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Tips for the opening weekend of archery season

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Are You Ready?

I know I’m ready for the opening day of archery season here in Zone C, as established by our Florida Wildlife Commission. We’ve been experiencing slightly cooler weather lately, especially in the mornings. I’d love to see the weekend arrive with greatly cooler temperatures, but I’ll take whatever comes.

Saturday morning will find me off script; I’m without a vehicle, so I’ll be hunting nearby and within walking distance. Ya see, I’m just back from another python hunt in the Everglades and have wrung the gears right out of the Ford’s rear end. Not cool! Then, arriving home, the water pump was dead, and no shower; if I can’t get that sorted out, hunting from downwind is my only option.

What scents will you be using? Inbox me; I’d like to have an idea of the favorite scents for our area. I’ll be covering up with my own Rebel Yell Game attractant. It’s never let me down yet. I’ll be using it on a drag-rag as well as my person.

When using drag-rags, no matter what scent you’re using, I tie the rag to about three feet of cord so there’s plenty of slack for it to bounce around, coating my trail liberally. I’ll even stop every 30 to 50 yards and freshen my scent on that rag.

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With the Rebel Yell, there have been many times that I’ve arrowed deer approaching my stand-sites with their noses to the ground, trailing me up like a beagle. Once they arrive to sniff the drag-rag, which I suspend twenty or so yards in a clear shooting lane, it’s all over but the shot!

And that shot; be certain what you’re shooting (if it’s a buck) and which DMU you are hunting within the zone. Each DMU is likely to have different requirements for antler sizes. I get a lot of inquiries this time of year as to what is or is not legal; it can be confusing.

Why the confusion over what may or may not be legal to shoot? Because our Florida Wildlife Commission publishes a hunting handbook full of statewide rules and regulations. But, online, the state is broken into zones, each with its own unique rules and regulations. Within each zone, you find the DMUs (Deer Management Units), each with its own unique set of rules and regulations. Now, within the DMUs and often overlapping are the WMAs (Wildlife Management Areas), each with its own rules and regulations. Aside from the WMAs within the DMUs, inside each of the Zones are also the NWRs (National Wildlife Reserves) tracts owned by the various Water Management Districts and Parks, each with its own rules, regulations and restrictions.

Easy as pie, right? Oh, and don’t forget to call in and report your harvest or log it in on the FWC app BEFORE you move that deer to take it from the field. There has been some confusion, resulting in a lot of tickets written about that, especially on the WMAs where you have to check in your harvest. Reporting at the check station does not mean that you do not have to report to Big Brother, I mean, the state, prior to moving your deer to take it to the check station to be reported again.

I sure do wish you all the best of luck this weekend, and if you have any questions or comments or maybe would like to share your success from the field, reach out to me at [email protected]. God Bless, and good hunting!

Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit is a best selling novelist and professional outdoorsman with thirty-five years of experience guiding and outfitting for big game all across America. Toby is a renowned archer and turkey hunting expert who manufactures custom game calls and is a regular judge at NWTF sanctioned turkey calling events across the Southeast.
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