FWC Approves Box-R Hunting Dates

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During the meeting in Marco Island, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) established hunting dates and regulations for the recently acquired Box-R Ranch Wildlife Management Area in Franklin County for the 2004-05 hunting season.

The hunting framework provides archery hunting during Oct. 16-22 and 23-31; small game hunting Nov. 13-18; muzzleloading gun hunting Nov. 19-21; general gun hunting Nov. 25-28, Jan. 6-9, 13-16 and 20-23; wild hog hunting Dec. 4-10; and spring turkey hunting March 19-22, March 31 – April 3 and April 14-17.

The 7,600-acre area is just west of Apalachicola and north of U.S. 98. Due to the late acquisition of the property and establishment of hunting seasons, persons interested in deer hunting will need to apply during the late supplemental quota application period, now set for July.

Archery and muzzleloading gun permits will be available by special quota application. General gun permits will be available by regular quota application. A total of 30 quota permits will be issued for each hunt, except the spring turkey hunts when five per hunt will be issued. The spring turkey quota application period will be next fall.

The Box-R Ranch area was purchased last fall from St. Joe Co. and has been conservatively hunted for several years to maintain a quality deer herd. FWC staff held a public meeting in Apalachicola March 18 to gauge support for continuing with a conservative deer management approach. Most people attending the meeting supported that approach.

Under regulations adopted by the FWC, a legal buck deer on Box-R Ranch is defined as a deer with at least one antler with three or more points. Hunters will be limited to one antlered deer per quota hunt period.