Birds flock to Boy Scout Preserve

The Boy Scout Preserve is a little over 20 miles south of Timber Pines.  The property was acquired by Pasco County Environmental Lands Acquisition and Management Program in 2010.  Boy Scout Preserve, once a camping ground for Boy Scouts of America, is now a conservation area and preserves eighteen acres of ecologically sensitive habitats. Surrounded by the Lower Coastal Watershed, between Wigwam Creek and Big Bayou this is a prime location for wildlife viewing, birds in particular.

Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail

The cool Florida weather is upon us… it’s the perfect time to get outdoors and discover nature.

The Great Florida Birding and Wildlife Trail, established in 1997,  is a program created by FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) and supported in part by the Florida Department of Transportation and the Fish and Wildlife Foundation of Florida in hopes to encourage conservation of Florida’s native habitats and species.

Seasonal Scents

I’ve been getting a lot of feedback from hunters all over the county, who have been having a tough time finding success so far this season.  It seems they’ve done their scouting, practiced and tuned their bows and are putting in long hours in the stand, with no antlers to show for it.  Mostly, I just encourage them to hang in there; it’s the early season and the early season is tough!

After the Shot!

I can’t wait for opening day of archery deer season.  But, the temperatures are forecast to be mighty hot and the humidity is going to be high.  Knowing that, it’s best we be prepared not only for our own comfort while in the stand, but in caring for the carcass after the shot.  A little preparedness will go a long way to preserve the high quality of the venison you put on your family’s table.

Fall Turkey Season, Anyone?

For most hunters taking to the woods this Fall, turkey hunting is a bit of an afterthought.  Since turkeys are available, and occasionally walk by a treestand, a few bowhunters take advantage of the chance encounter.  It’s a happy coincidence that Fall turkey season runs parallel to the state archery hunting season, which opens September 15th in our zone.  And when it comes to fall turkeys, a few of us get after it a bit harder.

Teaching Our Next Generation

I recently exchanged emails with an old friend, Mister HR Ross of the Ross Hammock Ranch, coincidentally, the best hunting ranch I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. We covered a few topics, but one in particularly sobering to both of us, is the decline in hunters. He cited a statistic he’d recently encountered that in the last five years (2013-2017) hunter numbers have fallen by 20 percent, a sure sign of an aging demographic.  Is this the beginning of the end of our hunting heritage?

Early season action in Zone A

For our neighbors to the south, in Florida’s Zone A, archery season has just begun. This may come as a bit of a surprise to many of you, but yes, we can legally hunt whitetail deer in July if we’re willing to take a long drive south.  I wouldn’t mind the drive, as I’m a bit jealous since here in our county we have to wait until September fifteenth to get started. But the heat; September is hot enough, but July heat is more than I wish to contend with on a deer hunt.

Watch Your Step!

I joined a friend of mine recently and we took a ride out to the old Iron Bridge in the Croom WMA to do a little catfishing on the banks of the Withlacoochee.  It was a hot and steamy afternoon not long after a shower had passed through and on one of the trails leading me to the fishing hole, we came across a young Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake.  Now folks, he wasn’t the least bit ornery, as most of them are quite passive. He never coiled to strike or rattled his tail in warning, he simply acknowledged our presence and continued going on about his day.

Night Hunting For Wild Hogs

I ran into a gentleman yesterday at the WalMart in Brooksville, who stopped to ask a few questions about last week’s column and hunting in the heat.  One point he made and followed with a question, was that it’s much cooler at night, so why not just hunt hogs after the sun goes down. I assured him, that I have spent many a night in pursuit of fresh pork and that he’d brought up a great topic for this week’s Column.  Thank you, Brian C., of Spring Hill for the inspiration.

Wild Foraging

On Friday June 22, 2018, I had the opportunity to attend a guided Wild Foraging program.  This took place at Chinsegut Conservation Center, and was presented by Kristin Wood of Dade Battlefield Historic State Park.  The purpose of the program was to educate the attendees in the wild edible plants native to Florida, and found in your backyard.