At its meeting in St. Petersburg on July 19, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) presented Todd Fennell with the Landowner of the Year award for its Youth Hunting Program of Florida. This program strives to provide quality hunting experiences for 12- to 17-year-olds to increase the number of youths involved in the tradition of hunting.

Fennell owns Blackwater Creek Ranch in Indian River County and has opened his property to the Youth Hunting Program of Florida since 2019. The Blue Cypress Hunting Club leases the Blackwater Creek Ranch property together with 3,500 acres of adjacent property to create a 4,600-acre private hunting paradise featuring hunting, camping, fireside chats, nature walks, fishing and buggy rides enjoyed by owners, members and guests.

The property is managed by J.P. Griffin with annual tree plantings, burns and mowing to enhance native features and supplemented by feeders and food plots to supply additional forage throughout the year. Winged bird hunting has become an annual mainstay of Blackwater Creek Ranch in the past five years, with guided quail hunts occurring weekly during season and dove hunts held on two dove fields.

“Blackwater Creek Ranch is an oasis for the landowners who love wild things and wild places,” said Bill Cline, FWC’s Section Leader for Hunter Safety and Public Shooting Ranges. “It is an honor to recognize this property for the 2023 Youth Hunting Program Landowner of the Year award.”

J.P. Griffin accepted the award on Todd Fennell’s behalf.

To find out how to become a volunteer landowner or to learn more about the Youth Hunting Program of Florida, go to

Media Release: FWC