Florida is a state full of hunting opportunities. With over 5 million acres of public ground designated as wildlife management areas (WMA), there is plenty of public hunting land available in Florida. Good public hunting land, however, may be more difficult to find with a sufficient number of animals and minimal hunting pressure. In Florida, it may take several attempts at scouting and researching before you find a piece of public hunting property. Following a procedure to locate public hunting land can improve your chances for successful hunting this season.
Research the WMAs. The Florida Fish and Wildlife website offers a web page designated to the WMAs with maps, brochures and regulations. They break up each WMA into regions making an easier search for your public hunting land. Determine the area of the state that you wish to hunt and review the brochures and maps for each WMA. Review the animals that inhabit that area. For example, if you are hunting wild hogs and wishing to hunt around the Okeechobee area, look at the South region and Crew, Rocky Glades or Spirit-of-the-Wild WMAs. Possible options for Osceola wild turkeys include Hilochee, Dexter or Dupuis.
Review the maps of each WMA. Look for pieces of land that are difficult to access. As the difficulty to access a certain piece of public land, the number of hunters will decrease. With decreased hunting pressure, the animals are less likely to be spooked by human presence. Another benefit of hunting public land that is less pressured is increased safety. Fewer weapons and guns walking through the woods means there is a smaller chance of an accident.
Look for big contiguous tracts of land. Pieces of public hunting land that are larger in size offer more opportunity at changing hunting styles. If you happen to run across another hunter, you can simply walk to another area of the property. On a smaller piece of land, you will not have the luxury of sharing. The ability to walk around the entire land is beneficial with certain hunting styles, such as spot-and-stalk or still-hunting. Both methods require moving depending on the position of the game. For example, as wild turkeys roost and move around throughout the day, you can change positions based on their movements. When you are hunting deer, you will have the opportunity to change stand locations based on movement patterns or wind direction.
- If possible, do some preseason scouting of the area to see the number of animals on the land.
- Talk to the local hunters and surrounding landowners to gather information about the quality of animals.
- Beware of any special regulations and boundaries for the public hunting land.
- Remember, safety first while hunting on public land.
- forest and swamp image by Artur Blaszak from Fotolia.com