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NORTHWEST REGION 2003-2004 WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT AREA FORECAST

September 26, 2003
Contact: Division of Wildlife (850) 265-3677

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Hunt Maps & Regulations Summaries for Northwest Region WMAs

Apalachee WMA (7,952 acres in Jackson County)
There are hunting zones A, B and C. Zone A is approximately 6,000 acres in size and located just north of Sneads on State Road 271. Zone A reminds you of one of the old plantation areas of the south with tall longleaf pines, scattered oaks and wiregrass. There are agricultural fields scattered across the area and lots of forest openings. Zone A has been improved for bobwhite quail by timber thinning and reducing the number of days for quail hunting. Deer hunting is good throughout all three zones. Zones B and C are located further north up SR 271 and border the Chattahoochee River. Access to both zones is almost entirely by boat. Duck hunting is good on the area near Lake Seminole.       

Apalachicola WMA (581,837 acres in Franklin, Leon, Liberty and Wakulla counties)
The Apalachicola area is a national forest and has expansive stands of longleaf pines, some stands of oaks and ti-ti creek bottoms. Most of the hunters who travel to the area come to deer hunt. Most of the area is open to the use of free running dogs, with the exception of an area along SR 375 and a portion of water management district lands along the Apalachicola River. Overall, the area has a fairly low deer population. The quota system was in effect years ago but was dropped due to the fact that it never filled. The road system is good and passable during most times. The area has an excellent bear population and prior to the onset of cold weather itís common to see bears or bear tracks on the interior roads. There are several areas where hunters can camp for a fee during hunting season. Contact the U.S. Forest Service at (850) 643-2282 for more information.

Apalachicola WMA Ė Bradwell Unit (1,420 acres in Liberty County)
This is a small area of oaks and pines south of Highway 20 and next to the Ochlockonee River. With the exception of the small game season on the area, a quota permit is required when hunting.  

Apalachicola River Wildlife and Environmental Area (76,753 acres in Franklin and Gulf counties)
A portion of the water management district lands open under the former Type II WMA system is now part of the area. Legal age hunters only need a hunting license to hunt here. The area stretches for more than 20 miles along the Apalachicola River from the cities of Wewahitchka down to Apalachicola. There is some high and dry land in the floodplain forest but much of the area can be swampy and difficult to traverse. Due to its location many hunters use boats to reach their intended locations. During periods of prolonged rainfall the river can rise and flood the swamp and low-lying areas. This is a great area to throw in some fishing gear for either freshwater or saltwater species for a change of pace after the hunt is over.

Aucilla WMA (40,149 acres in Jefferson and Taylor counties)  
Thereís some great looking floodplain habitat along the Wacissa and Aucilla Rivers. On the west side of the area itís mostly stands of pines. This is an excellent place to take a young person for a squirrel hunt during the small game season, especially along the river corridors. Hunters should be able to get their bag limit of 10 without too much difficulty. Since the area is in the stateís Central Hunting Zone, deer hunting dates for archery, muzzleloading gun and the general gun season are earlier than in the Northwest Zone. Hunters will see some wild hogs but hogs are legal game during the general gun season through Nov. 30 only. The Aucilla area is home to a number of bears and prior to the onset of cold weather donít be surprised to see either bears or tracks on area roads.

Blackwater WMA (186,475 acres in Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties) 
Blackwater is a beautiful state forest with rolling hills of longleaf pines, oaks and broad ti-ti creek bottoms. The area also has a sizeable population of red-cockaded woodpeckers which nest in old growth longleaf pines. The Florida Division of Forestry oversees forest activities and uses prescribed burning as a management tool. The result is an area thatís aesthetically pleasing with improved habitat for a multitude of wildlife species. Quail hunters enjoy the more open aspect and being able to work their dogs. Due to loss of other hunting areas close by, quota permits are required during the much of the season. Deer can be hunted with free-running dogs only in a section of the area north of Highway 4. The deer herd is growing on the area. 

Blackwater WMA Ė Carr Unit (590 acres in Santa Rosa County)
This is a special opportunity hunt area where quail hunters who apply for and obtain a $100 permit can hunt with a party of up to four hunters for pen-raised quail they release. There are 16 four-day hunts scheduled for the area this season where these groups have exclusive use of the area.   

Blackwater WMA Ė Hutton Unit (5,243 acres in Santa Rosa County)
The area is just east of Milton and north of Highway 90. Itís a mixture of open pine woodlands, some cutover areas and some mature forested areas. FWC Division of Wildlife staff continues to work to improve the area for bobwhite quail through a burning program and wildlife food strips. Quail hunters must have a no-cost quail hunt quota permit for designated hunting days. The deer population is high. Several nice bucks were killed last season. Quota permits are required for archery, muzzleloading and general gun deer hunts. 

Blue Water Creek WMA (21,048 acres in Escambia County)          
This is a recreational use area and requires a more costly permit for hunting each year. The area has rolling pines woodlands and hardwoods along Pine Barren Creek and the smaller feeder creeks. The area has a good road system but it deteriorates during rainy weather. For its size the area has a phenomenal deer herd. For the last several years 250 or more deer have been killed and checked coming off the area. The area is all still hunt. If youíre new to Blue Water Creek, find a good place to put up a tree stand in productive areas near the creeks.     

Choctawhatchee River WMA (57,299 acres in Bay, Holmes, Walton and Washington counties)
Formerly known as the Choctawhatchee River Water Management Area, the river corridor area runs for more than 30 miles along the Choctawhatchee River from above Highway 2 south to near Ebro. The strip of land is fairly narrow, in some places extending only ľ - Ĺ mile off the river. This is floodplain forest and subject to the vagaries of weather. During extended rainy spells hunting can be challenging. This is another area where access is almost solely by boat. For those hunting late in the day itís a good idea to carefully mark the bank area where you leave your vessel. For years this area received little hunting pressure but thatís changed over the last couple of years. Quota permits arenít needed here.

Econfina Creek WMA (40,883 acres in Bay and Washington counties)
This is yet another water management area open as a WMA this season. The area is a combination of planted pines, sand pines, cutover woodlands and floodplain forest along Econfina Creek. For the first time hunters who obtained quota permits will be able to hunt the Cat Creek and Fitzhugh Carter tracts. During the archery, muzzleloading gun and modern gun hunts all hunters on these areas need a quota permit. Squirrel hunting is especially good in the tall hardwoods along the creek. The area has both dog-running and still-hunt sections for deer hunters. A new mobility-impaired hunting area has been created south of CR 388.

Escambia  River WMA (34,476 acres in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties)
This is another floodplain forest area open to hunters and extends for more than 25 miles along the Escambia River from Highway 4 south to near Pensacola. Similar to other areas along rivers in the panhandle, you need a boat to hunt most of this area. Itís easiest to hunt in drier weather conditions. The area has both still- and dog-hunt opportunities. The deer population here is low. In places along the river there are wild hogs, which are legal to hunt. Duck hunters, particularly those after wood ducks and teal, do quite well shooting along the Escambia and some of the tributary creeks.                           

Flint Rock WMA (25,450 acres in Wakulla and Jefferson counties)
Flint Rock tends to be a wetter area than some WMAs. It has some mature forests, areas that have been recently logged, and areas of young pines. Itís a recreational use area and all hunters must purchase a $206 recreational use permit. Legal bucks must have a forked antler with two or more points.

Joe Budd WMA (10,539 acres in Gadsden County)
Joe Budd is better known as a primitive weapon hunting area but itís one of the best areas in the state to squirrel hunt. It has lots of hardwoods and oak ridges. Over the last few years squirrel hunters have killed more than 1,000 squirrels during the small game season. Itís close to Tallahassee and a great place to introduce a youngster to small game hunting in a safe environment. Wildlife biologists have maintained a high deer herd, even in the face of intense hunting. There are numerous fields of wildlife crops and hunters migrate to these openings. Deer hunters can only hunt with archery or muzzleloading firearms during three-day hunts. Consult the area regulations for the procedure to participate in these hunts.

Ochlockonee River WMA (2,790 acres in Leon County)    
Situated close to Tallahassee and several housing areas nearby, the area gets considerable use from non-hunters. Itís common to see joggers, bicyclists and bird watchers in the area, even during hunting season. It is covered in hardwoods and pines. Itís another good area to squirrel hunt. Deer hunting is open to archers and muzzleloading hunters only on specified days. If you intend to deer hunt, the area along the river is excellent.

Pine Log WMA (6,911 acres in Bay and Washington counties)          
Pine Log is a state forest and was formerly part of Mooreís Pasture WMA. Itís a combination of mature longleaf pine forest, stands of young pines and ti-ti creek bottoms. The regulations presently in place on Pine Log are somewhat restrictive but in place to allow the deer herd to grow. They include an abbreviated archery season, a three-day muzzleloading season and three four-day modern gun hunts. 

Point Washington WMA (12,366 acres in Walton County)
Point Washington is a state forest in south Walton County. Itís mostly south of Highway 98 near the gulf and as might be expected sand scrub, scattered pines and ti-ti thickets. The deer herd is small but growing. The Florida Division of Forestry burns the area on a periodic basis to reduce the chances of a catastrophic fire and at the same time improve wildlife habitat.  

Robert Brent WMA (9,869 acres in Gadsden and Liberty counties)
This is another recreational use area requiring a $150 recreational use permit. Unfortunately, all permits have been sold for the 2003-04 hunting season. At one time Robert Brent was a large WMA but land withdrawals have removed a substantial portion of the area. The lands that remain are east of SR 65 and north of Highway 20. Legal bucks must have at least one forked antler with two or more points on a side. Wild hogs are scattered and usually seen near the creek bottoms on the area.   

Talquin WMA (3,053 acres in Leon County)
As the name implies the Talquin area is near Lake Talquin and is mainly pine woodlands. It isnít a big area but it is popular and gives up quite a few deer each season. Squirrel hunting is good in the forested area near the lake. Thereís both an archery and general gun season on Talquin. Regardless of how they deer hunt, they can hunt only on Fridays Ė Sundays.

Tateís Hell WMA (136,567 acres in Franklin and Liberty counties)
The area is mainly cutover pine woodlands with some cypress domes and ti-ti drainages. Most hunters who visit the area are deer hunters who use free running dogs. A small portion of the area is available for still hunters. The terrain is generally wet, boggy and rough. If thereís prolonged periods of rain, donít go into this area without a four-wheel drive vehicle. Expect to see plenty of evidence of bears, especially early in the fall. Camping is allowed at designated campsites.

Tateís Hell - Womack Creek Unit (13,754 acres in Franklin and Liberty counties)
The area is just north of Carrabelle and borders the Ochlockonee and Crooked rivers. Itís mostly pine woodlands with some hardwoods. Squirrel hunting is good near both rivers. Still hunters have access to the area during the first part of the season. Dog hunters can then hunt the area. Camping is allowed at designated sites.

Upper Chipola River WMA (7,377 acres in Jackson County) 
This is another long and narrow water management district tract on the Chipola River. The area open to hunting is floodplain forest and subject to flooding. However, some extremely nice deer are killed on this tract every year. Unlike most other Northwest Florida areas, there are only four days of deer hunting allowed after Jan. 1. Almost all access is by boat. Squirrel hunting is good on the area as well. Wild hogs are killed occasionally by hunters.

Yellow River WMA (17,389 acres in Santa Rosa and Okaloosa counties)
This is yet another long corridor of water management district property along the Yellow River. The area stretches over 20 miles. Regulations are generally different for the Grassy Point section than the rest of the area. Numerous boat landings are available for boating access.

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