Hunting in Okeechobee
If you are planning a hunting trip to Florida, Okeechobee County should be your first consideration. Lake Okeechobee provides the best duck and alligator hunting experience in the southeastern United States. The areas surrounding the lake also have incredible hog and Osceola Turkey populations.
Types of Game You Will Find in Okeechobee
Florida and, more specifically, Okeechobee has large populations of wild boar. These animals cause a lot of problems, and they damage the orange groves and sugar canes in the area. There is an abundance of wild boar and are many different wild boar hunting opportunities and methods in Okeechobee.
The swamps and marshes around Lake Okeechobee are home to several duck species, including ringers, green wing teal, blue wing teal, black belly whistlers, and mottled ducks. There are many different duck hunting locations in Okeechobee, and you can choose from a wide selection of duck hunting methods.
Florida is home to thousands of alligators, and Okeechobee is the ideal location for a gator hunt. Alligators are predominant in Lake Okeechobee and along Kissimmee river. There are also private land and ranches with watering holes and dairy reservoirs that are open to alligator hunters.
The hunting grounds south of Lake Okeechobee is one of only a few places in the country where you can hunt Osceola turkeys. Other areas around Okeechobee are also home to Rio Grande, Merriam, and eastern turkeys. You may even find a few Osceola gobblers as the Wildlife Commission transplanted many of them to the north.
If you are looking for a comprehensive bow hunting experience, you can bow fish the marshes in Lake Okeechobee. Invasive species in this area include Pleco fish and Tilapia. Many hunting ranches will supply you with an airboat, professional bass guide, and custom fishing bows.
Coyote and bobcat hunting are effective ways to maintain the deer, wild boar, and turkey populations in the area. Thermal varmint hunting is fast-paced and makes for an adrenaline-filled night. For bobcat hunting expeditions in Okeechobee, keep your ear on the ground between December and March.
Some of the hunting ranches have more exotic species available for hunting, including water buffalo, Sika, axis deer, and Blackbuck. Some game preserves also have Père David's deer and Berasinga.
Top Hunting Methods Used in Okeechobee
Several different hunting methods are used in Okeechobee. The hunter’s preference, the type of game, and the hunting setting are all things that determine the most appropriate hunting method.
Rifle hunting is the most common option, and hunters often use it in combination with other methods. Many hunters prefer rifle hunting to bow hunting as a rifle is easier to load, and wind and long distances have less effect on a rifle’s accuracy. Rifles are also more suitable for bringing down large game like elk.
Bowhunting is the method of choice for Okeechobee hunters who want to go back to the basics of hunting. Bows are also quieter than rifles, which provides the hunter with a better opportunity to target animals without spooking them. Successful bow hunting requires a lot of practice as well as specialized and high-quality gear.
The hunting grounds in Okeechobee allow hunters to track their game instead of waiting for a herd to come by. Tracking is the ideal hunting practice for bowhunters and experienced hunters who can identify tracks and other indications that an animal is nearby. Most hunting guides in Okeechobee are also experienced trackers.
Hides and Blinds
The hunting areas in Okeechobee where the game is abundant allow for the use of blinds and hides. Hunters build these hiding spots at locations where the target game typically moves around, and they wait there until the herd shows up. Some ranches have prebuilt hides, but the hunters may also have to set them up themselves.
Hunters traditionally use decoys when hunting waterfowl, but many hunters in Okeechobee use them for hunting big game. Decoys tend to work well when shooting from a blind, and hunters usually use them with fowl-enticing scents or calls. For a decoy to work, the hunter has to place it within shooting range from the blind.
Florida Regulations, Licenses, Seasons, and Permits
Hunting in Okeechobee is subject to Florida hunting regulations, and Okeechobee falls under the South Region of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. According to Florida hunting regulations, all hunters who are over the age of sixteen has to complete a hunter education certification before they can carry out a hunt in Florida.
Licenses and Permits
In addition to a hunting license for taking game and furbearing animals, you also need the following licenses and permits for hunting in Florida:
- Deer permit
- Turkey permit
- Migratory bird permit
- Florida waterfowl permit and federal duck stamp
- Archery season permit
- Crossbow season permit
- Muzzleloading gun season permit
- Management area permit when hunting on wildlife management areas
- Limited entry/quota permit for recreational hunting during specified periods
- Furbearing trapping license for taking furbearing animals with live traps or snare
Okeechobee falls under Zone C of the hunting zone map. The hunting seasons for this zone is as follows:
- Archery and crossbow season: September 14 to October 13
- Muzzleloading gun season: October 19 to November 1
- General gun season: November 2 to January 19
Best Places, Hunting Guides, and Opportunities for Hunting in Okeechobee
The areas surrounding Lake Okeechobee has some of the best places, hunting guides, and opportunities for hunting. Okeechobee is a natural habitat for many different animals species, and the hunting activities play an integral part in maintaining herd numbers.
The Florida Wildlife Commission and private ranches in the area host several hunting opportunities, for example, youth hunt weekends to grow the hunting industry in the area. Many of these organizations also provide or recommend outfitters and guides to ensure successful and memorable hunting trips.
Hunting is one of Okeechobee's greatest adventures. Join one of our great guides to take you on the trip of a lifetime whether it's finding that trophy buck or that beast of a hog there is no place better than Okeechobee. Most of Okeechobee is located in the hunting zone C and more information can be found about seasonal dates and limits at www.myfwc.com
Here are some of the great guides that will take you for this once in a lifetime experience in the natural beauty of old Florida.
Kissimmee River Hunt and Fish 863-381-8040
South Florida Fishing and Hunting 863-697-3588
Seminole Prairie 863-634-7803
Quail Creek Plantation 863-763-2529
Just to name a few!