St. Vincent Island - January, 2011, deer hunt.
July 16, 2010, QUESTION:
I went down to the DMV today and got a quota permit for the St. Vincent Island January deer hunt.
My question is.... where do I get info specific for this hunt? ie.. what camping areas are used? What areas of the island are open for the hunt? etc.
Congratulations! You just signed up for an adventure. If you want to speak to a "real" person, you can call: (850) 653-8808. This is the number to the St. Vincent National Wildlife Refuge office.
The January 20-22, 2011, is a primitive-weapons hunt. It's a Thursday through Saturday hunt.
Hunters must check in at the check station after 8:00 a.m. EST, the Wednesday before the hunt before they can set up camp or hang stands. If you miss the meeting and the station is unmanned, you still must sign in before you hunt, but must complete check in later that day or when the check station reopens. If you can get there on Wednesday morning, it gives you a day of scouting before the hunt begins. You must leave the island by 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, January 23, 2011.
One-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset are the legal shooting hours. You can use either bow or muzzle-loader. It's for whitetail deer. Bucks must have 1 or more forked antlers, at least 5 inches in length visible above the hairline. The points must be 1 inch or greater in length. A limited number of either sex permits will be issued at the Wednesday orientation meeting. Feral hogs and raccoons are also in season. (P.S. -- they are very specific, if you kill it -- you keep it!) Some people in the past have shot raccoons and left them on the ground. But if the rangers catch you doing it, you will be banned from returning for future hunts. To be safe, remember Ted Nugent's quote: "kill it and grill it."
As I mentioned earlier, there will be a Wednesday orientation meeting on the island. You can find out the location of the meeting by calling the phone number above. It could be at either the Indian Pass Camp or the West Pass Camp. The usual amenities provided include a port-a-potty. The rest is up to you -- food, water, firewood (very little available on the island), tents and tarps, ice, transportation (is by bicycle only, or walking). You may pull a buggy behind your bicycle or use a hand-pulled game cart. Successful hunters can drag their deer to one of the designated pick-up roads that the rangers patrol to carry your deer to the check station where they will record the needed information for their records. You may use the skinning rack to clean and dress your deer. This is where you may find some hunters lacking in sufficient cooler space and ice availability. Remember, if you don't bring it, you won't have it!
Staying dry and bug-free is another challenge on the island. Sufficient clothing, insect repellent, personal hygiene supplies (may need toilet paper because the port-a-potty might run out), dry storage bags, and trash bags. You must carry all your trash out with you; and if you build a fire, the ground it's on must be returned to it's original condition.
Transportation to and from the island is by boat only. If you do not have a boat that can handle the ruff water that may arise during the crossing or while it's beached during the hunt, you may want to hire someone else to carry you to and from the island. You may call the Apalachicola Chamber of Commerce at (850) 653-9419, which maintains a list of vendors who can take you to the island for a fee. Right now, all boats are booked working for BP. There's no telling what will be available in January, 2011. So plan accordingly.
Helpful hint -- The St. Vincent National Wildlife brochure link at the bottom of the St. Vincent page on my website should be printed and a copy be put in a water-proof bag for all members of your hunting party.
Don't forget to submit to us your hunting story and photos - whether successful or not. We'd love to hear from you!