Sambar deer - St. Vincent Island, FL


July 15, 2012, 05:00 PM
I've been drawn for the sambar deer hunt on St. Vincent Island, Fl. Hunt is muzzle loader last of Nov. Does any one have experience with the sambar deer hunt on St. Vincent Is. ? Would appreciate any experience with island.

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July 15, 2012, 05:05 PM
Well, they make nice grip material. :D

Art Eatman
July 15, 2012, 09:28 PM

July 16, 2012, 01:02 PM
Art thank you for the response. I have researched and found the same as you. I am hoping someone has current information. FL. site is limited. Thanks again.

July 19, 2012, 02:25 AM
We hunted sambar on St Vincents several years ago,quite an experience.You need a boat capable of running in the bay,not a jon boat.If you don't have one,you can hire locals to shuttle you and your gear across. You will want to camp on the island to save the boat ride early each morning.Bring a mountain bike,as riding is much prefered to walking.We carried our tree stands and other gear in a kiddie trailer behind the bikes,a great method.Ride the beach as much as possible,as the island is covered with sugar sand hills that kinda suck on the bike.You absolutely want to make a scouting trip before the hunt to see what you are up against.The sambar feed in fresh water ponds,but the fresh water ponds on the island are off limits as "Bald eagle nesting areas."We saw no eagles.We scouted and found trails between the ponds and heavy cover.Hunt these trails that have heavy usage;lots of tracks and droppings.Hang your stands the day before to save lugging them on the day of the hunt.Time the ride to your stand from the camp.The hunt starts at 6:00 I think,and you have only until 7;00 to get there.From 7 to 9 is "stand time-NO walking around.These times may have been changed,read the rulebook carefully.Any violation gets your permit cancelled,so read those rules,the Feds have no sense of humor.You can (could) hunt sambar,hogs,and racoons.Nothing else,and that means even the rattlesnakes are protected by the Feds.There are a bunch of them,so keep your eyes open.DON'T leave your boat beached.the tide and waves will give you an unpleasant day,don't ask me how!Bring a Therma cell with plenty of refills,and a Bug Tamer suit.The saltwater skeeters are the worst I have ever seen,and I lived in Fla 47 years!The hunt ends at 3;00,so bring your fishing rods-the east pass by the camp has good redfisfing.I wouldn't swim there,because bull sharks eat redfish.The hunt is not easy,but very unique.I saw one sambar hind(doe),but didn't have a good shot,so I held my fire.Would I do it again? Not likely as I have elk within three miles of my front door.Did I enjoy the experience? Absolutley!

July 19, 2012, 04:54 PM
Ospry176 Thanks! I appreciate to information. On site experience is what I needed!

July 21, 2012, 12:48 AM
Donk,I hope you will keep me posted on your hunt.We scouted in September,just a couple days after a hurricane came through the Appalachicola area,and the island got pounded,as barrier islands are prone to. We used a fourteen foot v-hull aluminum boat for the trip,and the hunt,The inside passage is a little shorter from Indian Pass campground,but there is a nasty oyster bar between the campground and the island camp.We lost a prop on this bar and had to limp back to find a replacement.Fortunatly,the area is loaded with boats and we found one used and cheap.Afterward, we made the run to the island on the outside (ocean) side.It made for a wet run in the afternoon when the west winds kick up.We took our bikes,trailer,and tree stands over the first day we arrived to keep the weight down and padlocked them to trees.If you have a big boat and an RV,staying on the mainland wouldn't be a bad way to go.The trip took us an hour each way with an 18 horse motor,and did get wet.A pontoon boat would be ideal for carrying all the gear to camp on the island.The hunt ends at three o'clock so you can get any animal you take back to camp before dark.The NFW staff will drive the roads during the if you take a sambar,you only need to drag it to a road,and they will use a winch to load it in the truck and take it back to camp.Anyway,if you have any questions about the event,feel free to ask,I try to check the site every couple days.

July 21, 2012, 11:39 PM
For anyone contemplating this hunt be aware that the success rate is VERY low. They actually issue more licenses than there are sambar. They issue 200 permits and non-hunters (anti-hunters) apply like crazy. Usually only 125 or so show up and an average of 4 to 7 sambar are killed in a good year. Both stags and hinds are legal so you can see it is a crap shoot.

I was drawn in 2006 and had to have gall bladder surgery the day the hunt started so I missed my only opportunity. I have bowhunted the island and killed a doe but never saw a sambar .. or a red wolf. I saw rubs on magnolia trees that were chin high and covered 3/4 the diameter of 2.5 ft diam. tree.

Everything that Osprey 176 says is spot-on. Bring 2 or 3 anchors and waders and lots of fresh water - none that is drinkable is available on the island.

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