Steinhatchee Springs Wildlife Management Area
Managed in cooperation with
Suwannee River Water Management District
Steinhatchee Springs Wildlife Management Area spans 20,909 acres of floodplain forest, cypress swamps, xeric hammocks, and pine plantations surrounding the Steinhatchee River in Lafayette, Dixie and Taylor counties. The 28-mile long river originates in the upper reaches of Mallory Swamp in Lafayette County and discharges to the Gulf of Mexico. The river goes underground north of Tennille and rises again about a half-mile south. The area, owned and operated by Suwannee River Water Management District, is open for public use year-around. The area is open year-round from 1 1/2 hours before sunrise until 1 1/2 hours after sunset.
Recreational opportunities include hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, horseback riding, hiking, and biking. Wildlife species on the area include white-tailed deer, feral hogs, turkey, bobcat, and a variety of resident and migratory birds. District lands have limited access due to their swampy nature and lack of roads into their interiors. Entrances and river access points are open for fishing and nature study everyday and are located off US 51 and the graded roads adjacent to the river. Look for the brown public river access signs to direct you. Scheduled hunts include archery, muzzleloading gun, general gun, spring turkey, and small game. A quota hunt permit is required for muzzleloading gun, the first nine days of the general gun hunt, and the first nine days of the spring turkey season. Hog management hunts take place in February and March and require a quota hunt permit. Consult the list below for regulations.
Motorized vehicles may be operated only on named or numbered roads. The use of tracked vehicles, airboats, motorcycles or all terrain vehicles (ATVs) is prohibited. Horses are prohibited during periods open to hunting. During periods closed to hunting, horses are restricted to designated roads and trails. Children under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet when horseback riding on public lands. For more detailed information go to Nicole's Law. All horseback riders must have proof of current negative Coggins Test results for their horses when on state lands. Camping is prohibited during periods open to hunting and by permit only during non-hunting periods. Call the Suwannee River Water Management District, 386-362-1001, for permit information.
Rules Regarding Dogs
- For purposes other than hunting, dogs are allowed, but must be kept under physical restraint at all times. Dogs are prohibited in areas posted as "Closed to Public Access" by FWC administrative action. No person shall allow any dog to pursue or molest any wildlife during any period in which the taking of wildlife by the use of dogs is prohibited.
- Hunting dogs may be taken onto the WMA after 8 a.m. the day before the opening of a season and shall be removed by 6 p.m. one day after the end of the season. Hunting deer and wild hog with dogs is prohibited, except dogs may be used during the wild hog-dog season. Hunting with dogs other than bird dogs or waterfowl retrievers is prohibited, except that any dog may be used during the wild hog-dog season, but not more than three free-running dogs are allowed per quota permit. Dogs are prohibited in areas posted as "Closed to Public Access" by FWC administrative action. No person shall allow any dog to pursue or molest any wildlife during any period in which the taking of wildlife by the use of dogs is prohibited. Dogs on leashes may be used for trailing wounded game.