The “Moccasin Hole” Stand: Late Season Hunting in Florida

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The last week here in North Florida has been a snowbird’s dream come true but if you’re a deer hunter it’s been, well, hot!

While all you lucky guys in my home state of Missouri have been enjoying a foot of snow and nice, frigid temperatures we are sweating it out under record high’s and humidity.

My buddy and Simple Hunting pro-staffer, Mike Keeter, called me last Friday night on his way to northern Missouri for the annual doe hunt.

He awoke Saturday morning to a brisk 7 degrees outside and did some walking, looking at food sources.

He sent me a text mid-morning and said he was going over to a local farmer’s house, Bruce, a mutual friend of ours to see if he could beg off some breakfast.

Next thing I know he’s shooting me a picture of a couple of nice, fat doe – wish somebody would teach that guy how to hunt.

That’s like five deer for him already this year!

Now you see why I’m often lamenting my departure from the Show-Me state – I’m just spoiled!

While Mike was off controlling the doe population we were out at a local WMA here in Florida laying the ground work for a hunt that will hopefully coincide with the next cold front, whatever that means here in the Sunshine State.

If the boys from the Midwest can spare a little frost later this week I’m planning on getting back out this Thursday.

We took the grandson’s along and I showed Jeremiah the location of a new stand area in case he got a morning he could spare next weekend.

The area is fairly open and there is not a lot of brush to walk through so we felt it would be safe for them to tag along.

Even with snake boots it can be more dangerous for kids because they are so short.

It would be very easy for them to get bitten on the upper leg or hand.

To access the stand you must drop off the main road into a ditch filled with water then slip up the ditch line to the back of the stand.

It’s a rather abrupt elevation change, very steep, I told the boys to stay up top because if they fell they might get hurt or, worse yet, fall on a snake.

Sure enough, just as I reached the bottom of the ditch a large cottonmouth literally slithered off the bank and towards the water.

Jeremiah quickly grabbed the machete but by the time he got close that dude was gone.

We watched him swim around and then pressed on to the stand.

I wore out my snake boots out (not even a year old) so I was just wearing my rubber boots.

I’m hoping Santa might find me a pair before I’m airlifted off for a big dose of anti-venom.

Saturday’s jaunt was my third trip into this new area.

I scouted it one day a couple of weeks ago, hung a stand at the afore discussed location (think I’ll call it “Moccasin Hole” stand) and was fortunate enough to shoot a doe there the first hunt.

During my scouting trip I located another stand site that looked to have potential so we ventured over there to check it out.

There is an area that I am convinced is a bedding area so we cut over to there first.

We tried to cross some water but because of the boys we had to cross further to the north.

When we circled back to the north we came across a very large set of tracks in the sand.

Evidently, we had pushed this deer out as we entered the area to the south.

The tacks were smoking hot and the damp sand from below the surface was sprayed out around them.

It was way too hot for the sand to still have moisture in it as it laid on the surface.

That just confirmed to me that the deer are using the area for bedding.

The other 3 deer that were accompanying the doe I shot last week were headed into the same area as well.

My premise is that the buck I want to see (if he is indeed still alive) is staying in that general area.

We moved on and hung a stand just north of that area and put a trail camera up as well.

This is our first season to actually hunt this WMA and I only spent one morning last spring during turkey season checking it out.

It’s always a blast to develop new areas and I’m sure in a few years we will have a better grip on the place.

In the meantime, deer season ends here January 15 so I’ll spend what time I have left looking and hunting this particular WMA.

We have also talked about running out west to the Florida panhandle for the rut there.

Their season runs until February 15th.

The good news is that turkey season in Florida opens up just 30 days after deer season closes – and Jeremiah and I both drew quota permits.

Last year we got our butts whipped by Tom and his gang so this year we are out for revenge.

We always had boatloads of birds to hunt but just could not manage to get one in front of the gun.

This season we are planning new approach so we will see what happens.

It’s all public land so we have little control over what goes on.

When it comes to public land it is “hunting” in every sense of the word.

Hope you’re having a great hunt – we sure are!!

Question: What’s the weather like in your hunting area? Do you have a specific strategy for the late season? Please leave us a comment, it is great to receive feedback from our readers.

Keep it simple – J

Jody Stanley

Jody Stanley

Avid outdoorsman, deer hunter and grandfather. Always willing to learn.

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  • http://playoutdoorsblog.wordpress.com/ moseyalong

    You can have some of our cold. The low here was -15 without the windchill, and the highs are in the teens. I’m a bit burnt out on hunting in frigid weather, so I’ve skipped the last days I could of muzzle loader hunting. But we’ve got an antlerless holiday hunt in the CWD zone coming, and then it opens back up for all deer, bucks and antlerless until January 6th. Bow runs until then, too. We’ll be applying for turkey tags tonight, and the boyfriend will be putting in for his bear kill permit. The deadline is tonight.

  • Jody Stanley

    Well, as you can see, were having just the opposite problem – only it’s not +115. I saw some mid 30′s coming up and I’m staying out of my new stands until then. I miss the cold but I understand the misery that can go with it. Hopefully you all will lay a few to rest. I’ve had several chances on some younger bucks but no real mature deer. I’m not just a trophy hunter but I enjoy seeing the deer and don’t always have to drop the hammer. They are so beautiful and amazing to watch – God created quite the survival machine. Thanks for your feedback – we appreciate it. Have a great hunt – J