Florida WMA Duck Hunting STA1

It’s late Sunday morning.  You’re driving North, Miami to your back,  camouflage canoe or kayak hanging out behind, stuffed with palmettos or coconut palm leaves and whatever else you could find to make yourself a blind.  Drivers pass you and wonder if you’re a landscaper and why you have a camouflage canoe in Miami.  It’s fine, they don’t need to understand, because you’re in the zone, thinking to yourself, “Did I bring everything”?

Do I have my shotgun? Shells? Decoys? Permits? Waders? Suddenly, a pickup passes you with a camo canoe in the back! No way he’s getting there first, so you’re stay on him, and the suspense begins.  If you’re lucky you already have a spot waiting for you because you thought about duck season months ago.  If you’re like me, you’ll just have to take the leftovers.

You get there at 12, sign up for leftovers, and start preparing any last-minute things, and talking about the last duck hunt, and your planned strategies for today.  At 1PM it’s raffle time, at this point the anxiety is at its peak.  The fact of the matter is, even after this long drive, you might have to go home if you don’t get picked…But your name gets called! You pick a great spot, you’re on your way to your truck, number in hand.  Drive passed everyone with a final good luck salute, and get on the dirt road along the levy.  It is here, where it’s official, you’re going duck hunting.  Put on a good country song, kick up some dust and drive on over to your spot.  Get on your waders, drop the canoe into the water, spread out your decoys, and get in.  Settle in with the coots, and soon enough, right on schedule, the ducks start coming around.

A flock nearby is obvious as all the hunters begin to serenade them with their own “best” calling style and decoy placement. Soon enough, they come around and you better be patient, because if you move, they’re outta there.  As they come towards you, you must sort out everything you know about their colors, wing-flapping patters, and sounds. Identify the bird, figure out if you can take it, and fire!  Dinner on the table, or another lesson learned?

This is a Wildlife Management Area public duck hunt on Florida Water Management District STA1.

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