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Juniper Creek Wildlife Management Area

Rex and Lucas fullsize hunt regulations cover

Photo by John Hitchcock

Managed in cooperation with the United States Forest Service Apalachicola National Forest.

The 900-acre Juniper Creek Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Calhoun County offers numerous benefits to families who enjoy hunting and the outdoors. The Juniper Creek tract, which borders S.R. 20 west of Clarksville, is owned and managed by the United States Forest Service (USFS) Apalachicola National Forest. It is the only federally owned public land in Florida that is exclusively dedicated to youth hunting. The partnership between the USFS and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) underscores the agencies’ mutual commitment to connecting kids with nature.

The area offers five family hunts for deer and wild hogs and one spring turkey youth hunt. The deer hunts are timed around Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s and the peak of the rut in late January. In cooperation with the FWC, food plots are planted seasonally in wildlife-beneficial grasses and legumes. Thanks to a generous contribution from the Beau Turner Youth Conservation Center, hunters have ADA-accessible elevated hunting blinds. Quota permits are issued from the Apalachicola Ranger District Office in Bristol.

The area is open year-round except during hunting seasons when only hunt participants are allowed. Vehicles may be operated on named and numbered roads only during hunts, by hunt participants. During non-hunting periods, roads are closed to vehicles but open for hiking and bicycling. Visitors may park near the front gate and walk in.

From July through September and February through April, check the food plots for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, northern bobwhite and mourning dove. Gopher tortoises, pine warblers, cardinals, eastern towhees, and red-bellied and red-headed woodpeckers are common year-round. It is rare to catch a glimpse of the Florida black bear, but their tracks are sometimes spotted along sandy roads.

Jones Branch flows through the property and connects to Juniper Creek. These waterways are part of the Apalachicola River-Chipola River basin, which nourishes the highly productive Apalachicola Bay estuary. Habitats include upland pines (mainly sand pine plantations) interspersed with bottomland hardwoods and swamps and drainages of Jones Branch and Juniper Creek. Over time, this sandhills habitat will be restored, as USFS biologists replace the sand pine with longleaf pine and conduct regular, prescribed burns to maintain a healthy groundcover. The tract is classified by USFS as an experimental forest, and termite research is conducted on a small portion of the area.

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