Time to break out your pencils and calendars, boys and girls, and commence planning for the 2010-11 Florida hunting season – the application periods for limited entry hunts are near. So, let’s get started.
First on the list, Special Opportunity Fall Hunts; St. Marks NWR Archery, General Gun, Mobility Impaired; and St. Vincent Island NWR Sambar Deer hunts all have an application period that begins May 4th and ends June 10th. This won’t be the year I go after the sambar, but that day is coming. St. Marks is usually a pretty good hunt, from what I hear. And, just for the fun of being opinionated, looking down the list of available hunts this year, I’m not real sure what is so special about the Special Opportunity offerings – in the past they’ve had quite a variety of properties. Doesn’t appear that way any longer.
I’m sitting that first round out. Of more personal interest, your earliest chance to apply for gator tags is May 5th and ends May 18th. Last year was the first time FWC utilized the random-draw system; I loved it. I got drawn. I’m not sure what the merits are of the first-come, first-serve system, but random draw is certainly the most egalitarian. Gator hunting is a ton of fun, something everyone should give a try at least once. Plus, it starts in August when there’s really nothing else going on, and, hey, it’s Florida – there’s a gator in every ditch.
Finally, June 1st is when hunters can apply for quota hunts on WMA’s. Worksheets for individual WMA's should be out mid-May, and I'm curious to see how they are adjusted for the new seasons Florida just constructed. Like last year, you can apply for archery, muzzleloading, and general gun permits. Each successful quota hunt applicant is allowed a buddy tag to tote along a worthy friend or family member. The number of WMA's increase seemingly every year; check out your neighborhood public land to see what they offer.
Sure, Spring just sprung, and autumn is a long ways off, but the time to plan is now.