firebreak and the western sloughs. Swamps are very dry and the creeks that I was able to hit that wander through on the topo were mostly dry too. Anywhere there was a puddle a hog or two wallowed it. Saw 2 does cross firebreak about 1/4 mile before getting to 98 Fri evening and 3 others on goose pasture rd before the WMA entrance, rain didn't seem to bother them none.

    In general, lot's of acorns dropping and squirrels cutting everywhere. Probably too many places as far as hunting goes, just when I thought I found a good tree I'd walk 50-75 yards and find a few more trees dropping with as many or more acorns. Hard to pick a winner with so many choices. Have no idea how the boys do with dogs in there, but there was no shortage of fresh rubs during my wanders either, from little fir twigs to 3" dia saplings. Didn't see any scrapes though, probably a tad early for that or I just didn't happen across any. Saw 4 deer on the hoof Saturday, 3 does in the morning feeding parallel to me about 60-70 yds and another one walk about 40 yards from me about an hour before dark. No shot opportunities tho.

    This is one of the creek beds in western sloughs, roughly parallel with center latitude of firebreak road, maybe a tad south.


    bow is about 57" nock to nock


    Just about every cypress dome I managed to wander through looked like this


    Onliest negative was lot's of yahoo's riding the roads during prime time - first light and last light esp, had an atv race by on one of the roads closed to vehicles near where I was set up Sat afternoon about 6pm. Regular stream of trucks with Garth blaring on the radios rolling through goose pasture campground well beyond midnight too. Sounded mostly like drunk kids out having fun and stopping to use the jiffies. I know its public land and par for the course, but just mentioning it in the spirit of a first time review. :)

    Appreciate all the feedback too, maybe I'll have some hero shots next time...
    "impossibility cannot be concluded from a sample of failed efforts" - Edsger W. Dijkstra
  • AllenRAllenR Posts: 2,702 Captain
    I used to have a lease across from Aucilla. Literally had the corner piece at 59 and 98.I had one stand where I could see traffic making the corner right there. The rut was always right at Thanksgiving. Literally you needed to skip turkey dinner and be in the stand. We killed one that was 136" on turkey day, and my registry buck was the weekend before
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