One of my greatest pleasures is introducing new hunters to the sport and helping them find success. Seeing the experience of the outdoors and the hunting heritage fresh, vicariously through their yet untrained eyes, renews my own love affair with the wild places. One of the obstacles that I have to overcome when taking out young folks on their first hunts is their expectations of an instant kill. Most of them, desirous of taking up the hunting trail have watched at least some of the hunting TV shows and watch their TV hunting heroes harvesting buck after buck after buck all crammed into commercial laden, thirty minute segments.
Well, my friends, it just doesn’t happen that way. Hunting is not the pastime to enter if you have expectations of instant gratification. But, realizing their expectations, I do try to temper the long wait for antlers, by offering them the opportunity to harvest a doe. Meat in the freezer and a memory of success to further ignite their passion.
Our Florida Wildlife Commission has set aside certain days within the general hunting season whereby does/antlerless deer are legal to harvest with a firearm. A fair study of the FWC’s website will reveal the dates for the doe harvest in each of the designated Deer Management Units. For our own county, within our own designated DMU, the dates are this weekend, Friday, Nov. 22 to Sunday Nov. 24. It took me quite a while to discover all of the dates for each of the DMU’s to take advantage of the many opportunities.
For anybody searching for opportunities outside of our county, beware the ever changing regulations…. You see, our FWC has broken Florida into zones, each zone with its own season dates and regulations and containing multiple Deer Management units with their own dates and regulations as well as each DMU containing Wildlife Management Areas, each with their own dates and regulations. Sure, unnecessarily confusing, but hey if you have any questions about it, feel free to give me a shout.
This past weekend, I guided my lovely friend Cheyenne and her much younger step-brothers, Hunter 13 yo and Owen 7 yo, onto land owned by a longtime acquaintance, Mister JC of Suwannee County. Saturday, the boys joined me for a hunt, both wide-eyed with wonder as darkness gave way to morning light and wildlife began to stir about. They were excited about the great numbers of birds and small game, but held on throughout the day until a young doe appeared. Hunter, the eldest of the two young brothers extended an invitation for her to ride home with us.
On Sunday, it was their older stepsister’s turn to hunt, her third outing, but the first to offer her a fair opportunity. She too, extended an invitation to a second young doe, to join us for supper and her excitement was quite infectious. This coming weekend, here in our own county, I will be guiding a disabled veteran and another youth in search of success. My heart is full!
As always, if you have any comments, questions or just want to share your success from the woods, give me a shout out at [email protected] Sun.com. God Bless and Good Hunting!