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Citrus

Ryan91027Ryan91027 Posts: 96 Deckhand
I drew third archery in citrus. Never been there, is the area good for bikes to get around with? Its a decent drive and I dont want to lug it up there if I cant even use it. What should I expect for terrain, from pictues online it seems like mostly pine and pretty dry compared to what im used to down in big c. 

Replies

  • Grove1Grove1 Posts: 73 Deckhand
    edited July 8 #2
    I small game hunt a little in Citrus. It will be really tough to deer hunt. There are a ton of people. All the roads are in grids so it is tough to get more than about a mile away from a road and you will have people all around you. Also, there are not a ton of bucks out there. If you didn't use a preference point, then have at it, but just keep your expectations extremely low. And if you don't scout a ton, you will have almost no success. There are a handful of decent spots but everyone knows where they are so those areas are generally packed.

    Most of Citrus is sandhills/pines (so not many hogs). It's a really pretty area but it has multiple, unlocked, ungated entrances so it gets lots of jeeps/hikers/horseback riders/wanderers and I imagine there is some poaching that goes on there. Like I said, I don't deer hunt it so I don't care what you do, but it is extremely crowded and yet very hard to get away from everyone. 

    Good luck!

    Edit: Yes, a bike will be fine, but because of all the roads, you generally aren't going to have a real long walk.

    Also, yes, it is generally dry.  A few wet places, but there is not much swamp there.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,486 Captain
    Citrus has a history:
    Decades ago after being closed to hunting for many years the FWC opened Citrus to hunting. The entire area was to be open to anyone who wished to hunt it; no quotas, no drawings, just show up & hunt. I scouted the area; deer were everywhere. Citrus is indeed mostly sandhills/pines. Thought sure they would restrict it to shot guns only; they did not. Decided it was too dangerous; I did not go.
    Citrus was to stay open until 500 deer were harvested. The open season began on a Saturday. By noon over 500 deer were taken; Citrus was closed for the remainder of the year. 
    Have not been back in years. Love to know what it's like now. Anyone know? 
  • swampdogswampdog Central FloridaPosts: 1,232 Officer
    Grove1 pretty much captured the current state of Citrus. We still go once in a while for “old times sake”...
  • Ryan91027Ryan91027 Posts: 96 Deckhand
    I drew it in phase 2, if I return it will I get my preference point back? I also got Green Swamp general gun so I wouldnt feel as bad returning the citrus.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,486 Captain
    Took a nice buck a couple of years after the 500+ harvest; had to really work for it. Presume it's even harder now. 
  • PinmanPinman Posts: 2,682 Captain
    Ryan91027 said:
    I drew it in phase 2, if I return it will I get my preference point back? I also got Green Swamp general gun so I wouldnt feel as bad returning the citrus.
    Preference points are only used in Phase 1.  A permit awarded in Phase 2 or after doesn't affect your Preference points. 
  • PinmanPinman Posts: 2,682 Captain
    harbison said:
    Took a nice buck a couple of years after the 500+ harvest; had to really work for it. Presume it's even harder now. 
    Good to see you around Bob!!
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,486 Captain
    Thanks!   Getting harder & harder to get around. I am determined to do the best I can for a long as I can. 
  • creekgeekcreekgeek Posts: 1,015 Officer
    citrus is a beautiful,  mostly upland area. Turkey oaks and pine flats. There is some fair elevation change which makes it different than a lot of Florida hunting. That being said, it's deer herd sucks. It has been horribly managed for at least the last 20 years. Large stands of old live oaks were destroyed to increase pine production. As mentioned in a prior post, access is wide open and law enforcement minimal IMHO. In the late 90s and 2000s there was a ridiculous poaching effort that decimated the deer...someone can probably find some old news articles..and I think they eventually caught some local kids who were out at night just shooting everytthey saw and leaving them. Up until the early 90s, even with 1000 people in camp you could take a night ride and see 50 deer without any trouble. But not long after that the deer disappeared, the fwc eliminated all doe harvesting during archery and the number of permits was cut. There is a reason that you don't have to put citrus into your picks for the first round of quotas. IF i sound a bit bitter, you know dammm well why. 
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,486 Captain
    "IF i sound a bit bitter, you know dammm well why."
    Absolutely! 
     
  • Ryan91027Ryan91027 Posts: 96 Deckhand
    creekgeek said:
    citrus is a beautiful,  mostly upland area. Turkey oaks and pine flats. There is some fair elevation change which makes it different than a lot of Florida hunting. That being said, it's deer herd sucks. It has been horribly managed for at least the last 20 years. Large stands of old live oaks were destroyed to increase pine production. As mentioned in a prior post, access is wide open and law enforcement minimal IMHO. In the late 90s and 2000s there was a ridiculous poaching effort that decimated the deer...someone can probably find some old news articles..and I think they eventually caught some local kids who were out at night just shooting everytthey saw and leaving them. Up until the early 90s, even with 1000 people in camp you could take a night ride and see 50 deer without any trouble. But not long after that the deer disappeared, the fwc eliminated all doe harvesting during archery and the number of permits was cut. There is a reason that you don't have to put citrus into your picks for the first round of quotas. IF i sound a bit bitter, you know dammm well why. 
    That sucks, I've heard that most of the places i have been looking to hunt in had similar declines. I wish I had been around before to see what it was like. Im worried about the conditon these areas will be in when I have to help the next generation.
  • Ryan91027Ryan91027 Posts: 96 Deckhand
    edited July 17 #13
    A bit off topic, but I didnt want to start a new thread. What is the difference between gs and gs west? I got a gs quota and I dont want to wander on to an area that I cant hunt in.
  • swampdogswampdog Central FloridaPosts: 1,232 Officer
    Stay on the East side of 471 and you’ll be good. Beautiful habitat and thick woods. I never could figure it out, but my brother has two really nice bucks from there. We did ok on hogs back in the day during archery. We didn’t hunt for hogs, but with a bow it’s good for your confidence to take a porker when the opportunity exist. Haven’t hunted it in ten yrs or so. 
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,486 Captain
    edited July 18 #15
    Love to hear what  Citrus is like today. 

    " I wish I had been around before to see what it was like. Im worried about the conditon these areas will be in when I have to help the next generation. "

    I was there!   Guys & Gals, you absolutely would not believe what Florida was like 60+ years ago. 
    OPEN hunting lands were everywhere. 
    In the late forties my hunting career was just starting. My favorite place was the future campus of the University of South Florida. The entire area was not developed; no houses, buildings, or even paved roads. Hundreds of acres completely open to hunting. 

    To say the rabbit & quail hunting was good would be a gross understatement:

    Then one day we saw it... You are now standing on the future campus of the University of South Florida. 
    Needless-to -say our un-developed hunting was over. 

    Anyone else remember hunting the USF area?  Please share! 

    "Im worried about the conditon these areas will be in when I have to help the next generation. "
    This is my great grand son & great grand daughter. What will 'these areas' or any area be like for them!


  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,597 AG
    edited July 18 #16
    Citrus is managed for two things:

    1. controlled burn training for Florida Forest Service.
    2. Red cockaded  woodpecker
    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.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,597 AG
    I'd love to see the permits cut even further.
    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.
  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,597 AG
    Bob, you don't remember when they shot all those deer in Citrus because of a fear that they were spreading disease to cows.
    I was told of that some 40 years ago by some of the old cattle folks here in Citrus county, shot every deer they saw and buried all of them.

    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.
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,486 Captain
    "Bob, you don't remember when they shot all those deer in Citrus because of a fear that they were spreading disease to cows."

    Know nothing of that. But I do know that was not the case with the Citrus WMA. 
  • Grove1Grove1 Posts: 73 Deckhand
    ANUMBER1 said:
    Citrus is managed for two things:

    1. controlled burn training for Florida Forest Service.
    2. Red cockaded  woodpecker
    I don't know anything about #2, but #1 is for sure accurate. Looks like a napalm practice range.
  • Sixth GenerationSixth Generation Posts: 403 Deckhand
    Harb,  30 years ago I used to hunt a spot just north of the USF golf course on Bruce B Downs.  Cypress creek I believe ran across the woods.  I was hunting on property I didnt own and didnt know who did...  It wasnt posted and I would walk in bowhunting from Eagles Point apartments.  There were a lot of deer and hogs.  I remember sitting behind a fallen live oak one time and right about dark a hog walked down the game trail that was so big I was afraid to shoot it with my bow...  I just let him walk right on by...  Back then I also had a friend who's grandmother owned a hayfield that was bordered by Citrus WMA.  Her place was off Stage Coach near road 13.  There was a sink hole in the middle of her field that had oaks growing around it.  I would park at the house and walk out to one of the round bales of hay and would stay about 100 yards from the sink hole.  Seemed to me every deer was bedding in that sink hole during hunting season, because every evening about 40 would walk out to start feeding.  That was the first place I ever took my wife in the woods.  She was a Plant City girl that didn't grow up hunting.  She saw me shoot a spike buck that night.  A few years later she said she wanted to learn how to shoot so she could go hunt on her own.  Got tired of me but is still putting up with me 27 years later...  She killed her first deer at my Uncle's place in Linconton, GA.  My Dad and brothers and I were out in the woods.  My Uncle stacked up a few square bales of hay behind his barn.  She was sitting in a lawn chair and had to put the tom cat down when the deer came out in the back field.  She shot her first doe and it dropped.  The next day I had her in a ladder stand up front.  I was about 200 yards away.  When she shot her second doe, she hit it a little high, breaking her back.  The doe started bawling and before I could get over there I heard another shot.  She had got down to finish her and after that I thought I had lost her to ever hunt again...  Needless to say, she is still going out and has killed a lot of deer.  There was nothing left of the front shoulders after that second shot from 5 feet...  she shoots my Dad's 1963 Sako Forrester .243 Win.  It is a tack driver and she knows how to use it.  That is why I still say yes maam!...
  • harbisonharbison Posts: 4,486 Captain
    Absolutely fantastic. Thanks so much for sharing. 
     "27 years later..."  Sir, you can be proud of that woman; she is a good one!

    "Harb,  30 years ago I used to hunt a spot just north of the USF golf course on Bruce B Downs.  Cypress creek I believe ran across the woods.  I was hunting on property I didnt own and didnt know who did...  It wasnt posted"
    Know exactly where you are talking about. Hunted there 60 years ago. 
    "That is why I still say yes maam!..."     Good choice. 
    My wife hunted with me the entire 39 years we were married. She harvested deer in Florida, Georgia, and Maine. But her favorite was turkey & hogs. She was really good at it!

    She is now doing her hunting in heaven.
    These are my great grand children:

    Even Delilah, my youngest granddaughter, is into hunting BIG time. 

    Thanks again for sharing. 
  • saltybumsaltybum Posts: 1,602 Captain
    This is what Citrus was like opening week end last year. Jerks all over the place,


  • ANUMBER1ANUMBER1 Posts: 11,597 AG
    Grove1 said:
    ANUMBER1 said:
    Citrus is managed for two things:

    1. controlled burn training for Florida Forest Service.
    2. Red cockaded  woodpecker
    I don't know anything about #2, but #1 is for sure accurate. Looks like a napalm practice range.
    top pic is trail 14, they have effed it up for sure.
    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.
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