I am a hunting enthusiast. For me, hunting is not only a sport but also a way to explore and challenge myself. I enjoy feeling the passion and excitement of life in nature and sharing the joy and experience of hunting with like-minded friends. Last month, my colleagues Tyler Barrett, Sarah Leighton, and I went hunting at Ocala National Forest. An unforgettable journey gave me a deeper understanding and awe of this beautiful land and its wildlife.
Located in central Florida, Ocala National Forest is one of the oldest national forests in the United States and one of the largest sand pine forests. It covers over 600 square miles with diverse landscapes and ecosystems such as swamps, rivers, lakes, hot springs, dunes, etc., making it home to many wild animals, including deer, bears, foxes, groundhogs, birds, etc. It is a paradise for hunters and an ideal place for outdoor activities such as hiking, boating, fishing, etc.
We chose night hunting because it allowed us to better observe nocturnal animals while avoiding high temperatures during daytime hours when crowds are present. Of course, there were challenges and risks associated with night hunting, such as poor visibility, loss of direction, encountering dangerous animals, etc. We needed professional equipment to ensure safety and efficiency, among which infrared binoculars were most important. Infrared binoculars enabled us to see targets clearly in darkness while recording our process & results. We chose Wildguarder’s infrared binoculars from China because they have advantages like high-definition magnification, durability cost-effectiveness, making them essential tools for night hunters.
In this article, I will share our experiences during night hunting at Ocala National Forest, along with celebrating local cuisine & scenery appreciation events. Through my narration, I hope you can feel the pleasure & charm of night hunting while gaining more comprehensive and in-depth knowledge of Ocala National Forest and Wildguarder.
Before we started night hunting, we spent some time learning about the history, geography, and ecological characteristics of Ocala National Forest as well as interesting sights & activities. As mentioned earlier, it is one of the oldest national forests in America and the largest sand pine forest in central Florida. It covers over 600 square miles with diverse landscapes and ecosystems such as swamps, rivers, hot springs, dunes, etc. It is also home to many wild animals, including deer, bears, foxes, groundhogs, birds, etc.
We first visited Fort King National Historic Landmark, which was once a military fortress in the United States and is now a museum showcasing local history and culture. We saw some restored buildings and artifacts there and stories about conflicts and peace between Native Americans and colonizers. We also participated in interactive activities such as shooting, crafting, and wearing historical costumes. We learned a lot about the predecessor of Ocala National Forest and its development.
Then we went to Juniper Springs, a beautiful hot spring area with clear water surrounded by lush vegetation. Before renting canoes and kayaks to enter Juniper Run River through the spring outlet, we swam and snorkeled there. It’s an incredibly beautiful primitive river with dense subtropical forests on both sides, where you can see various fish species and aquatic plants due to its crystal-clear water. We paddled for about four hours while enjoying natural scenery peacefully along the way while spotting wildlife like deer, turtles, herons, etc.
Next up was Ocala Centennial OHV Trail, designed specifically for off-road vehicles & motorcycle enthusiasts. We rented some 4-wheel drive cars & motorcycles to experience excitement & fun driving around in the forested area. The trail has different difficulty levels ranging from flat sandy terrain to steep hillsides or narrow paths, so we challenged ourselves on different terrains while admiring diverse views & styles of natural beauty along our journey, meeting other off-roading enthusiasts and exchanging tips & experiences.
Finally, we went to Salt Springs Recreation Area, another hot spring area. Still, unlike Juniper Springs, this one had salty mineral content giving it a unique taste & feel when soaking into it, relaxing our body-mind-soul after all-day-long adventures exploring Ocala National Forest’s wonders! We tasted local specialties such as grilled fish, corn fries, etc., and met locals who shared stories/legends about this magical land!
We gained comprehensive knowledge/impressions of Ocala National Forest through these activities. We discovered that it’s a great hunting spot and an excellent place for exploration and learning. We felt lucky & happy to have experienced this beautiful/magical land firsthand.
We began our long-awaited night hunting adventure after visiting some attractions/activities in Ocala National Forest. We chose a bright moonlit night to make it easier to see nocturnal animals such as foxes, owls, raccoons, etc. We selected a remote location away from people so we could be quiet & concealed while avoiding disturbing other visitors or wildlife.
We started preparing at dusk by checking/equipping our firearms, ammunition, flashlights, compasses, maps, food, water, etc., with the most important equipment being wildguarder’s infrared binoculars which allowed us to see targets/environment in the dark while recording our hunting process/results. We chose wildguarder because of its high-definition clarity, magnification, durability cost-effectiveness making it essential gear for nighttime hunting.
We divided into two small groups, each with two people. One was responsible for the shooting, and the other was for observation and direction. We kept in touch through walkie-talkies, reporting our situation and location to each other. Slowly walking along a path into the forest, we scanned around with infrared binoculars to search for and track traces of prey. Soon we discovered some movements – some were small animals such as squirrels, rabbits, hedgehogs, etc., while others were larger animals like deer, wild boars, groundhogs, etc. We selected suitable prey based on our preferences and targets and quietly approached them, waiting for the best shooting opportunity.
During night hunting, we encountered various situations and challenges, such as poor visibility, losing direction, encountering dangerous animals, etc. However, with the help of our infrared binoculars and good cooperation and communication, all difficulties could be solved smoothly. We also enjoyed the excitement and fun of night hunting, feeling close contact with nature and wildlife creatures. After several hours of hunting, we harvested several trophies – some left as souvenirs while others were taken back as food.
Through this night hunt, not only did we improve our own hunting skills, but we enhanced friendship & trust between colleagues too! We are very satisfied & grateful towards Wildguarder’s infrared binoculars, which allowed us to see more clearly further away & safer in darkness; perhaps this night hunt would have been impossible without it!
After finishing up our night hunt activities at Ocala National Forest, we returned to our camping site, where celebrations began by lighting up a bonfire and placing some hunted game meat over it, emitting an enticing aroma. We also brought out other foods & drinks like bread, cheese, fruits, beer, whiskey, etc., preparing ourselves for a sumptuous dinner.
While eating together, everyone shared their experiences during the night hunt discussing interesting moments throughout the journey praising one another joking around about funny incidents that occurred during their hunt. We also replayed some videos and photos taken with the infrared binoculars analyzing our hunting process and results. We discussed some hunting techniques, tips, knowledge & information about wildlife creatures too! In a relaxed and happy atmosphere, we deepened our understanding of each other.
After dinner, we increased the bonfire size to start entertainment activities. Some people brought out guitars or harmonicas singing songs – some popular while others folk or even related to hunting themes. Some danced to the music – rock, country, or self-composed performances, etc. Others shared jokes & stories – humorous scary, mysterious, etc. Amidst laughter & screams, everyone felt the joy and charm of night hunting.
After playing for a while, we lay down in our tents, preparing for rest, but before sleeping, one more thing was needed: looking up at the starry sky! The stars in Ocala National Forest were very beautiful and spectacular because there was no light pollution nor noise interference, so countless stars twinkled above us. We used infrared binoculars to observe constellations and planets, making wishes & dreams about this natural beauty.
This is how my colleagues Tyler Barrett and Sarah Leighton experienced their night hunt journey at Ocala National Forest. It was an unforgettable trip that gave me a deeper insight into this beautiful land’s wildlife creatures, inspiring awe towards them all! I also developed greater love & gratitude towards Wildguarder’s infrared binoculars, which allowed me to see more clearly and further away & safer in darkness; perhaps this night hunt would have been impossible without it!
Through my narration, I hope you can feel the fun and charm of night hunting plus gain a comprehensive understanding of Ocala National Forest and Wildguarder too! If you like hunting or want to try it out, I recommend going to Ocala National Forest using Wildguarder’s infrared binoculars. You will have an unforgettable experience on your night hunting journey.
Thank you for reading and following along. If you have any questions or opinions, please feel free to leave a message or contact me. I also look forward to hearing your own night-hunting stories and experiences. Once again, thanks to Ocala National Forest, Wildguarder, plus my colleagues Tyler Barrett & Sarah Leighton. I hope we can go on another night hunt, exploring more beauty and wonders.