In support of the resource management goals and objectives for the area and to provide a quality experience for all area users, the following recreation activities are allowed. The Big Bend's Hickory Mound Unit and Tide Swamp Unit Recreation Guides and Big Bend's Tide Swamp Driving Tour Guide are a useful resource when visiting this area. The 105-mile  Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail offers outstanding opportunities for paddlers to explore the Big Bend gulf 
coast.

Hunting

Hunters
Betsy Purdum

Hunter with boar
Bow hunter Eddie Francisco and 200 pound boar, Hickory Mound, September 2000

For many years, local people have hunted on the lands now constituting the Big Bend Wildlife Management Area. Hunting along with fishing continues to be the most popular recreational activity on the area.

The FWC plants non-invasive, agronomic plants such as millet and wheat on selected closed roads and clearcuts to provide high-quality forage for dove, quail, deer, and wild turkey as well as for nongame wildlife.

Opportunities are available for archery, muzzleloader, and modern gun hunting. Dog hunting is allowed on Hickory Mound and Jena. Historically duck hunting has been good on the Hickory Mound Impoundment. The impoundment can utilize ocean water through water control structures to adjust water levels, however, the dependency on rainfall is related to managing salinity levels which are critical in managing for aquatic vegetation favored by waterfowl. On Hickory Mound, deer, hog, and squirrel hunting is good, and turkey hunting is fair. On Spring Creek, deer hunting is good and is improving; hog hunting and turkey hunting are fair. On Tide Swamp, deer, hog, turkey, and small game hunting are good. On Jena all game harvest is low.

 

Hunting Regulations with Maps and Calendar

 

Fishing

Fishing

Creeks, streams, and small ponds throughout Big Bend support many species of game fish including largemouth bass, catfish, and several species of sunfish. Abandoned limerock pits on Hickory Mound have been stocked with catfish. Dallus Creek on Tide Swamp and creeks near the Hickory Mound Impoundment are good places to catch saltwater game fish. Hagen's Cove is a popular place to fish at night. At Hickory Mound, platforms are available for crabbing. Big Bend Units except Snipe Island have boat ramps providing access to the Gulf for saltwater anglers. Spotted sea trout are abundant in March and April and October and November. Reference the following maps (PDF) for boat ramp locations: Hickory Mound Unit of Big Bend WMASpring Creek Unit of Big Bend WMATide Swamp Unit of Big Bend WMA; and Jena Unit of Big Bend WMAFishing license information.

Wildlife Viewing

Hickory Mound Impoundment and Hagen's Cove are excellent spots for birding. The trams on Tide Swamp traverse diverse communities and are good spots for observing both resident and migratory birds. Hickory Mound Impoundment, Hagen's Cove, and Tide Swamp are part of the Great Florida Birding Trail. Visit the  Wildlife page for more information about the area's wildlife. You may also request a copy or download or print the  Big Bend Bird List PDF.

Hiking

Biking

Within Big Bend are over 300 miles of roads that can be used by hikers. Old trams are ideal places for hikers, birdwatchers, and photographers. Marked trails begin at Hagen's Cove and Dallus Creek.  Additionally, there are several marked trails across Snipe Island.

Biking

Biking is allowed on the more than 300 miles of roads on the area.

Horseback Riding

Horseback riding is allowed on named and numbered roads. On the Snipe Island Unit of Big Bend, horses are permitted only during  non-hunting days.  Children under the age of 16 are required to wear a helmet when riding on public lands.  For more detailed information go to Nicole's Law PDF.  All horseback riders must have proof of current negative Coggins Test results for their horses when on state lands.

Paddling

Paddling

Sea kayakers will enjoy vistas of seemingly endless salt marsh and cabbage palm hammocks along the state-designated  Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail.

Reference the following maps (PDF) for boat ramp locations: Hickory Mound Unit of Big Bend WMASpring Creek Unit of Big Bend WMATide Swamp Unit of Big Bend WMA; and Jena Unit of Big Bend WMA.

Scenic Driving

Roads pass through a variety of  natural communities and offer the exploring driver opportunities to observe  wildlife, wild flowers and much more on Florida's wild lands.

Also see  vehicle use regulations.

Camping

Camping is prohibited with the exception of seven designated island sites on the Big Bend Saltwater Paddling Trail for permitted sea kayakers only. Call (850) 488-5520 for camping permit information.



FWC Facts:
Florida is #1 in the country for total days of wildlife viewing by nonresident visitors. (8.5 million)

Learn More at AskFWC