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Joined: 11/29/2010
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New to Florida hunting

Looking for any helpful info on hunting in Florida. Was looking @ Croom, Green Swamp and Chassahowitzka WMA. Would like to see my 15 year old daughter get her 1st buck. Only been hunting a couple of years so any info would be greatly appreciated. Help!

ecubackpacker's picture
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Location: NC
Joined: 09/11/2009
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Welcome to Bgh! I don't have

Welcome to Bgh! Thumbs up

I don't have any info for you, but Jtapia, Alpine Archer and chrisp may be able to help when they get to this thread.

Good luck and good hunting. Thumbs up

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Joined: 11/29/2010
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thanks anyway

thanks anyway Thumbs up

Alpine_Archer's picture
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Location: Martin County NC
Joined: 08/10/2009
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I've hunted all those areas

I've hunted all those areas and can tell you from first hand experiance its gonna be a tough hunt no matter where you go. I've still yet to kill my first whitetail buck down here and I hunt harder then most folks I know. 

Croom has had some great bucks taken from there this year as well as green swamp. Chazz is overrun with @**holes but if you get far enough back into the swamp your likely to kill one. If you hunt greenswamp during the regular gun season your best bet would be to set up along the fence between greenswamp and richloam and wait for something to flush out. Dog hunters rule all three of those areas and can be quite a bit to deal with if your not custom to that style of hunting.

I stay clear of any dog hunters and choose not to hunt those places anymore because its too much of a hassle.

Florida is a tough hunt no matter where you go and your going to have to really do your homework and scout to find the bucks. Your best bet would be to wait for the spring time limited entry hunts and find a smaller less crowded area and start applying for them. There are some great youth hunts availbe also but will need to be put in for next spring.

I'm pretty sure I responded to your post on another forum but if you send me a PM I might be able to give you the low down on a few spots. Where are you guys at? and how far are you willing to travel?

Best of luck to you guys wherever you decide to hunt.

 

AA

Ca_Vermonster's picture
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I don't have any info on

I don't have any info on hunting in Florida, but I wanted to welcome you to BGH.  I commend you for getting your daughter out there, and wish you the best of luck in getting her on her first buck!

Keep us informed on how you do!

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Location: Florida,USA
Joined: 08/21/2003
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Welcome to BGH tkd

Welcome to BGH tkd hunter.

Alpine Archer has pretty much covered everything that you might need to know. Hunting in Florida public lands anywhere is tough.

I have never hunted down where you are at but as is anywhere in florida on public land you will find a ton of people  out in the woods with you. Trick I found that worked well for me is to go where nobody else will.....deep into the swamp as Alpine mentioned. the deer will retreat there as soon as people start shooting at them. They will then only move after dark but with a lot of wet, soggy scouting you can find islands that will hold deer on them, some being only 7 or 8 feet big. Find those and set up near by downwind from them and you'll stand a much better chance of seeing a deer move before it gets too dark.

 

A quick look at he 2009-2010 Harvest data shows over 21,000 hunters on the Green Swamp WMA, thats alot. There were over 9000 in Chassahowitzka WMA. Croom seems to be the best bet with a good hunter to deer kill ratio. http://myfwc.com/Recreation/Hunt_WMAHarvestData.htm

Might I recommend you joining a Hunting Club? Less people per acre, managed habitat, QDM and strict trespass rules will make for a much more enjoyable Hunting experience for your young daughter, however if she learns on public land then she'll certainly know how to find those invisible Deer and her scouting skills will be top-notch.

Good luck and it is great that you are introducing your daughter to this great tradition of hunting and the outdoors.

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Thanks now i just have to

Thanks now i just have to learn what I'm doing so she will learn and have fun....getting frustrated though. This is our 2nd year and nothing.

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Location: Florida,USA
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A few general tips

You have the right idea when you say you want to learn only you need to learn what the deer are doing instead of what you are doing.

Spend some time finding any sign of deer then pay particular attention to the hunter access roads or points. Most hunters never go more than a couple hundred yards from a road or fire break. Go a little farther off the road and determine what the deer are doing and where they are heading to or from. find food sources....not hard in Florida and that is what makes it so difficult sometimes as the deer don't have to move far at all to find food.

Compile all of this info together and then try and determine where the deer will make contact with incoming hunters, find some really thick areas  where the trails will lead to and are farther back off the roads and that's where the deer will be heading to after opening day. Use Google Earth to find all of these spots and other areas that I'll discuss later. Watch the wind and quietly scout these areas looking for an area that is really thick and has at least a small open area where you can find a concentration of droppings at various stages of freshness. Find this and you will be very close if not inside a core area, then it is just a matter of finding a good stand location just outside this area and where the wind will be favorable and not blow your scent into the area where you believe the deer will be. pick several different stand locations and use them as the wind dictates. Never, ever use a stand where the wind will blow your scent into the core area, not even if you dress in the fancy scent lok suits and douse yourself with cover scents. The deer will not return there if he smells you for any length of time. A deer can hear you and just stand there looking in your direction, a deer can see you and just stand there looking at you but if he smells you then it's adios see ya later. Don't be afraid to move if the wind changes, it is better for the deer to hear and see you than for him to smell you. If you get busted either entering your stand or moving from one to the other then instantly freeze and sit tight. Deer will often circle around to try and wind you so don't move and keep looking for an opening to get a shot off thru.

Watch Videos of deer in their natural un-alarmed state and take note of how they move and mimic that when scouting, entering and leaving your stand. deer will take a few steps and then stop to survey the area or feed on browse before moving on, they, nor any other animal in the woods, will walk a straight forward beeline path thru the woods so you don't do it either. Keep mindful of any does you see or tracks that you find. During the rut bucks will be close by does.

Lastly, sleep in. You won't beat the deer into his core area so sleep in and go to your stand around 10:00 and stay till dark. Deer will move inside their core area during the day but not far. I have watched them stand up in their beds and stretch and scratch themselves, very much similar to a dog. Sometimes you will hear them as the shake their heads as they try to keep skeeters off of themselves. Of course during the rut you should be in the woods all day as bucks will move anytime of the day and you are apt to see one at any given moment.

If you come to an area that is so thick or swampy and your first thought is " heck no, I aint going thru/in there, nobody would go there" then that is exactly where you need to go. You'd be surprised how quickly a thick area or swamp will open up after the first few hundred feet of the thickest crap you've ever seen. Take note of EVERYTHING no matter how small and insignificant you may think something might be, you can find patterns that way or subtle changes in foliage can make the difference as to whether a deer will use the area or avoid it like the plague. Just keep pounding away and don't be afraid to change tactics or try something you might never have thought would work. It's all trial and error till you find what and how the deer are doing and when they are doing it.

Good Luck and ask any questions you may have.  

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Joined: 11/29/2010
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thanks for all the tips

when is the rut down here? It is alot harder to spot their tracks down here then it was in wisconsin. I went out yesterday at croom early and walked back about 1 1/2 miles. I need to get me a tree stand instead of trying to stalk them. while stalking i stop in certain ares and sit tight for awhile before moving on. also what is the best way to field dress, i have seen so many different ways on the internet but what is the correct way? do you do it right there in the woods and leave the insides in the woods or do you have to do it some where designated in wma's?

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As for field dressing, I

As for field dressing, I agree with Alpine. As soon a you can if allowed. I personally try to atleast drag my kill to the truck before dressing but this is only to keep dirt and trash out of the cavity while dragging.

Again I agree with Alpine about difficulty stalking and still hunting Florida. Stand hunting would be your best bet.

As for the rut, again I agree with Alpine. Here in the Northwest region the rut dates vary widely, even within a few miles it can vary by weeks and even a month but generaly rut peaks here in late Jan thru early Feb with minor activity late Nov and again all the way thru Mar. You may just have to talk to Wildlife Officer or Biologist at check station for more specific dates of rutting activity.

 

Looking at the Google Earth image of the Croom WMA I think, based solely on map scouting, I would look further into the area at the extreme north end of the WMA in the area between Withlacoochee State Trail and the river just south of where the trail makes a slight curve I would definetly get a boat and ride the river and look into that area. After that mabe south of croom road between motorcycle area and croom rd.

Hope this helps.

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Location: Martin County NC
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It's awfully hard to stalk

It's awfully hard to stalk deer down here because its so dry and the vegitation is so thick. It's hard to move through the woods wihtout making a noise. It's better to scout a good spot and set up a treestand like you said. the deer down here are like ghosts and don't make much noise. Alot of the time you'll see the deer way before you hear it so keep your eyes open.

The rut is alot different here compared to other states. It lasts for quite a long time becuase the weather doesn't force the animals to rut at a certain time. You'll see most of the rut action during late october early november and leading up all the way untill early january depending on the area.

It's probably best to field dress the deer right away. The heat will ruin an animal pretty quik so its best to get the guts out ASAP. Most WMA's let you field dress where you kill it but some other places won't allow you to do it untill you go to a check station. If you can't field dress right away you can stab the animal neer the neck and jugular vein and let them bleed out... This helps with the animals body temp and also makes the meat taste better in the long run.

Hope this helps a little...

 

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