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This year will be my first time ever hunting. Haven't really been exposed to it prior to about 2 years ago but I think the tradition and skill set is something I'd like to have and continue with my family. I've been doing a lot of reading online about hunting public lands, but having no experience, I'm fairly nervous.

Any of you have any sort of experience hunting out there? I haven't had any time to scout the area, mostly been on maps just looking for areas I can hike out to on an off day before the season starts. Does anyone have any first time advice in general? Like I said I'm as green as can be really.

Also, speaking of blackwater, does anyone have any experience trapping beaver on the river? I looked online but didn't find anyone speaking about it.
 

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Trapping is illegal on Blackwater. As far as deer hunting, just get out in the woods... tons of deer out there. I saw over 20 just driving around yesterday morning.

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Thanks! That gets me super stoked. Is there much pressure out on the public land? I've never heard anyone talk about being on public land in person or when I was growing up. I didn't even know it was a thing until I stumbled across Steven rinella about 2 years ago.
 

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Thanks! That gets me super stoked. Is there much pressure out on the public land? I've never heard anyone talk about being on public land in person or when I was growing up. I didn't even know it was a thing until I stumbled across Steven rinella about 2 years ago.
Pressure is an understatement. Every z71 in the county will be up there. Lol. Still decent hunting though.

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Get a quality climber. Lots of pressure. If you think you found a spot that nobody hunts. It eithier doesn't have deer. Or people are hunting it to. 1st person there wins.

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You need to put boots on the ground and scout. Not just one day, many many days. If you don’t have a quota, be sure to pay attention to the quota days.
 

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You also need a quota permit for the first couple and last couple of weeks during the season. There will be a period of time around Christmas that it is open without restrictions. Go to the FWCC website and look up the Blackwater WMA pamphlet and review it thoroughly.
 

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Make sure you print out the deer registry. And fill it out before moving the deer. Or use the app and log it on before moving it.

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Do a search on the forum, espo and hope he can shoot.. blackwater hunt! It will detail the problems with blackwater!😇(y)
 

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I don’t hunt BW but this topic should become a sticky or whatever y’all call it.

I do like reading about the stories, near misses and kills.


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I just started hunting BW myself a little over 2 years ago. I honestly don't see that much pressure, but I also don't kill many deer HAHA. Even where I'm at I still see groups of 5 or so deer together, haven't gotten on a legal buck during gun season yet though. My advice is get out there as much as possible, forget about anything you saw on a hunting TV show because hunting public land in Florida will not be like that at all. Just get out as much as you possibly can.

You shouldn't be too nervous about Blackwater as the terrain isn't that challenging or anything, and there are roads literally everywhere. You could absolutely get turned around though. I've been out many a morning stumbling around in the dark and got off course, not lost, but definitely turned around. Take a cell phone and an offline map downloaded of the area, and always have a compass with you in your pack. I like to stick to an area of about 100 acres or so and get to know it as well as I can when I find deer around. I have a few sections I've been sticking to the past 2 seasons and I think I have them at least partly figured out. I probably need to try more new areas though.

I personally wear snake boots year round because I have a seen large rattlers out there, and I walk through water that looks like a cotton mouths living room quite a bit . Other than that WEAR A HARNESS in the tree stand, and just get out there. You'll make mistakes and bust deer a bunch but it's worth the trouble when you finally get on one. I just killed my first deer with a bow last season and even though it was a little spike I will never forget that experience. Killed my first Turkey this year too, and I will definitely never forget that one. Just get out there
 

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I just started hunting BW myself a little over 2 years ago. I honestly don't see that much pressure, but I also don't kill many deer HAHA. Even where I'm at I still see groups of 5 or so deer together, haven't gotten on a legal buck during gun season yet though. My advice is get out there as much as possible, forget about anything you saw on a hunting TV show because hunting public land in Florida will not be like that at all. Just get out as much as you possibly can.

You shouldn't be too nervous about Blackwater as the terrain isn't that challenging or anything, and there are roads literally everywhere. You could absolutely get turned around though. I've been out many a morning stumbling around in the dark and got off course, not lost, but definitely turned around. Take a cell phone and an offline map downloaded of the area, and always have a compass with you in your pack. I like to stick to an area of about 100 acres or so and get to know it as well as I can when I find deer around. I have a few sections I've been sticking to the past 2 seasons and I think I have them at least partly figured out. I probably need to try more new areas though.

I personally wear snake boots year round because I have a seen large rattlers out there, and I walk through water that looks like a cotton mouths living room quite a bit . Other than that WEAR A HARNESS in the tree stand, and just get out there. You'll make mistakes and bust deer a bunch but it's worth the trouble when you finally get on one. I just killed my first deer with a bow last season and even though it was a little spike I will never forget that experience. Killed my first Turkey this year too, and I will definitely never forget that one. Just get out there
Thank you. I appreciate the words of encouragement. Hopefully I can get out there some, but I don't have high eviscerated hahaha.
 

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Find the thick stuff on google earth. Find a place to park and get out and walk! Find the places they come in and out of the thick stuff. It's obvious animal trails that get used. Set up according to your method of weapon as far as how close you need to be to the spot and wait.

You have to get out and walk to the thick branch line and walk the entire branch to see where they are coming and going!

If you find other deer sign it's another good sign. If you find human sign in the area you have parked it's a bad sign. But that's pretty much anywhere in Blackwater. I don't understand why people can't throw their bottles of Tinks in the back of their trucks or their beer or water bottles in the back of their trucks either!

If you think you've found a secret honey hole that no one knows about, you are lying to yourself. There are not secret spots in Blackwater. It all get's hunted and pressured hard. For every person that says they walk a mile from their parking sport to their hunting spot. Most are lying. You walk .25 - .5 miles and you hit another road or a creek or something else! Roads through out blackwater are what make it accessible and easy to hunt. Don't rut the roads up! Stay off the roads that say closed to vehicles. Treat it like it's your own property. Because it is! It's public and yours to use. But people are just humans and most are just stupid. And that's just my opinion.

If you see a truck as you are going into an area, just assume that whole area is off limits to you for that morning or afternoon.

Get out there early to get your spot. Have back up spots within 5-10 drive in case someone is in your chosen spot for that specific hunt. DO NOT GO IN THINKING YOU WILL BE FAR ENOUGH AWAY FROM WHO EVER IS ALREADY IN THERE.

Don't drive around the truck and go walking in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't leave gear out there unless you want it gone the next time you come out there!

There are plenty of spots for everyone. Just get out of the truck. You cannot scout from your truck!

Animals like to cut off pinch points and will go the short cut route to give you that moment to give you a shot! Imagine a V of two branches coming together. For some reason they will not completely go the full V and will cut between them in the neighborhood of 100 yards to 1 foot to come out into the open for your chance.

Parke get out and walk. Find their well beaten trails and you will see deer. It may not be something you can shoot. But when I see deer it's a successful hunt for me. Just unlucky it was something I couldn't shoot. I live in Blackwater and shot a FL buck registry deer last season. My biggest even when I have others from private land.

Don't get out there and blow deer grunts or other calls. Just find where they are moving and be there and not on the couch. You will kill something!

I have a ton of spots. Some I don't hunt anymore because they have become over run with people. But deer still live there and are killed there. I will gladly take you to these spots and it will at least show you what to look for on your own! I live out there during deer season and while I am no expert, I kill my fair share out of there each here. Send me a PM. I love walking through the woods and if you are willing to put some snake boots on and put in the walking effort, I can show you what to look for. These will not be spots I hunt. These will be very popular spots and I would not try to hunt them because there are so many folks that hunt the areas that I would show you. My hunting spots are only shared with a select few. IF you kill a nice deer or any deer for that matter. Lie about where you killed it! Just a fact of life. I don't even tell my best buddies where I killed deer on Blackwater if they are not with me. One person leads to one more knowing and then before you know it an area is full of people. Seen it happen. And it's because of this forum too! When I post. It's a Blackwater deer or a private land deer and that's all the info your are going to get. I may say something Walnut Hill or Baker if private property!

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Animals like to cut off pinch points and will go the short cut route to give you that moment to give you a shot! Imagine a V of two branches coming together. For some reason they will not completely go the full V and will cut between them in the neighborhood of 100 yards to 1 foot to come out into the open for your chance.



Don't get out there and blow deer grunts or other calls. Just find where they are moving and be there and not on the couch. You will kill something!
The thing about 2 branches is definitely a hot tip, and it took me a while to figure that out around here.

From one beginner to another leave the calls at home at least until late January. If this is your first season you will get out there all excited and call bad and way to often...ask me how I know.

The deer in blackwater will respond to a grunt though, I have only called in young bucks and does so far, but they will come right to the tree. It's just so damn easy to over call when you are sitting there for hours especially as a novice. In January I heard some bucks sparring and I let out a grunt, I swear I could hear that deer take 3 steps and stop for 15 minutes every time coming toward me through the brush. This was right at sun down and this dude wasn't going to come out of that thicket until dark. It's tough hunting, but just get out there as much as possible and you will kill something.


Someone on here once said if you can kill a deer in blackwater you can kill a deer anywhere else in the eastern US (or something like that) and I believe it. My first time hunting private land in NC last year after spending 2 seasons in Blackwater I was like "wow this is actually pretty easy!" and I wasn't even hunting food plots or feeders. The hunting pressure and long season down here makes it tough, but it's still rewarding.
 

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Again, never hunted BW but I talk with several that do.

Find a spot with a good view, then climb high and sit long.

Not to be mistaken with climbing while high.


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