Here at the end of November, deer season has reached its mid-point and a lot of hunters, having venison resting nicely in their freezers, are turning to small game. Now, it’s not a huge secret that when folks think of small game, the first thing to pop into our minds, is squirrel hunting. But, squirrels are number two on the target list during the small game season on many of our local Wildlife Management Areas. Hogs, have taken over the number one spot and there are a ton of them waiting to be invited home for your next barbecue!
Two of the WMAs in our area, which have ended deer hunting for the year and now are open exclusively for small game season, are the Croom Wildlife Management Area and the Homossassa Wildlife Management Area. Both are loaded with wild hogs and can afford you some excellent hunting, just remember there are no centerfire rifles to be on the properties during small game season.
That doesn’t really limit your hunt; shotguns, muzzleloaders, handguns, archery and crossbows are still very much effective. I’ve taken hogs with each and plan to again, although my personal favorite tool for the big piggies is a 60# draw recurve bow. Here’s a bit more about these two top choices, direct from the Florida Wildlife Commission’s website.
Croom WMA Small Game Season: November 26 through March 3.
Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Hunting license, management area permit, migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds), and state waterfowl permit and federal duck stamp (if hunting waterfowl).
Legal to Hunt - Wild hog, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria and migratory birds in season. Bobcat and otter, December 1 through March 1.
Homossassa WMA: Small Game Season: November 9 through December 2, December 22 through January 13 and February 2-24. Permit, Stamp and License Requirements - Daily quota permit, hunting license, management area permit, migratory bird permit (if hunting migratory birds), and state waterfowl permit and federal duck stamp (if hunting waterfowl).
Legal to Hunt - Wild hog, gray squirrel, quail, rabbit, raccoon, opossum, armadillo, beaver, coyote, skunk, nutria and migratory birds in season. Bobcat and otter beginning December 1.
Don’t let me mislead you to think that deer season is closing statewide or even on the majority of local WMAs…. it’s not. The Citrus WMA and Chassahowitzka WMA are two of the top choices for whitetails if you haven’t gotten your buck yet. And, Citrus especially, has been producing some fantastic bucks this year. I’m aware of four that will meet or exceed the state’s minimum of one-hundred inches of antler to gain entry into the record book.
I had made such a prediction about the buck herd in the Citrus WMA in an article last month for Woods N Water Magazine and had a gentleman, whom I chanced to meet while he was checking in a monster eleven point at the check station, upset with me for divulging the info.
I was asked, “Why in the heck would you be telling people this place is full of big bucks?” Again, this was as he was checking in a book qualifier…. All I could answer, while pointing to his tailgate was, “Did I lie?”
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 and Good Hunting!