Permits to hunt wildlife management areas

Jen Williams, the public-hunting-area biologist for the Northeast Region of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, informed Historic City News reporters in St Augustine that permits to hunt Twelve Mile Swamp and Relay wildlife management areas are available, until September 28 — or until all permits are issued.

Each year, a limited number of “Recreational Use” permits for the popular northeast Florida wildlife management areas are available for purchase; creating unique public hunting opportunities.

“The hunting seasons on both these areas closely mirror those on private lands, which is a bonus for those who favor longer hunting seasons,” Williams told Historic City News. “Also, the limited number of hunters allowed makes them more like private hunt leases than traditional public hunting areas.”

Each area boasts 30 days of archery, nine days of muzzle-loading gun, 58 days of general gun, 63 days of small game, two days of youth turkey and 37 days of spring turkey. In addition, Twelve Mile Swamp also has a 61-day trapping season. Trapping is prohibited on Relay.

Twelve Mile Swamp Wildlife Management Area is on 9,460 acres in St Johns County; about 10 miles north of St Augustine. It is located in the wooded area north of Nine Mile Road between US-1 and I-95. Only 125 permits are issued here each year, and 52 were still available as of Friday for the upcoming hunting season. Each permit costs $625.

Relay Wildlife Management Area is on 19,682 acres in Flagler County off State Road 11. Permit holders are allowed to hunt deer using dogs in this Wildlife Management Area; one of only four such areas in the Northeast Florida Region. Only 300 permits are issued each year, and 157 were still available as of Friday for the 2012-13 hunting season. Each permit costs $425.

Once purchased, these permits are not transferable. However, the permit holder may renew the permit for up to two additional years, for a total of three years.

People can apply for permits for these areas online by September 28 through the Total Licensing System or through a county tax collector’s office or other license agent.

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