by Wayne Nichols
Finally, some cooler weather lately down here in SoFlo! OK, so it’s nothing compared to the northern states, or even North Florida, but if I’ve gotta put on my insulated flip flops for a hunt then it’s officially winter to me. With the thick acorn crops coming off the oak trees this year, hunting has been a ‘lil less productive than normal; warmer early and mid-season temps haven’t exactly been helpful either. Good news is we’re in the woods almost daily and keep a close eye on game movements and activities, when and where game is moving and feeding, so we’re still on the meat for our hunters to give them an opportunity at making a kill. Bad news, hunters going to public lands that are pressured regularly have to work 10x as hard to get an opportunity to harvest an animal, or just get plain lucky this time of year. With food sources abundant, game simply doesn’t have to look very far for a meal Add in hunting pressure from as early as July’s bow season to present and animals will go nocturnal, especially in warmer weather. With cooler temps rolling in, the deer, turkeys, and wild hogs have been moving well and getting into predictable feeding patters.
An important part of what we do is land management on private lands for ranchers, farmers, and citrus growers. Hogs, deer, turkey, and gators is the main focus. All too often we hear hunters complain of not having any meat, letting small bucks walk to mature, and afraid to shoot a doe because “does bring in bucks”….in a word, wrong. Having too many doe on your property is about the worst thing you can have going against you. Bucks seek out doe to breed and chase/spar/fight with other bucks for dominance. If he doesn’t have to actively look for a doe and there’s plenty of food around, well, he won’t…and mature bucks aren’t exactly known for being daytime active with temps down here. Culling your doe population is a good thing, maybe the best thing you can do on your property. Besides improving herd health and overall genetics, it makes mature bucks actively seek out doe for breeding in daylight hours, when doe are more active in morning and afternoons. Ratio numbers vary according to who you ask. Some experts say 1:1 ratio, some say 2:1, 3:1…never ending debate there. Personally I like about a 3:1 doe to buck ratio. As long as you’re willing to harvest doe, keeps their numbers in check and meat in the freezer. I personally haven’t really “hunted” for years, as much as I love it and have a passion for it, I simply enjoy taking others more than I care about myself killing an animal, and it’d be hard for me to improve on what I’ve taken over the years with the only exception being some of the exotics free-roaming now due to hurricane Charlie, such as Axis deer (picture red deer with spots, not a fawn) which are by far the best eating deer I’ve ever had! My family and friends’ hunts are what I really look forward to each season. This year’s meat hunts are pictured this month with my wife and kids, plus a few friends, quality time that’s priceless. With hunting season winding down in SoFlo, we’ll turn our focus to hogs the next few months anticipating Spring Osceola turkey season. If you’d like any info on our land management programs or hunts give us a call, 863-990-7650. Y’all stay safe out there and take a kid hunting or fishing anytime you can.