Areas to Spring Turkey Hunt without Special-Opportunity

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If you were not lucky enough to get drawn for a spring turkey special-opportunity or quota permit, do not fret because there are numerous wildlife management areas (WMAs) that do not require them.

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) offers 29 public hunting areas statewide on which to spring turkey hunt with just a hunting license, WMA permit and turkey permit.

These hunts are made possible through FWC’s partnerships with the state’s Division of Forestry, Florida’s water management districts, U.S. Forest Service, Florida Department of Environmental Protection, U.S. National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Defense for their contributions of properties to the state’s public hunting system.

Hunters need only a hunting license, WMA permit and turkey permit to spring turkey hunt on the following areas:

NORTH FLORIDA (eastern turkey’s range)

Spring turkey season runs March 18 – April 23

Apalachicola National Forest – 581,837 acres in Franklin, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties. Camping and ATVs allowed.

Apalachicola River Wildlife Environmental Area – 81,754 acres in Franklin and Gulf counties. Camping and ATVs allowed. WMA permit not required.

Aucilla WMA – 47,532 acres in Jefferson and Taylor counties. Camping allowed.

Big Bend WMA:

· Hickory Mound Unit – 14,427 acres in Taylor County. Daily use permit required. ATVs allowed.

· Jena Unit – 12,522 acres in Dixie County. Daily use permit required. ATVs allowed.

· Spring Creek Unit – 14,600 acres in Taylor County. ATVs allowed.

· Tide Swamp Unit – 19,538 acres in Taylor County. Daily use permit required.

Blackwater WMA – 191,148 acres in Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties. Camping allowed.

Eglin Air Force Base – 265,000 acres in Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton counties. Hunting and camping allowed only by permit from Jackson Guard Natural Resource’s Office by calling (850) 883-1152. Only shotguns, bows or muzzleloaders may be used. WMA permit not required.

Escambia River WMA – 34,476 acres in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. Camping allowed.

Joe Budd WMA – 11,039 acres in Gadsden County. Saturdays and Sundays only. There are 20, no-cost, daily quota permits available at the check station on first-come, first-served basis. Only bows or muzzleloaders may be used. Camping allowed.

Mallary Swamp WMA – 29,463 acres in Lafayette County. Season runs March 18 – April 2.

Ochlockonee River WMA – 2,790 acres in Leon County. Saturdays and Sundays only. Only shotguns, bows or muzzleloaders may be used.

Osceola National Forest – 266,270 acres in Baker and Columbia counties. Camping and ATVs allowed.

Pine Log WMA – 6,911 acres in Bay and Washington counties. Season runs March 18 – April 2. Camping allowed.

Point Washington WMA – 12,414 acres in Walton County.

Talquin WMA – 3,053 acres in Leon County. Saturdays and Sundays only.

Upper Chipola River WMA – 7,377 acres in Jackson County. Camping allowed only by permit from Northwest Florida Water Management District by calling (850) 539-5999.

CENTRAL FLORIDA (Osceola turkey’s range)

Spring turkey season runs March 18 – April 23

Bull Creek WMA – 23,646 acres in Osceola County. Camping and ATVs allowed.

Green Swamp WMA – 49,768 acres in Polk, Sumter and Lake counties. Hunters must have a quota permit to hunt the first weekend, but there are 200, no-cost, daily quota permits available at the check station on first-come, first-served basis for the remainder of season. Camping allowed.

Jumper Creek WMA – 10,512 acres in Sumter County. Camping allowed.

Kissimmee River Public Use Area – 23,433 acres in Glades, Highlands, Okeechobee, Osceola and Polk counties. The area is split between Central and South hunting zones. Season runs March 4 – April 10 when hunting in the South Zone. Camping allowed only by permit from South Florida Water Management District by calling (800) 250-4200 ext. 3019. WMA permit not required.

Lochloosa WMA – 11,149 acres in Alachua County. ATVs allowed. Camping allowed only by permit from St. Johns River Water Management District by calling (386) 329-4404.

Santa Fe Swamp Wildlife Environmental Area – 5,627 acres in Bradford County. Only bows or muzzleloaders may be used. WMA permit not required.

Three Lakes WMA – 52,976 acres in Osceola County. Camping and ATVs allowed.

Upper Hillsborough WMA – 5,178 acres in Polk and Pasco counties. Wednesdays and Thursdays only. There are 75, no-cost, daily quota permits available at the check station on first-come, first-served basis. Camping allowed.

Upper St. Johns River Marsh WMA – 119,419 acres in Brevard and Indian River counties. Camping allowed.

SOUTH FLORIDA (Osceola turkey’s range)

Spring turkey season runs March 4 – April 9

Big Cypress WMA – 565,848 acres in Collier, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. Camping allowed. ATVs only allowed by permit from National Park Service by calling (239) 695-1201.

J.W. Corbett WMA – 60,288 acres in Palm Beach County. Saturdays and Sundays only. Camping allowed.