ST. Vincent Island Sambar Deer Hunt. . .need info.

Discussion in 'South' started by STEEL SLINGER, Apr 17, 2015.

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    STEEL SLINGER Well-Known Member

    Feb 17, 2012
    I have taken an interest in hunting on St. Vincent Island in the panhandle of Florida for the Sambar deer. I know you have to apply for the permit and have read over the refuge brochure, but I'm looking for some first hand knowledge of the area and maybe a few pointers from hunters who have been on this hunt. I was there with a group of friends some 20+ years ago and do remember all the bugs and rattlesnakes we encountered on our excursion, but unfortunately none of us were drawn that year and I never made it back. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.
  2. Leslie Sapp

    Leslie Sapp Well-Known Member

    Dec 1, 2013
    My wife and I drew this some years back. It's a lot of fun, but has a very low hunter success rate. The applications are accepted the first of May, you can apply as an individual or as a group.
    The island is about 8 miles long by 4 wide, encompassing about 11,500 acres of mixed sand dune, sawgrass marsh, pine uplands and oak hammock habitat. I don't think I've ever been in an area with this number of different habitats condensed into such a small area.
    The island is totally undeveloped - if you want to see a beach that looks just like it did when the Spanish got here, St. Vincent is the place. You must bring every thing you need- food, water, ice, etc. , because there are no facilities on the island.

    There is a ferry at the western end of the island, but the area you must camp in is at the eastern end, 8 miles away. You'll need a guide or a boat. The boat should be a 20' or better, high sided, offshore style vessel. Have at least three good anchors and plenty of rope, as the anchorage is very exposed to the strong northeastern winds prevalent in early December. Making the trip across Apalachicola Bay is not a big deal, even in a small bass boat, but if you have to stay up all night tending your boat in the surf, you'll not be at your best the next morning. (Don't ask me how I know this.:))

    You walk or ride a bicycle everywhere, but if you kill something, you and your game get a ride back to camp from the biologists and wardens who run the hunt.
    After walking about 4 miles in to the interior in sugar sand, carrying our stands, I looked at my wife and said, "Somethings gonna die today!". Later in the day , after we had given up on the Sambar, we stalked up a herd of wild hogs we had seen earlier in the day, and I whacked an old sow behind the ear with a .50 cal maxi-ball, drug her out to the nearest road, flagged down a passing FWC officer and rode in style back to camp!:D
    They seemed more excited about the hog than about the 7 Sambar that were killed. It seems the hogs like sea turtle eggs, but few people wanted mess up their Sambar hunt to take one out.
  3. Rooterpig

    Rooterpig Member

    Apr 1, 2018
    I hunted there 15/20 years ago. They have a camp for the sambar hunters on one side and whitetail hunters on the other side. The sambar deer seemed to know that. I saw plenty of whitetails but no sambar. I would scout the side with the whitetail camp if I ever went back. Anchor your boat ---- good.… that island goes from tropical with sunshine to cold fast.