Apalachicola National Forest Turkey Hunting?
March 12, 2012, QUESTION: Hello, My name is Jared, and I am heading to Panama City Beach, Florida, for Spring Break with my friends. I'm sure the party will be fun on the beach but to be honest with you, I would much rather get the chance to do some turkey hunting on public land and see some of the Florida wildlife for a few days. I plan on arriving there around noon on March 17th, which is the first day of turkey season in the Zone D.
I have researched a couple of the closest WMAs that are within a reasonable distance of Panama City Beach. I've narrowed it down to the Apalachicola National Forest and the Apalachicola River Water Management Area as the areas where a quota permit is not required and within a reasonable distance of Panama City Beach. Basically, here are my questions.
How good is the turkey hunting on the Apalachicola?
Are there large populations of turkeys?
What's the hunting pressure like?
Are there any other good turkey spots near Panama City Beach?
In Ohio, the best locator calls are barred owls (morning) and crows in the afternoon. What are the best locator calls in Florida?
I do a lot of turkey hunting back home in Ohio, and my plan was to drive around the first afternoon and do some scouting either by walking or driving. I'd really like to roost one if I could the night of the 17th and then be able to hunt the 18th and 19th depending on the weather. So far I am thinking that maybe the northwest portion of the Apalachicola national forest may be the best area just by looking at turkey population maps and since it is near Calhoun County. Calhoun County seems to have a large turkey population but no public hunting land. I'd really appreciate if you guys could help me out a little, and I really like the website. Thanks, Jared
Jared: You've narrowed yourself to a pretty strict timetable. So what you should probably do is look at the brochure for the
Apalachicola River WEA; and the Apalachicola WMA
Pick you a route along the dirt roads near the river headed north through these two wildlife management areas. The turkeys may or may not answer to locator calls, such as a crow, a barred owl, or a coyote howl. So I'd be looking for tracks and other hunters out scouting. Even if you don't roost a bird, finding tracks late in the day should get you fairly close to where the birds are gonna roost that night. So you're just gonna have to run and gun, be flexible, and hope lady luck smiles on you.
Good Luck and enjoy your Spring break here in Florida!