If you are looking for the prime hunting spots in Florida, you are going to want to pay close attention to the wildlife management areas – or WMAs– that have been established by the state. These areas have been created to manage quotas and keep track of animal populations and harvest numbers so that Florida can always know how well its population control efforts are going. Luckily, the best places to hunt in Florida are also close to some great locales, allowing outdoorsmen to enjoy the state to the fullest.
If you are new to Florida, visiting for a short period of time, or just generally have no idea where to go for a good hunting experience, then Roberts Ranch isn’t a bad place to start. Located in Palatka – which is less than an hour’s drive east of Gainesville – Roberts Ranch offers a three-day guided hunting experience that includes wild hogs, turkey, and some of the biggest whitetail deer in the state.
Photo via Florida Hunting
Apalachicola National Forest
If you thought Florida was all beaches and swampland, this WMA will change your mind. Covering a massive swath of land just shy of 600,000 acres in size, the Apalachicola National Forest is a vast forest area located in Florida’s panhandle and criss-crossed by easily navigated road systems. The forest plays host to both regular rifle-and-bow hunters and deer dogs – a popular hunting sport in Florida – and is the perfect place to go if you are looking to lose yourself in nature and find a few deer along the way.
Photo via Flickr
Big Cypress National Preserve
The only public forest area in Florida that can compete with Apalachicola in terms of size is Big Cypress National Preserve, a “big” area indeed. Located at the southern tip of the state, just west of Miami, Big Cypress measures more than 560,000 acres in size and boasts plentiful deer herds for you to pick off. It’s a popular hunting spot, so the deer populations there will be under a fair amount of pressure, but experienced hunters will be able to find off-the-beaten-path spots where golden shots and 10-point bucks are common.
Photo via National Geographic
Ocala National Forest
The last of the “big 3” hunting forests in Florida, Ocala is made up of 385,000 acres in the north-central region of the state. The hunting isn’t quite as good as in Apalachicola and Big Cypress, but resourceful hunters will easily be able to find more than a few ace spots.
Photo via Trip Advisor
Hunters in the Orlando area will love Green Swamp – located west of the city – for its free-for-all no quota hunting. You will need to get a day pass from a park ranger to hunt the area, but a day of hunting in Green Swamp will make the momentary hassle worth it. This place is crawling with deer, and you can take as many as you can bring down in a day.
Forget deer hunting. If you’re in Florida for the exotic game that is the alligator, then head off to this Zolfo Springs location, billed as the number one alligator hunting destination in the state. Make sure you have your specialized permit, however. And be ready, because Razor Ranch truly is one of the best places to hunt in Florida.
Photo via Bowhunting.net
Featured image via Bowhunting.net