I have been actively scouting the local Wildlife Management Areas and am finding some really encouraging signs that we’re in for a better than average archery season. The first WMA review I’d like to share with you is about the Homosassa Wildlife Management Area. It’s right on US19, just a handful of minutes north of our county line. I’ll be spending quite a bit of time patterning the deer herd on this property throughout the rest of summer, now that I’ve accepted an invitation to join a fellow traditional style bowhunter for a weekend hunt in the tiny WMA, this season.
Tiny WMA? Well, as far as the properties in our state’s Wildlife Management Areas go, the Homosassa Wildlife Management Area is a little more than five thousand acres in between the Homosassa and Chassahowitzka rivers and near the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. The area is a management unit of the Withlacoochee State Forest and consists of forested wetlands, planted pines, and improved pastures. Our Florida Wildlife Commission closely controls the harvest by greatly limiting the allotted periods of hunting as well as limiting the number of hunters via the use of a quota permit system. Many WMA’s carry exceptions to their permits, allowing disabled, elderly and accompanied children to hunt without a quota permit…. Not Homosassa!
In my opinion, it happens to be one of the more attractive properties available to us hunters. Signs of its former use as a working cattle ranch are plentiful and our Florida Forest Service does a fantastic job of maintaining the roadways as well as conducting a strict system of prescribed burns to keep the underbrush and grasses, which left untended, will choke out the scenic beauty of the land. And the benefits that the prescribed burns have for the wildlife are quite obvious even to the most inexperienced outdoorsman. The deer especially, which I’ve been seeing quite a few, are all fat and healthy and the does are often seen with their spotted youngsters in tow.
The bucks are growing out their velvet antlers and a fair number are showing up on my game cameras, some of which are truly mature, trophy quality fellows. I know that with such an early start to my scouting, the patterns of feeding and travel are all going to change once Fall arrives. But knowing the density of the herds, age demographic and trophy potential of the bucks can pay dividends once I begin my final scouts prior to the weekend hunt period.
I’m looking forward to that hunt, this coming season and am pretty excited about my opportunity to score. Overall, the Homosassa WMA is in great shape and I hope each of you will take the time to visit the property; I believe you’ll see a part of old Florida that just might make you smile.
If any of you would like to share a picture from your own adventures, or a story of your success on the hunt, feel free to reach out to me at [email protected] God bless and good hunting