Successfully Hunting Public Land in Florida

FS Junior Member Jseay harvested this big buck on public land in Central Florida in late January 2012.

Florida Sportsman Senior Member JesseJames offers some helpful tips for hunting public lands in our state. In so doing, he also invites comments from other hunters. The thread, here, is a good read.

“Here’s some of the keys I came up with that should apply to archery/muzzle/modern,” writes JesseJames:

1. Scout – Take advantage of any opportunity to get into the woods before the season opens to locate spots. Don’t get locked into one particular area. Have back-ups of back-ups of back-ups.

2. Be Willing to Walk – The farther you’re willing to go the more chance of success you’ll have. A lot of people will only go a few hundreds yards into the woods. If you’re willing to leg out a mile or two it can pay off. If you’re willing to brave that swamp/marsh/briar thicket that a lot of other guys won’t you’re increasing your odds of killing something.

3. Invest in a climber – Ladderstands are nice but they lock you into one position and trying to relocate one opening morning in the dark is a noisy and time consuming ordeal. A climber gives you the mobility and flexibility if someone shows up in the next tree over one morning.

4. Communicate – Talk to the other guys you consistently see when scouting or hunting. If someone is using the same parking area when scouting then take a minute to talk to them. Find out where they’re looking and what they’re plans are so there aren’t any surprises opening morning. Small groups of hunters can coexist in a relatively small area if they’re all talking.

5. Hunt on Weekdays – While it’s not always possible take advantage when you can. There are days when I’ve felt like I had the entire WMA to myself.

6. Sit Longer – A lot of people get stuck in the AM/PM routine. If you have the patience to sit all day then you’re only bettering your chances. Besides people moving in and out of the woods may push something your direction.

7. Respect – People will walk in on you. Newer hunter’s will stumble around and step on every branch they come across. Be the bigger man. Use those back up spots. Help someone out if they need it. Remember why you’re out there in the first place.

  • Mdkane

    I am new to florida, just moved here from Alaska, is there any public hunting in an around Melbourne?

    • Osceolaswampbilly

      Bull creek and triple n they’ll be on youleft going from Melbourne to holopaw on highway 192 and if you go up 192 and look right you’ll see deer park road and go down there and take a right onto nova road and go all the way down till you hit highway 520 and take a left away from cocoa beach and after 30 min you’ll see tosohatchee wma on your right

  • Bulldog

    I have lived in Broward County Florida all of my 50+ years, I have a good deal of saltwater fishing experience. I have never been hunting and I’m looking for some guidance.
    Where can I go on public land or a WMA without the “limited entry” privilege? I would like to find somewhere to start or at least scout around. I am familiar with firearms and safety so I would like to think that I’m not going to be a hazard.

  • john

    i just got in to south Florida hunting ive been down here some time this is my first archery hunt this up coming august im excited to try some spots looks like im gone to need waders to get around in the marsh area

  • Dawn

    going to be in lee county soon and want to know what is a good place to hunt for sheds??

  • Jared Glenwright

    I’m new to hunting in Florida, not really sure where to go been out once in like loxahachee or something, could use some pointers and maybe meet some new people with more experience.