I’ve got to tell you folks, it’s a mighty exciting time for Hernando County’s bowhunters! We’ve waited all year for the opening day of archery season to roll back around. Our initial scouting is complete, our plans are made and gear is readied in anticipation for Saturday morning when once again we can take to the field with our quivers and our bows to fetch us home some venison. Delicious, free-range, organic venison fit to grace the tables of kings and so very welcome on the table of this humble old hunter too.
Now, the new season has been going on down south of us a-ways, in Zone A and I’ve gotten calls and emails from many successful hunters. Some really impressive bucks have been showing up all over my social media feed. If my own observations of the deer herd in-and-about our county are accurate, there will be quite a few local hunters making their own posts soon. The deer are healthy and abundant in numbers with hunt conditions favorable to our efforts.
The moon phase is the only minor consideration we all need to take note of. Whitetail, like most ungulates, feed in major and minor patterns according to the lunar cycle and the most favorable times to catch them up and on the move are right-smack-in-the-middle of the day. Most of us are accustomed to hunting the traditional morning and evening periods, but the safe bet will be to stay on stand as long as you can stand the heat. While others are out enjoying lunch in the air conditioning, those who stay put will definitely hold an advantage.
I think it best to remind you all that I’m talking about opening day here in Zone C, as determined by those fine folks at our Florida Wildlife Commission. But for some inexplicable reason, rather than determining the boundaries of our deer hunting zones according to county lines, they instead measured them out using highways and interstates to break our state into the individual management zones. In doing so, the far Southeastern corner of our county, the portion south of SR 50 and east of Interstate 75 has been instead, lumped into the area designated as Zone B.
The date for opening day in Zone B, is October 16th, nearly a month beyond the rest of us. But the zones apply only for private lands within the designated borders. There are plenty of great spots on some of our local wildlife management units to take advantage of if you happen to live in that area. If you have any questions about zone boundaries, you can look them up at www.MyFWC.com, which I highly recommend any way.
The Florida Wildlife Commission’s website can give you all the rules, regulations, season dates and harvest restrictions not only for the zones, but explain all of the state regulations. You see, the state regulations can differ from the regulations for the zones, as do the Deer Management Units within the zones, the WMA’s within the DMUs within the zones and the Federal lands, all of which have slightly differing regulations.
As always, if you have any questions or comments on this week’s column, feel free to reach out to me at Toby@HernandoSun.com. God bless and good hunting!