new to area

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Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:26 pm

new to area

Postby marine1985 » Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:34 pm

well hi everyone i have a few questions i was hoping that someone on here would be able to help me out with. first i am new to the area i moved here about a year ago i just got out of the Marine Corps and have been focused on recovering from some injuries. but anyway i am trying to find out if there is any places to hunt around the zephyrhills area? i am also looking to see if there is anyone willing to teach me the ins and outs of hunting out here. if you need reasone for that jsut ask i have no problem explaning my situation. i have not gotten a hunting license yet but will be getting one soon im not to sure when deer season ends but i belive that it is over but i have been told that hog hunting is year round and have never done that but would love to try. but if there is anyone that would like to help or just answer my questions i would apperciate it thank you very much.


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Re: new to area

Postby kellory » Thu Jan 02, 2014 9:37 pm

Welcome to the forum, and welcome to hunting. It is never too late to learn, and anyone on here will be happy to help with your questions. That is a large part of why we are here. i am in Ohio, so I will not be able to give you the local help you asked for, but we do have other Florida hunters, and I am sure, a few of them will chime in here, as they notice the post. As to deer season, that varies year by year, and changes locally as well, due to changes in the herds themselves. Each year the rule book changes a bit as well, so make sure to stop in where ever you buy a licence, and pick up the free booklet. it will give this year's dates, weapons allowed, any requirements, and list what is legal and what is not legal to do while hunting. It will also give info on trapping, if that interests you, and other things you can do such as hunting morels (mushrooms) or ginseng, or things like that. Here, we have a DNR (division of natural resources) most states do, but I think Florida calls it something else, so check with the other Florida hunters for the proper name. ;)
The only real difference between a good tracker and a bad tracker is observation. All the same data is present for both. The rest is understanding what you are seeing.

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Re: new to area

Postby Retranger » Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:46 am

Russell ,,,,,, my first thought on your thread,,,,,THANK YOU ,,,,,, for you service!!!! You apparently served the country for awhile. I am not to far from you but I am not a Florida resident. I am in the Winter Haven area sitting out the weather in Northern NY so I can't help much about the area. There is a fellow on here (sailfish) and I believe he is a little north of you, hopefully he will chime in. There are good books out there that will give you a lot of info but a local hunter would be great to find. I suspect you may be in some good turkey hunting area also. Will be glad to try to answer any questions you might have. I hunt deer with a bow, muzzle loaded and rifle. Also hunt turkey. Post your desires or send me a PM if you like. One vet to another thanks for your service. ;)

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Re: new to area

Postby Sailfish » Fri Jan 03, 2014 10:03 am

Welcome to the forum Russell.

Your not in a bad area to get into some hunting.
Nearby you have the public land called Green Swamp
Season is still open, but you have to read the regulations as to dates and such ( I believe only for a couple more weeks)

I could probably type for hours and never give you all the info you could use for hunting Florida, but I will give you some starting points.

FL public lands are called WMA's (WIldlife Management Areas). Your area is Southwest (although you are not limited to that zone, you can hunt anywhere, I am just going to focus on that)

Florida has first come first serve permit WMA's (Like the Green Swamp**), you find the place you want, check the dates, get there early and you hunt. Deer, small game, hog seasons etc. (hog is almost a year round staple).
They then have limited entry/quota hunt WMA's like Upper Hillsborough (near you).
These hunts you have to apply early in the season and hope your name gets drawn. You register for whatever hunt you would like (start here for the upcoming season. There is like a 30 day window to apply and I don't recall the exact start dates offhand. YOu register, if you get drawn they let you know (if you dont get a draw, you get a preference point for the following year). Often times, the have 3 phases as well on these draws, so if you miss phase 1 sign up for phase 2 (watch the sign up dates). If you are awarded any of these permits they are all free.
There are also special Opp hunts. These often require an extra fee. One I like near you is Green Swamp WEST. Its $5 per entry, you can enter as many times as you like, and if selected you pay another fee (GSW is $100). There are a few like this around the state.

We also have National Wildlife Refuges that get opened to hunting (some are draws, some are walkups) like Lower Suwanee, St Marks, St Vincents (get a chance to kill a Sambar deer!). All this info is on FWC as well.

I have mostly geared this towards deer hunting, however we have the same type of process that you would go through for Turkey, small game, hog, gator, waterfowl etc. (hog can be killed on just about any WMA during deer and small game season (gives you almost 6 mos in your area)). There are similar links on the FWC page for these seasons.

On the license page you would need a FL hunting license, WMA stamp and deer stamp. Archery stamp too if you go that route. You can buy a Sportsman license as well if your going to utilize all that.

As for overall hunting, its like any other public land, perhaps a tad more effort to get on the animals. Go where no one else wants to go or can go. Deep, thick, wet swampy nasty stuff a 1/2 mile + into the woods/swamp if you want regular success.

We do have liberal seasons and bag limits as a plus. Your current zone (B) deer season started in Oct and goes till Feb 23.

Check out the FWC site, let me know if you have questions I can try to help

** Some of the first come first serve have the first 9 days blocked out IE you have apply and get drawn, then after that its FCFS)
"Go as far as you can see; when you get there, you'll be able to see farther."

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