Last Updated on March 30, 2023 by Eric Bonneman
Northeast Florida is a hunter’s paradise, offering a wide variety of game species, diverse habitats, and numerous hunting opportunities. Whether you’re an experienced hunter or a beginner looking to get started, this comprehensive guide to game species and seasons in Northeast Florida will help you plan your next hunting adventure.
Northeast Florida is home to a variety of game species, providing hunters with ample opportunities to pursue their quarry. The following is a more detailed overview of some of the key game species found in the region:
- White-tailed deer – The most popular big game animal in Florida, white-tailed deer can be found across the state, including in Northeast Florida. Hunters can pursue these elusive creatures during archery, muzzleloading gun, and general gun seasons.
- Wild turkey – Florida is home to the Osceola wild turkey, a subspecies unique to the state. These birds are highly sought after by hunters and can be found throughout Northeast Florida, with hunting opportunities during the spring turkey season.
- Wild hog – Wild hogs are an invasive species in Florida, but their abundance provides hunting opportunities throughout the year. Northeast Florida offers numerous areas to hunt these animals, which can be pursued during general gun, archery, and muzzleloading gun seasons, as well as during special wild hog hunting periods.
- Small game – Small game species in Northeast Florida include rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, opossums, beavers, and armadillos. These animals can be hunted during small game season, with specific dates varying by species.
- Waterfowl – The region’s abundant waterfowl species, such as ducks, geese, and snipe, provide opportunities for hunters during designated waterfowl seasons. Migratory bird hunting is regulated by both state and federal laws, so it is essential to consult the relevant regulations before pursuing waterfowl in Northeast Florida.
- Alligators – Although not a traditional game species, alligators can be hunted in Florida during a limited harvest season. Alligator hunting requires a special permit and adherence to specific regulations.
Hunting seasons in Northeast Florida vary depending on the game species and the specific hunting area. Below is an overview of the typical hunting seasons:
- Archery season – Archery hunting typically takes place in early fall. Many hunting areas in Northeast Florida require a quota permit during this season.
- Muzzleloading gun season – Muzzleloading gun hunting usually occurs in late fall, following the archery season.
- General gun season – General gun hunting often takes place in the winter months, with some areas requiring a quota permit.
- Spring turkey season – Spring turkey hunting generally occurs in late winter and early spring.
- Small-game season – Small-game hunting typically takes place during late fall and winter.
- Waterfowl season – Waterfowl hunting often occurs during the winter months.
Popular Hunting Areas
Northeast Florida boasts numerous hunting areas, each offering unique opportunities for hunters. Below are five popular hunting areas in the region, complete with details on the game species available and habitat features:
- Buck Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA) – This expansive 5,945-acre WMA is located in Putnam County and offers hunting opportunities for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, wild hog, and small game species such as rabbits and squirrels. The area features a mix of upland hardwood forests, pine flatwoods, and cypress swamps, providing diverse habitats for game species.
- Caravelle Ranch WMA – Situated in Putnam County, Caravelle Ranch encompasses 8,720 acres of prime hunting land. Hunters can pursue white-tailed deer, wild turkey, wild hog, and various small game species. The WMA consists of pine flatwoods, sandhill, and marsh habitats, as well as several ponds and waterways that attract waterfowl.
- Charles H. Bronson WMA – Located in Flagler County, this 11,692-acre WMA provides hunting opportunities for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, wild hog, and small game. The area is characterized by upland pine and hardwood forests, as well as marshes and swamps, creating a diverse environment for game species.
- Dunns Creek WMA – Dunns Creek WMA is a 6,359-acre area in Putnam County that offers hunting opportunities for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, wild hog, and small game. The WMA features a variety of habitats, including hardwood hammocks, pine flatwoods, sandhills, and marshes, making it an ideal location for hunting a range of species.
- Guana River WMA – Situated in St. Johns County, Guana River WMA covers 9,815 acres and offers opportunities to hunt white-tailed deer, wild turkey, wild hog, and small game. The area is known for its diverse ecosystems, including estuarine marshes, maritime hammocks, and coastal strands, which provide habitat for a wide array of game species.
Get Out There!
Northeast Florida offers diverse hunting experiences for all skill levels and interests. With a range of game species, habitats, and hunting seasons to choose from, hunters are sure to find the perfect hunting opportunity in this beautiful region. Before you head out, be sure to check the specific regulations and requirements for the hunting area you plan to visit, and always practice safe and ethical hunting. And if you need some gear before you get started, check us out in person or contact us at Avid Angler for all your fishing and hunting supplies!