The Steinhatchee area is well known for hunting. Whitetail Deer, Turkey and Wild Hog are found in abundance and Dove, Quail and variety of Waterfowl are also plentiful for those that prefer wing hunting.
The Scallop Shack is the perfect accommodation for hunters and their families. Hunters can easily reach all of the prime public lands and families can enjoy all the activities offered in and around Steinhatchee.
Steinhatchee offers some of the best coastal duck hunting in Florida. The area is blessed with large tracts of undeveloped timber land and Wildlife Management Areas many of which border the coast. As such, the area sports thousands of acres of saltwater marsh, numerous creeks, pristine waterways and freshwater ponds.
During the fall hunting season, expect to find resident ducks such as Teals (blue and green wing), Buffle Heads, Canvas Backs and Mottled ducks (Florida Mallards) mingling with northern species such as Ring Neck, Bluebill, Pintail, Wigeon and Redhead that pass through on their way to the lower latitudes. On occasion you may also encounter Gadwal, Scoter and Mottle Ducks as well as Snow and Ross geese.
Species fall into two categories: diving ducks (such as Ring Neck, Bluebill, Redhead, Scaup and Merganser) and puddle ducks (such as Mallard, Pintail, Wigeon and Teal). Divers prefer open water and eat mostly shrimp and shellfish. Puddle ducks on the other hand are mostly herbivores that feed in shallow marshes on the plentiful grass beds. All offer challenging targets and the potential for great sporting fun.
Numerous boat launches specifically designed for kayaks and canoes have been built along the Nature Coast and as such it is now easier than ever to access the coastal marshes. Wading hunters can be quite effective in these areas, but the preferred method is to hunt using a properly camouflaged boat that is capable of shallow water access. Using a boat will give you virtually unlimited access to the entire coastal marsh. At low tide the grass flats near the marshes are often only 4” to 6” deep and limestone outcroppings are common. As such, use caution when motoring at speed and especially when approaching the marshes. When possible use a push pole or trolling motor to avoid damaging your boat. For the more adventurous, small craft such as kayaks and canoes provide stealthy access to even shallower areas and often the ability to hide in the marsh grass.
Morning and afternoon shoots are best and hunters often plan to take a break during the down time to fish for speckled trout and redfish in deep cuts or the river channel. As such, come prepared with fishing gear as well as camouflage clothing, hats, gloves and either cammo face masks or face paint. When you find your spot, camoflage your boat and set a spread of decoys to attract passing ducks looking for safety in numbers.
Please visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission at www.MyFWC.com for specific information and rules governing public hunting in the nearby North Central Region Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) and the Lower Suwannee National Wildlife Refuge. These areas offer a variety of seasons including archery, muzzleloading, spring turkey hunts and a general gun season. Public lands in Taylor County include the Big Bend Hickory Mound Unit, Big Bend Snipe Island, Big Bend Spring Creek Unit, and Big Bend Tide Swamp Unit. Dixie County offers the Big Bend Jena Unit and Log Landing. Mallory Swamp is located in Lafayette County. Steinhatchee Springs is located in Dixie, Lafayette, and Taylor Counties.
Florida licenses and permits may be purchased 24 hours a day with a credit card by calling 1-888-486-8356 or by visiting www.MyFWC.com .
Steinhatchee is a hunter’s paradise, featuring large expanses of Public and Timber Lands as well as pristine waterways and coastal marshes.