Box-R or Perdido River WMA?

by Michael Shumaker

October 27, 2010, QUESTION:
I have been chosen for Box-R and Perdido River hunts for the same time period. Which hunt would you choose, and are there any tips on areas to hunt? Thank you.

ANSWER: Congratulations on your selection in the quota hunt permit process. What a dilemma to have – with the quota hunt permit process being what it is, you had the luck to be selected for two different hunts at the same time.

By looking at the hunting regulations brochures for Box R and Perdido River Wildlife Management Areas, and narrowing down the quota hunts with the same dates, I’ve determined that you have been selected to hunt during the Muzzleloading Gun Season.

Since I have no personal experience hunting in either of these two areas, I will answer your question from the point of view as if I were making this decision. The 5,456-acre Perdido River Wildlife Management Area includes 15 miles of frontage on the Perdido River, which forms the border between Alabama and Florida, west of Pensacola. Since the Perdido River WMA is broken up into 4 separate units and has limited road access, you would either need to carry your canoe back and forth and walk a lot to cover this area. This area also was closed in March 2009, temporarily, due to extensive flooding and road damage, but has been reopened to hunting this year.

On the other hand, the Box-R WMA has much better road access and 11,216 acres with nearly 7 miles of frontage along Lake Wimico and the Jackson and Apalachicola rivers. Thus, in my mind I envision a more diversified and drier hunting area. Also, the deer, turkey, and hog populations are fairly high in the Box-R WMA and only 30 hunters are allowed, instead of the 40 hunters allowed in the Peridodo River WMA. So my area of choice would be the Box-R WMA. The area has a higher deer density and a herd age structure that is older than deer herds on most other lands in Franklin County. Because it was the private retreat of Edward Ball, the deer on this area have been under management for a longer period of time and has received an introduction of some higher quality breeding stock in the past.

Deer with at least one antler having 3 or more points (each point 1-inch or more in length) is generally a rule reserved for areas that have higher quality deer – another reason to choose Box-R WMA.

Since you will be traveling from Orlando, you will need a place to stay. Camping is prohibited in Box-R, so you will have to make other arrangements. The nearest town is Apalachicola, which is 5.5 miles east.

Again, I have never hunted in either area. I gave you the reasons for my choice and would recommend a scouting mission prior to the hunt even if it’s only the day before. I hope my input has been helpful to you and that you have a successful hunt no matter which area you choose. And remember, keep the powder dry and shoot straight!

Kenny Presnell

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