This entry tries to address the hunting activity in the Moccasin Island Tract in Viera. I hiked it quite a few times during the winter of 2008-2009. Talking to people, hunters are always mentioned. I can see why if you try hiking it in the early winter months of November and December. During those months I have encountered a number of hunters heading out to try and bag their "trophy". Some had shotguns, while others carried some pretty impressive centerfire rifles. Most all of them where heading up into the northern section, around the Lake Winder area. While hiking up that way I have come across some of the hunters waiting for there beast of choice. Just about all of them where very nice and friendly, but I still didn't like there firepower! If you look at the map of the area you will see what areas are open to hunting, if you see a lot of vehicles in the parking lot - be aware of those areas! the SJRWMD seems to have hunting going on all winter, so be aware of the (see my hunting schedule in this blog). I would not go into their areas during deer hunting season - I have come across deer "stands" all over the St Johns River Area (SJRWMD). This is part of the River Lakes Conservation Area. So, my gemeral advice is just be watchful when you go to this area. The hunting activity is hight during the early winter and then slacks off to just about nothing after the first of the year. I have hiked the whole area and never had any trouble. I do keep an orange vest in my kit, just in case. I also try and wear brighter clothes. I always contend that it is more dangerous in a shopping center parking lot than out there hiking and enjoying the bueatiful area.
Here is a breakdown of some of those hikes to give you an idea of what I encountered - I selected one from each month.
November - A lot of hunter activity. The parking lot was full of hunters, all of them heading into the northern sections. I hiked up the northern corridor, out to Moccasin Island area. There certainly where more hunters than I felt comfortable with - but I still hiked. November is a very active hunting month
December - The hunter activity seemed to be dropping off, didn't see that many hunters or their vehicles, but some where there. I hiked south, out towards Lake Washington
January - No hunters noticed. I hiked south, out towards SJRWMD Persimmon Campsite and back to parking lot
Febuary - Some hunters, not sure what they were hunting - snipe I believe along the river. I hiked south and around conservation area
March - No hunters around, place to myself just about. I hiked up the northern corridor to Lake Winder and then back around Moccasin Island.
April - No hunters noticed. I hiked the southern loop
I suggest that you review my hunting calendar (Hunting Schedule) to see if any hunting is scheduled in the area. Hope this information helps.
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