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Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where are you located?
We are on Florida’s Nature Coast (Gulf side) approximately 90 miles north of Tampa. We are 1 hour and 30 minutes north from Tampa International Airport or 1hour 45 minutes northwest from Orlando International Airport. Thereare several private airports within 15 minutes of the ranch.
2. Do you offer airport pickup?
Yes, guest pickup at the local private airports are provided at no charge, and the public airports in Tampa or Orlando, are provided for the cost of the driver, tolls, and fuel.
3. What is the total price I pay for my trip to Ross Hammock Ranch?
The total price you pay is the sum of the daily fee option (Silver or Gold) that you choose, plus the harvest or hunt fees and only if selected, the cost of the fishing. Harvest fees (Except on the non-guaranteed hunts for Florida whitetail, alligator, and /or Osceola turkey) are only due when you shoot at and hit the game targeted. Be sure to check out the “Specials” and “Packages” pages for extra savings. Also read the text on “General Pricing“ for a complete explanation.
4. Can I spend the night at the ranch?
Yes, we offer two options. With the Silver Option you come for the day, but with the Gold Option you spend the night on the ranch, with private room accommodations.
5. What is the typical day like?
With the Silver Option daily fee, you typically arrive before sunup and can hunt ALL day till dark. Lunch, snacks, and soft drinks are provided. With the Gold Option daily fee, you typically arrive around 1 or 2 pm on the day of arrival and hunt till dark. Then a full dinner is provided and lodging. On day 2, and each day thereafter, a continental breakfast and full lunch are also provided. You can hunt each day till dark. You may book and stay multiple nights.
6. What methods of hunting do you provide?
We provide 4 methods as follows: Tree stands, ground blinds, spot/stalk, and bay dogs on trophy boar. You can bring your own tree stand and/or 4 wheeler if you like.
7. Is a license required & do you provide it?
Yes we do. If you do not have one, you need not buy one because it is included in the daily fee. With gator hunts, you must purchase an AGENT license from state of Florida, and the cost is around $55.
8. What are your seasons to hunt?
We are allowed to hunt the non-native game (hogs, axis, fallow, sika, etc.) year round, but most trophy game (except for game like axis, blackbuck, buffalo, rams, etc., which some or all keep their horns year round) shedtheir antlers by mid March and return to hard antler by late August or early September. We hunt whitetail deer (any weapon) from Sept. 1st to March 1st. We hunt Osceola turkey from mid March till the end of April. While axisdeer may be hunted year round, (because each animal is on its own shed schedule) prime time for most axis bucks in hard horn is from mid March to December.
9. Do you allow bow hunters and/or cross bow hunters?
Yes, in fact we own the website www.floridabowhunting.com. All of our guides are bow hunters. We have tree stands set specifically for bow hunters. We also have 3D archery targets available for guests and many archery industry pro staffs hunt at RHR!
10. What weapons do you allow?
We allow bow, crossbow, rifle, shotgun, pistol, and muzzle loader.
11. What if I do not get a shot or if I shoot and miss?
You only pay the harvest fee (except on the non-guaranteed hunts for Florida whitetail, gator, and /or Osceola turkey) when you shoot and hit the animal.
12. Am I pressured to shoot?
No it is totally your decision as to what specific animal you elect to harvest.
13. Are kids allowed?
Yes we encourage children to participate and we stress safety, ethics, and the way of the woods and water. Kids love it here.
14. How big is the area we will be hunting?
The main ranch has 10+ miles of perimeter border. It has approximately 50% hardwood hammocks, 25% cut-downs / food-plots, and 25% upland pine forest. The ranch is one of the largest of its kind in the SE United States. TheRHR River Retreat Property, a short drive from the main Lodge has over 1 mile of river frontage on a pristine spring fed river, one of the most beautiful in the state of Florida.
15. Who cleans the game I shoot?
Included in the price of your daily fee (however there is an extra fee for extremely large game like buffalo), we will skin, quarter, and ice-down your game for you.
16. What about taxidermy?
Included in your daily fee we will skin the animal out (however there is an extra fee for extremely large game like buffalo). You may leave it with our ranch taxidermist, who can do the complete taxidermy project, or justcomplete the capeing process, or you may take it with you.
17. May I bring non-hunters/observers?
Yes, and they pay a lower daily fee to cover their lunch, snacks, soft drinks, lodging, going on the hunt, etc. Almost all of the RHR tree stands are set up to accommodate the hunter and the non-hunter and/or camera man.
18. Can my hunt be filmed?
Yes, you may bring your video camera, cameraman, and/or with advanced notice, we can arrange for a professional camera man.
19. Can I borrow a rifle?
Yes, free of charge we will provide a loaner rifle and ammunition.
20. What about gratuities/tips?
It is customary to tip the guide, and if you spend the night, to also tip the cook / maid.
21. What about trophy whitetail hunts?
We believe that we have some of the largest trophy whitetail deer in the SE United States. Several years ago we brought in trophy genetic whitetails from Oklahoma, Texas, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Canada. We now have what we believe to be one the largest breeding herds of Florida acclimated northern/western strain whitetails in the state. As these deer age, the B&C scores will grow each year. In the 2002 and 2003 seasons we took whitetails in the 140 to 150 B&C range. In the 04 thru 06 seasons we have had Whitetail bucks taken in the 160 to 190 B&C range. Now, deer scoring into the mid to upper B&C 200’s are taking every year! We offer both guaranteed (no kill no pay) hunts based on a the antler size / age of the deer and low cost non-guaranteed hunts for Florida genetic whitetail where you pay a flat fee regardless of size of the whitetail buck taken.
22. What about special food requests?
Yes, with advanced notice we will try to accommodate any special dietary requests.
23. Can you accommodate groups?
Yes, we actually specialize in handling groups and/or corporate events. We have handled events with up to 200 guests.
24. What is included in the price of the fish trips offered?
Everything is included, such as the boat, fishing guide / captain, your license, rods / reels, bait, fuel, etc. We will even clean the fish for you!
25. What type of fishing do you offer?
We offer full and half day trips for either salt water flats fishing or fresh water bass fishing. We offer full day trips only for trophy tarpon or off shore bottom fishing/trolling.
26. I’m still not sure, can I just come and look around?
First we suggest you get a copy of our 90-minute ranch tour DVD. We also offer a two hour tour (minimum 2 people) for $50/PP and if you book a hunt within 90 days, it is all applied to the cost of your hunt.
27. Who is your typical customer?
We have guests from all walks of life from construction workers, truck drivers, law enforcement officers, firemen, military, etc. We also have lots of professional football players, baseball players, entertainers, etc. We treat everyone the same regardless of their occupation or cost of their hunt. We also have lots of father / child and/or mother / child hunts and fish trips. Many of our guests could afford to hunt anywhere in the world, but they don’t have the time to do a lot of scouting or to spend a week or two in Alaska or Africa, so they come here instead. A lot of our customers no longer want to travel a long distance by plane or deal with airport security, so they come here instead.
28. Is the ranch fenced?
We have both high fence and no fence property. By Florida state law, when you have non-native game such as axis deer, you MUST fence that portion. Ross Hammock Ranch has 10+ miles of fenced border, approximately 5 timesthe size of most other hunting preserves in Florida. This is one reason why Ross Hammock Ranch has become the premiere facility of its kind in the SE United States so quickly.
29. What can my non-hunting spouse do at the ranch?
They can go on the hunt as an observer or they can do other activities available in this area. Go to the “Other Fun” tab of this website for a complete activity listing and links to other related local sites.
30. Do I need a reservation?
Yes, all of our guests arrive via reservation only. Once you make your reservation, a deposit is required, and we will send you a detailed map and directions.
31. What methods of payment do you accept?
We accept Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, personal checks, cashier check, money orders, or cash.
32. Do you accept first time hunters?
Yes, we have many first time hunters or first time bow hunters hunt with us very frequently. At no extra fee, we will take the time to teach you how to hunt or bow hunt including sighting in your rifle/bow, equipment selection, tree stand use, tracking, game cleaning, etc.
33. Is there a place close by to purchase hunting supplies?
Yes, less than 1 mile from the ranch there is a hunting and archery pro shop.
34. Are there medical facilities close by?
Yes, Seven Rivers Hospital is approximately 5 miles from the ranch. For special events we can arrange to have a RN on site.
35. Do I have to sign a liability waiver?
Yes, upon sign in you will be asked to sign a liability waiver acknowledging that hunting is done at your own risk.
36. Do you have a place to sight in weapons?
Yes, we have ranges for both guns and bows.
37. What are your success rates?
Our success rates are very high across the board but vary somewhat by species. On the non trophy hogs, buffalo, and management game hunts we are close to 100% shot opportunity. Our guides are on the property everyday so they do the scouting for your hunt BEFORE your arrival. On trophy hogs and trophy deer we are less than 100% but still very high success rates. Regardless, on guaranteed hunts you do not pay a trophy/harvest fee unless you get a shot opportunity, you do shoot, and in fact do hit the animal. On Osceola turkey we have been close to 100% sightings of birds on all hunts, and about 60% shot opportunity.
38. Do you have food plots on the ranch?
Yes, we have several food plots, cut-overs, and electric game feeders on the ranch that we maintain year round.
39. What do you use for ranch transportation?
We maintain a fleet of several vehicles that include 4 wheelers, Polaris Rangers, Jeep Scramblers, Ford F-150 4 X 4 Crew cabs, etc. We match the right vehicle to the hunter, the hunt, and weather conditions.
40. How long has the ranch been in operation?
The ranch has been owned by Harold R. Ross and family since the1990’s.
41. If I book a hunt for a certain species do I have to take that species?
No, if during your hunt you see another species that you prefer to take, then you may do so at no penalty. You pay for the species you take not for the one you originally booked. Also if during your hunt you decide to take additional animals, then you only pay the harvest fee for that animal. You do not pay more than one daily fee per person, per day.
42. I still want to hunt when other state run seasons are closed, can I?
Yes, a lot of hunters want something to hunt in the “off season”, say after spring turkey season is over. This is a great time to schedule a hunt at Ross Hammock Ranch for trophy boar, meat / BBQ hogs, trophy axis bucks, trophy blackbucks, management does (like axis, fallow, red deer, etc.), or trophy rams.