Hunting Rules Vary for Each Wildlife Management Area

Article excerpt

Byline: Bob Buehn

Hunting season is upon us and there are some good opportunities in Clay County, but you've got to understand the regulations for the area you are hunting.

Clay County is home to three Wildlife Management Areas, and all support hunting. Camp Blanding, south of Middleburg, is the largest area at 56,000 acres. Jennings State Forest is west of Middleburg and south of Cecil Field, and comprises about 24,000 acres in size. Bayard is 9,700 acres, located south of Green Cove Springs along the west side of the St. Johns River.

Additionally, there are thousands of acres of private land for hunting and even some pay-to-hunt operations.

Published statewide hunting regulations, says Allan Hallman of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, who monitors hunters at Jennings State Forest and at Camp Blanding, do not cover specific WMAs.

"Make sure you check your WMA pamphlet," he advises, for regulations and season dates that are specific to the wildlife areas you want to hunt.

The pamphlets are available at the Clay County Tax Collectors office or online at www.myfwc.com.

To hunt deer in the WMAs you have to plan months ahead and apply for a quota, but there are opportunities to go afield even without a quota. At Jennings State Forest, youth can participate in the "supervised small game hunt" from today until Oct. 21 with a valid hunting license and the completion of a daily management area permit card.

Jennings also will host a small-game season, with no quota requirement, from Jan. …

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