This time of the year, most of us have moved on from deer hunting and onto other past-times in the field. I personally have been doing quite a bit of small game and predator hunting, as well as beginning my scouting routines in preparation for turkey season. But then again, after our Fish and Wildlife Commissioners put restrictive harvest limits on us this year, I haven’t deer hunted since mid-December when my allotted quota was reached; And I miss it. But I was reminded this past weekend that although the season has ended locally in Zone C, as geographically determined by our commissioners, the whitetail season in Zone B is still in full swing!
Zone B, a small area compared to the size of the other seven established zones, is comprised of portions of Hernando, Sumter, Lake, Pasco, Polk and Hillsborough Counties. The north and south borders of the zone are Interstate 75 to the west and US-441 to the east, while the east and west borders are US-50 to the north and US-60 in the south. That makes for a very short drive to some mighty fine hunting grounds, including the southeastern corner of our own county if you’ve not yet filled your quota. The season finally comes to an end on the 20th of February, so don’t put away your gear just yet.
This past Saturday, I was attending the Florida Wild Turkey Extravaganza over in Sumter County, visiting with some true legends of the sport of turkey hunting. I spent a great deal of my time hanging out with local call makers and telling a few tall turkey tales and admittedly, deer hunting wasn’t at all on my mind until I got a text, that a family member, Benton Geer, had just filled a cooler! He’d taken an invitation to hunt the Alston Tract, owned by the Southwest Florida Water Management District, which had yet to reach a quota of antlerless deer, and Benton helped them out with that.
Not having had an opportunity to hunt much, due to work obligations, Benton was eager to take advantage of the opportunity, so when a fat doe arrived near his stand that morning, she received 150 grains of invitation home for supper.
After the Wild Turkey Extravaganza I was planning a drive through the Citrus WMA to look for turkey signs and was joined by my great friend Sean Cummins and his four year old daughter Bristol. Sean toted my ancient .410 along in case we spotted a squirrel, or three. He and Bristol scanned the treetops as I took note of the abundance of turkey tracks and by day’s end, we had a trio of fat nut-cutters in the truck and a promise of a squirrel stew in the crock-pot later in the week. All in all, despite the questionable weather, it was a weekend well spent outdoors.
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]. God Bless, Good Hunting!