Can still-hunting be done in places where dog-hunting is being done?

by A Still-Hunter
(Tallahassee, FL)

October 9, 2012, QUESTION: Can still hunting from a stand be done in areas where dog hunting is allowed in Apalachicola? Because still hunting areas are small in the brochures.

ANSWER: Yes, still-hunting is allowed. I know of no regulations prohibiting still hunting in areas where hunting with deer dogs is being done. It should be noted that the still-hunt areas were created to avoid conflict between still-hunters and dog-hunters. There could be some drawbacks though, if you decide to still-hunt in the dog-hunting area.

I, personally, have known of instances where still-hunters have run into problems in the Apalachicola WMA. One such incident involved a still-hunter who saw a buck cross the road when he was driving through the forest. So he came back that weekend and went into the area where he saw the deer to hunt. Later that morning, the dog-hunters ran a buck past the still-hunter's tree, which stopped long enough for him to shoot. He took the shot. The deer dropped within sight of his stand. When the dogs came through, they stopped at the deer.

When the dog-hunters arrived, here's where you get "he said, she said." Since I wasn't there, as I understand it, the still-hunter wanted to keep the whole deer. But, generally, dog-hunters hunt as a group and share the deer. So the still-hunter, being an outsider, got on the dog-hunters' wrong side by not wanting to share the deer that he shot in front of the dog-hunters' dogs. As a general rule, when you shoot a deer in front of someone else's dogs, you offer them half of the deer and the shooter gets to keep the horns. So as the story goes because the still-hunter did not want to share the deer, the dog-hunters took the whole deer -- horns and all, and advised the still-hunter to find some other place to hunt.

Now, this is not saying that the dog hunters were wrong or that the still-hunter was wrong. This is just an example of an outsider coming into someone else's house and sitting down to supper without being invited. There is a division, generally speaking, between still-hunters and dog hunters and there are aspects of proper hunting etiquette that either party may or may not be aware of. Since we're dealing with public land and everybody has a right to be there, with the proper licenses and permits, the polite thing to do is to give a wide berth to other hunters should you find that you have inadvertently found yourself in someone else's house and be as polite and congenial as you can so as to avoid a confrontation.

Since a lot of hunters, both still-hunters and dog-hunters, have hunted in the same area for generations, the best thing to do to avoid a confrontation would be to not push your way into an area that you already know is being hunted by someone else -- be it still-hunter or dog-hunter, even if you think you have them out-numbered.

Always remember that you can't go wrong if you are a gentleman (or woman) and do the honorable thing in any situation.

Kenny Presnell

NOTE: I would like to clarify something about still-hunting in the dog-hunt areas. During the archery, crossbow, and muzzleloading seasons, outside of the general gun season, with the exception of the fox-hunt area for dog training, still-hunting should not be a problem anywhere; because the dog-hunters are restricted to running their dogs during the general gun season only. The only exception to this is several of the wildlife management areas have special rules that do not let the dog-hunters run their dogs the entire general gun season. I hope this clarifies this subject of still-hunting in the dog-hunting areas. So please check your individual wildlife management area brochure before going hunting.

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