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Native Floridian

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  1. Memories of Fantastic Hunts Let's take a closer look at that hog with a smirk on his face & a lot more. Our Florida has so much to offer the sportsmen/women of our great land. As seen through the eyes of Florida native who has been hunting our state for 70 years. For many of us hunting is much more than a pass time; it’s a way of life. As we know all too well many of our hunting lands are now covered with asphalt and gone forever. One thing that can never be taken for us is our memories; ‘Memories of Fantastic Hunts.’To me sharing with fellow sportsmen/women is just as important as the hunt. Come along as we take a close look at hunting yesterday & today.I will never forget the thrills of duck and snipe hunting: Who could ever forget wading through a swamp and praying for rain, wind, and cold; that’s when the ducks fly.How about hunting the edges of that swamp for snipe. To say snipes are hard to hit would be an understatement. Once you hear that ‘peep’ forget it; this tricky little bird has your number.Another bird that more often than not ‘has your number’ is the wild turkey. It’s often said that a turkey’s eyesight is incredible; that’s an under-statement. Chances are he will see you before you see him. Deer & Elk For a Florida native who had never seen snow hunting deer in the high, snow covered, mountains of Maine was an experience I will remember until the end of time. Hour after hour I trailed this beautiful buck in over a foot of fresh snow. Often I would catch a glimpse of him, but never a good shot. He stops for a split second and looks at me… HUGE mistake. My BAR 7mm mag did its thing.Up next, Elk hunting in New Mexico. As in Maine the mountains are high and the snow is deep.This trophy Elk answered my call. There he is, but he is so far away. I rested my trusted BAR, took careful aim, and unleashed the awesome power of that 7 mm mag. Elk down, Elk down & out.It’s been over forty years now since I hunted in snow. But I can never forget ‘Memories of Fantastic Hunts’ in Maine & New Mexico.Up next it's back home; back home to Florida wild boar hunting.I have been hunting hogs in Florida for over sixty years. Unfortunately at 78 I can no longer hunt as I did for so many years. I remember the last hog I shot on my own. What an experience. I was hunting one of my favorite Buck & Boar Hunting Club stands. Some really nice hogs appear, but no trophies. Then, all of a sudden, the hog of my dreams appears.This monster is BIG, really BIG. You are mine; so I thought. I was well concealed in my dark hut; no way he could see me. So I thought. Slowly I reached for my trusted Marlin .45-70 Stainless Guide Gun. With a smirk on his face he looks at me straight in the eye and bolts saying" You will never get me; I am way too smart for you!" This is getting personal. I will never forget that smirk. Went back to the same stand the next day; he was a no show. Went back again the next evening, Christmas Eve. It was cold and raining. So What! I will get you! To say I was miserable would be an understatement. But this is personal. How would you feel if a hog laughed in you face and took off? Then, just before the sun went down, a bush behind my feeder moves. This time I was ready. After a couple of minutes this monster hog with the big smirk on his face pokes his head out and looks directly at me. BIG mistake! That .45-70 405 gr bullet knocks that smirk off his face. It was dark, bitter cold, and raining. I was miserable to the max; miserable but happy. I put him in my sled, dragged him to my 4X4 Tacoma, and, with the help of my winch: I loaded him into the bed of my truck. I was twenty miles from camp. The dirt roads were wet & sloppy; four-wheel-drive most of the way. It took well over an hour to reach camp. I was ever so tired; ever so wet & cold. My intention was to let BIG boy hang until morning. However, the Christmas Day weather forecast called for much colder, much more rain, and windy. I dressed the hog; hung him in the cooler, took a hot shower, ate a late night dinner, got my Airstream trailer up to about 90 degrees, and hit the sack. The next thing I remember it was late Christmas evening.Due to advanced age I can no longer hunt as I once hunted. Give up hunting? NO WAY! For over six years now I have been hunting with Perry Florida's Two Guys And A Hog. "Memories of Fantastic Hunts' are still on-going. Check out the video from my latest Two Guys Hunt.click on the YouTube link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBb7c_Mxvbs
  2. FUN IN THE SUN Was going to wait until the 39 hour Friday trip to showcase our Florida. When Tammy returned with these wonderful pictures I had to share. Not a single minute of the entire 39 hours is wasted. Let's go deep: The amount of fish out here is staggering. And they are BIG... Just finished a very detailed most informative report on sharks entitled 'Shark World.'They are fascinating! The more you read the more you want to read. Did you know sharks have been on our earth 100 times longer than mankind. Did you know a Great White Shark as 3,000 teeth? That's just the beginning. Be sure to check out 'Shark World' on sportsmen forums or send me an E. Mail and I will forward a copy. [email protected] Check out the video from the 7.14.20 trip. I included some shark fights at the end. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7RX5KND_qs
  3. SHARK WORLD Sharks have fascinated mankind ever since man first went to sea. But what are they? Let's take a look: Sharks belong to a group of creatures known as cartilaginous fishes because most of their skeleton is made from cartilage rather than bone. The only part of their skeleton not made from this soft flexible tissue is their teeth. The earliest shark fossils date back almost 450 million years. Dinosaurs did not appear until 230 million years ago meaning sharks have lived about three times as long as dinosaurs, and 100 times as long as man. How dangerous are sharks? As of 2015 there have been 2,899 known shark attacks world wide resulting in 548 fatalities. The greater majority of these attacks have come for Great Whites: The Great White is the most dangerous shark with a recorded 314 unprovoked attacks on humans. And this really BIG, 1,500 to 2,430 pound, boy has the equipment to back that massive size up. The Great White Shark may have up to 3,000 teeth at any one time with five rows of teeth at any given time. The front set of teeth is the largest and does most of the biting. The Great White may grow and use more than 20,000 teeth in its lifetime. This really big, dangerous, creature is able to tear and consume up to 30 pounds of flesh with each bite. The force of each bite can measure over one ton per square inch. (source: Dingerkus) As we all know without being properly vented Biotrauma is a threat to most catch-and release deep water fish. Not only Great Whites, but many sharks can have 3,000 sharp, very sharp, teeth. Probably not too good of an idea to 'attempt' to vent a shark. Fortunately, with no swim bladder, venting is not necessary. A shark's liver contains high levels of oily lipids. This gives the shark more or less neutral buoyancy, meaning the shark has roughly the same density as seawater. Having neutral buoyancy relative to the seawater makes it easier for the shark to swim; and swim they do. The Great White Shark can swim at 25 mph with short burst to 35 mph. The Mako Shark can hit 60 mph. Take a look at what one bite from a shark can do to a large American Red Snapper: Terrible! In years gone by we thought it was our duty to kill as many sharks as we could. We now know differently. As apex predators sharks play an important role in the ecosystem by maintaining the specie below them in the food chain. They help remove the weak and the sick as well as keeping the balance with competitors helping to ensure species diversity. As anglers we appreciate a good fight. Sharks are to be respected; they give us a fight never to be forgotten: Mr. John Martin has been in a fight for the ages. He will thank the Sandbar Shark for giving all he had to give, ask him to smile for the camera, and release him to fight again; to help preserve our oceans: Sharks have fascinated mankind ever since man first went to sea. And they still do! Catch the shark-fighting video: https://youtu.be/XxcN4qOSM8M Credits: Wikipedia N Tamura Dingerkus Encyclopedia Britannica
  4. I first started hog hunting decades ago in various management areas; then private clubs.My first hunting club, late fifties, was a small club just outside Floral City, Florida. Loved it: After that my wife & I were members of Buck & Boar Hunting Club, Madison Florida, for twenty years: The hog hunting was absolutely fantastic. We averaged over 30 a year. We fed about 1/2 of Madison. At Buck & Boar, different from management areas, we had our own private sights. We scouted the 16,000 acres, found really good spots & set up feeders & stands: These stands were 20 miles from any paved road. We hunted them for years. My Airstream trailer is still there. I can go back any time I so desire. If I could still walk... I WOULD!I shot the last hog I harvested on my own at my Buck & Boar stand sight above. Remember it like it was yesterday.All of a sudden the hog of my dreams appears. This monster was big, really BIG. I was well concealed in my dark hut; no way he could see me. So I thought! Slowly I reached for my trusted .45-70. With a smirk on his face he looked at me straight in the eye & bolted. You will never get me; I am better than you! This is getting personal. I will never forget that smirk. 'I will get you!'Went back to the same stand the next evening. He was a NO SHOW!Evening number three. It was very cold and raining. This was Christmas Eve. Just before the sun went down I noticed a bush behind my feeder move. I pulled my gun immediately. After a couple of minutes this monster hog with the big smirk on his face poked his head out and looks at me. This time I was ready. I knocked that smirk off his face. It was dark, bitter cold, an raining; I was miserable to the max; miserable but happy. I put him in my sled, dragged him to my 4x4 Tacoma, and, with the help of my winch, loaded him into the back of my truck. I was over 20 miles from camp. The dirt roads were wet & muddy. I put that Tacoma through its paces; it did just fine. Took over an hour to finally reach camp. I was wet, cold, and very tired. My intention was to let him hang until morning. The Christmas day weather forecast called for very cold with heavy rain. Decided to butcher him & let him hang in the walk-in cooler. Took a hot shower, ate dinner, got that Airstream up to about 90. Next thing I remember it was late Christmas day. Best Christmas gift ever... Knocking the smirk of that hog's face.Miss doing things like that dearly. If I still could... I would!
  5. Celebrating the birth of our nation with a trophy hog In the beginning the peoples who called America home were slaves of Great Britain. The English men came here for business., however, after a short time they started to govern and take complete control. NO WAY! The people of America began to fight for their liberty. After a long revolution the thirteen colonies of America declared independence from Great Britain. On July 4, 1776 the Second Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration proclaimed that the thirteen colonies then at war with Great Britain were now a sovereign, independent nation. The United States of America was born. We are a proud nation, a free nation. On July 4 of every year we give thanks for our freedom; thanks to our forefather who were more than willing to give everything they had to give in the name of freedom. We are FREE to give thanks in our own way. Traditionally many celebrate by watching fireworks displays, and family bar-b-que in the back yard. My back yard was, is, my home-away-from home; my hunting camp: Talk about a way to celebrate the birth of a nation: And what a home it was. The hunting and camp life was absolutely outstanding. My wife & I hunted Buck & Boar for twenty years. Our camp had everything... An Airstream trailer, huge cook shed, running water, a very nice bath house, as well as a walk-in cooler. During our last five years of married life we were both retired. We would spend the entire hunting season at camp. The hog hunting was so good we would often fill the cooler ourselves. Shortly after our last hunt cancer took my loving wife of 39 years; the mother of our three daughters. A lot of me went with her. Forget hunting; I did not even care much about living, but life goes on. Today our camp is still at Buck & Boar. To go back alone would be more than I could take. I have always been very patriotic. I believe in our great Country. In... I believe in hunting and fishing. The Governor of Florida, Governor DeSantis' has made it very clear that... After balancing on boat decks, and charging through swamps, for well over sixty years I find that I can no longer do what I once did. My fishing is done through the eyes of my good friends John & Tammy. What what about hunting? Several years ago I found another home-away-from home. Enter Perry Florida's Two Guys & A Hog. I have been a regular ever since. My guide, Francisco, is the best guide I have ever worked with. He is more that willing to go that extra mile to make sure this old man has the best hunt he can possibly have. July 4, 2020, excitement is building: Francisco is ready to take me to my hunting blind. I wanted to hunt in the wide-open field. He strongly suggested I hunt this long fence line way in back. "Bob, a trophy boar has a run-way along that fence; that's your best chance." OK! let's go get him. As Francisco opens the gate little did we know what we were in for: As we get close to my hut we see him. The monster is 100 yards out and looking straight at us. In a instant he charges. Within a matter of seconds he is all but on-top of us. I have been chased numerous times at Buck & Boar. Me and my .45-70 Marlin Stainless Guide Gun would quickly send them to that great hog-heaven in the sky. This was different; the Marlin as still in its case. I froze! Luckily Francisco didn't. That monster with huge cutters is five feet away. This man-among-men yelled so loud it startled the beast. See that littler lean to in the picture by my hut; he ran through it and out the back. Talk about going the extra mile, Francisco saved me from serious bodily harm. From now on my trusted Marlin will be ready to go. Look at the track left by that monster in back of my hut: It's man against beast! Who will win? This is the electric corn feeder I will be hunting by: As Francisco attempts to spread more corn, the beast charges again. Watch, 37 seconds into the accompanying video, that BIG Boar chase my trusted Guide. This has got to STOP. Stop it I will! I am confident my .45-70 will get the job done: Love the .45-70 tradition. Did you know it was born during the black powder buffalo hunting days of the Old West? He is BIG, mean, and ready for a fight; SO AM I! He is looking straight at me. Is he going to charge? Try it! I put the cross-hairs of my 3X9 Nikon scope between his eye, and, ever so gently, touch the trigger. The awesome power of that .45-70 is on its way. Hog down; hog down & out. Watch that 405 grain ULTRAMAX, 2:10 minutes into the video, do what it does best: Watch the end-the-field video. You must see it to believe it! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBb7c_Mxvbs On July 4 of every year we give thanks for our freedom; thanks to our forefather who were more than willing to give everything they had to give in the name of freedom.
  6. Getting ready for American Red Snapper & Gag Grouper 2020 season As we know all too well the coronavirus is severely limiting us from doing so many things we really want to do. Fishing is no exception. Many of us fish on headboats. For federally permitted for-hire vessels/headboats the American Red Snapper (ARS) season and Gag Grouper season begins June 1, 2020. ARS season will close at 12:01 August 2, 2020. Gag Grouper will remain open the remainder of the year. Due to the required social-distancing load limits will be severely restricted. Most headboats are completely sold out for the entire month of June, and most of July. Suggest booking ASAP, and be sure to check the availability due to cancellations. Seven spots just opened up on the Florida Fisherman ll overnight (39) hour 6/16 trip. These trips have a two day possession limit (4 ARS, 4 Gag Grouper) they will fill quickly. Why is Red Snapper & Gag Grouper seasons so popular; so highly anticipated? Let's take a look: 2016 2017 2018 2019 As we know all too well the coronavirus is severely limiting us from doing so many things we really want to do. Our stress level is often off-the-chart. For those of us who love to be on the water there is... Catch the trip video: https://youtu.be/COOcaH9t7lo
  7. SHARKS Sharks have been around for a very long time. With fossil records dating back 400 million years, sharks have outlived the dinosaurs. Sharks have fascinated humans ever since mankind first took to the sea. That fascination turned to fear when, 3000 BC, ocean-going technology flourished. Today there are more than 1,000 specie of sharks. Sharks are needed as the apex predators of the oceans. As an apex predator sharks are considered to be at the top of the food chain. Their role is to keep other marine life in healthy balance and to regulate the oceans. The prospect of a food chain minus its apex predators could easily result in the end of the line for many more species. Today, even after more than 5,000 years, we are still fascinated by shark. Let's take a look at three of the fastest: At speeds up to 60 mph the Mako Shark is the fastest shark in the world. Makos have an extremely streamlined body that is shaped like a torpedo. This helps minimize drag as this fastest of the fast cruises through the water. The Maco is considered dangerous to humans because of its attack speed and ability to jump into fishing boats. At 50 mph the Salmon Shark is the second fastest shark on the planet. Salmon sharks are considered dangerous because of their size, up to 10 foot long and over 600 pounds, and aggressive nature. However, they seldom attack humans. The Great White Shark: Great White Sharks can be very fast, 25 mph, large, and extremely dangerous. The average weight of a male Great White ranges from 1,150 to 1,700 pounds. The female Great Whites from 1,500 to 2,450 are even heaver. Currently the Great White has been connected to 403 attacks, and 65 fatalities (source ISAF). Sharks are strong an always ready for a fight. Catch three shark fights on the following video, May 2020, while fishing the Florida Middle Grounds from the head-boat Florida Fisherman ll: https://youtu.be/gpHkTybDLs4 Credits: Media Drum World ISAF Sharks-World Wikipedia
  8. I remember Tampa Part 2 Part 1 has generate so many memories for so many. Decided to do a Part 2. I am a proud Tampa native who has lived in Tampa my entire 78 years. I learned to love the city and its people. In the seventies I worked for Tarnow Fine Meats. Tarnow specialized in... Paul Tarnow, Owner/President, insisted on producing the very best. Hamburger meat was no exception. I know, I watched Roy, the #1 man in hamburger, make it, and I sold it. Only the very best Argentina beef was ever used. Why Argentina beef? Let's take a look. Argentinian beef, per Wikipedia, has earned a reputation of being some of the world's best. In the 16th century the Spanish introduced cattle to the 289,577 square mile prairie to Argentina. The humid climate and seemingly endless, flat, prairie lands were absolutely perfect for growing cow-friendly grass. The Argentina cattle graze on rich pampas grass resulting in leaner, more flavorful and nutritious beef. Remember Biff Burger? I sold them fresh, never frozen, Tarnow hamburger meat. The restaurant business has always been very competitive. Every restaurant wants to have something know as 'their-thing'! For Biff Burger their 'thing' was dipping their hamburgers in a special, very tasty, sauce: That sauce was absolutely fantastic. Spent many afternoons at my favorite Dale Mabry Biff Burger: Unfortunately the Biff Burger is long gone, but the water tower still stands today. Biff Burger was good, very good. But Burger Chef was even better. I also sold them fresh, never frozen, Argentina ground beef: Prices were a 'little' different way back when: Why was Burger Chef so good? That question could easily be answered with the first visit. This was different, really different: The 'WORKS BAR' was nothing but fantastic. You yourself piled on whatever you like best: Wow! Did we ever pile it on: Part 1 has generate so many memories for so many. Decided to do a Part 2. I will never forget Biff Burger and Burger Chef. Anyone else remember going there?
  9. Best part of being a Granddad To me the 'Best part of being a Granddad' is watching your Grandkids grow up to be adults you can be proud of and doing the things you love so much. My Granddaughter, Danielle, and her children, my Great-Grandkids, like me, live to fish. The family that fishes together stays together. Nothing better after a hard day's fishing than... Best part of being a Granddad Our children are the greatest gifts we could ever hope for.
  10. Hunting & Fishing Are Essential The Governor of our state, Ron DeSantis, has declared that hunting & fishing are essential. In addition, thanks to our President, President Trump, our public lands are witnessing an 'Unprecedented Expansion.' Per Mr. Toby Benoit, 'New opportunities for hunters', Wood'nWater Magazine, May-page 14, "We are witnessing the, largest single effort to expand hunting and fishing access in recent history. 1.4 million acres are being opened. A sizable chunk of that is right here in Florida." In addition, "the Trump administration plans to open an additional 2.3 million acres of land for hunting. These lands will be opened at more than 100 national wildlife refuges aiming at giving Americans more access to public lands." The St. Pete times report that over 34,000 cases of coronavirus has been confirmed in Florida. We desperately need an outlet. Now, more than ever... Hunting & Fishing Are Essential. Thank you Governor DeSantis & President Trump. Our great outdoors are not just for boys, girls, the young, the old, but for everyone. Now, through pictures, let's take a close look at what we love so much: Those, 'Anglers for Conservation' BIG smiles are for real: And the smiles do not stop there: Florida has one of the largest Wildlife Management Areas (WMA) systems in the country. Many offer good hunting. I know; I have hunted the following: Avon Park, Richloam, Croom, Ocala, Green Swamp, Gulf Hammock, Citrus, and Aucilla. Want much better hunting, fewer restrictions, less pressure, more creature features. Private Hunt Clubs can offer much more than any WMA. My wife an I were members of Madison County's Buck And Boar Hunting Club for 20 years: Today, decades later, Buck & Boar is still going strong. Is this Club really that good? You had better believe it! B&B has always been, and remains, a family orientated Hunting Club. As we know all to well these are stressful times. Family unity, family team-work, is more important than ever. The family that hunts/fishes together stays together: My granddaughter, Danielle, and great granddaughter, Delilah: Father Daughter: Father Son: The Governor of our state, Ron DeSantis, has declared that hunting & fishing are essential. Credits: Woods'nWater Magazine Toby Benoit Anglers for Conservation Mile Connen St. Pete Times. Wikipedia
  11. Visiting Madeira Beach During the early fifties I first visited Madeira Beach, Florida. The 2.5 miles of white, sun bleached, beach and warm, tropical, crystal clear waters was as close to Paradise on Earth as you could get. Legend holds that a pirate named John LeVique was the first European to settle in the Madeira Beach area. In 1980 Captain Wilson Hubbard helped convince the city to permit building of a public waterfront boardwalk close to John's Pass Bridge. It was an immediate hit. Today John's Pass Village is best know for its 1,100 foot boardwalk, shopping, eating, and spectacular Intracoastal views: John's Pass Village has become a very popular attraction, yet it retains the feeling of a rustic fishing village where people can still find humble lodging while enjoying Florida's simple pleasures like strolling along the waterfront, dolphin watching, nature cruising, and of course, catching and eating fish. Tourist flock to watch the 1/2 day head boats unload: Think the fun stops when the sun goes down? Think again! An now, the best for last. EATING!!! The Friendly Fisherman Restaurant is different, really different. For starters the Captain's breakfast is a 'little' different; different but absolutely outstanding. This morning delight starts out with three fluffy eggs, and then the best parts, scallops, gulf shrimp, and fresh caught Mahi-mahi. For lunch the best of Florida fresh caught grouper sandwiches is hard to beat. Dinner: How about starting out with something a 'little' different... Gator Bites with swamp sauce. Don't know which is better, scallops or fried to perfection corn fritters: Obviously more test are needed And my very favorite, oysters. Must admit I have never had oysters like this before: Can't decide? No problem! Let's try a sea-food platter with everything: Hopefully some day soon we will once again be enjoying our, 'Paradise on Earth'! If the truth be known that's not really me up in the sky. Visiting Madeira Beach Credits: City of Madeira Beach, Florida St. Pete Times Hubbard's Marina CREPIT Visiting Florida Wikipedia
  12. Fishing for Trout and Redfish yesterday and today I remember like it was 'yesterday' fishing for Trout and Redfish. For me yesterday was the late forties. The place was the far off Tampa Middle Grounds: When you are fishing in a 14 foot row boat with a 2 HP 'kicker' 2-3 miles off shore is a long ways. The Trout and Red Fishing on the thick grass flats was outstanding. And, in addition, the entire area was loaded with blue crabs. While fishing we would always put over a crab trap: And for good reason. Broiled to perfection Trout and Redfish, stuffed with fresh blue crab meat, was a meal never to be forgotten: In later years I remember listening to the Captain of Captains on the radio, Captain Mel Berman. He was one of the very best. One day I was wade fishing the grass flats near Honeymoon Island when I noticed this gentleman catching one trout after another, and then a red fish. As I approached I found out why. That gentleman was none other than Captain Mel Berman: We became good friends. Captain Mel knew fishing like the back of his hand. His radio show, "Tampa Bay Outdoors" began on WFLA in 1984 and lasted for more than quarter-century. While other broadcasters such as Salty Sol had broadcast fishing reports for years on radio and television, Captain Mel developed the Bay area's first successful marriage of fishing information and the call-in talk radio format. Captain Mel Berman passed away February 8, 2010. Today we follow fishing information on Florida's own Woods'nWater Magazine, and Captain Dylan Hubbard's Live Stream Question and Answer Sunday evening show: Woods'nWater often features young boys and girls fishing: Want to know the latest about Trout and Red Fishing? Before answering questions about fishing Captain Dylan shared these pictures with us: Got to go! My Daughter, Dee, is bringing Dad homemade chicken and dressing: I remember like it was 'yesterday' fishing for Trout and Redfish. For me yesterday was the late forties. The place was the far off Tampa Middle Grounds: CREDITS: Captain Dylan Hubbard Woods'nWater magazine Cmarcucci
  13. Thanks to fellow '61 Jesuit graduate, Mr. Monte Alfonso... For sharing with us... I Remember Tampa, by Tampa Natives This brings back a lot of fond memories. I worked for Tarnow for ten years. I sold Tarnow Whole Hog Sausage: I grew up a few blocks from Mirabella's. Will never forget their oyster and soft shell crab baskets. Loved those .15 cent burgers: I sold hamburger meat to: This was a good one: We still have KFC. But the prices are a 'little' different: Saved the best to last. On Friday nights the Sweden House would feature king crab legs on its buffet. I was a regular. Will never forget emptying a huge tray by myself. Speaking of fine food, who could ever forget channel 13's: Remember the grocery stores of the day? Hated these: Remember: Where boys became men: Talk about fast: Talk about fun. They were really good. I attended many games: Gone but never forgotten: Guess Monte and I both looked a 'little' different in 1961: As a Tampa native I remember many things about our state. The above are just a few. How many do you remember? Bob Harbison Florida Outdoor Writers Association Credits: Tampa Natives Mr. Monte Alfonso Wikipedia
  14. A brief history of Florida small game hunting Unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control most of us are being forced to stay at home. But we still remember, and pray for, better times. On the water we remember the catches of April 2019: In the field we remember the great deer and hog hunts of years gone by. All too often we tend to overlook Florida's excellent small game hunting. Let's take a look at 'A brief history of Florida small game hunting' as seen through the eyes of a Florida native who remembers a Florida that most today could not even imagine. My Florida small game hunting began in the late forties. Most of Florida was completely open. The rabbit and squirrel hunting was outstanding: The entire area around what was to become Tampa Stadium was home to the fast, fun to hunt, cotton-tail rabbit: With more and more discovering the treasures of this Tropical Paradise we call Florida hunting as we knew it was about to end. With rapid growth came the pride of Tampa, Tampa Stadium. The Stadium's first sporting event, November 4, 1967, saw the # 3 ranked University of Tennessee Volunteers beat The University of Tampa Spartans 38-0. In 1971 the Spartan moved up to Division 1 and defeated several established programs. The days of Florida open-range hunting was all but over. Time to join a hunting club. My first club was in Florida City, Florida: There was no rabbit hunting, but the squirrel and turkey hunting was outstanding: With nearly 6 million acres Florida has one of the largest wildlife management areas (WMA) systems in the country. Let's give the Aucilla WMA a try: The squirrel hunting was so good that the 'try' lasted for over 10 years. Time to try something different. For a Florida 'Cracker' who had never seen snow before the high, snow covered, mountains of Maine & New Mexico were different, different but great hunting. My wife and I both loved it. If you look closely you can still see the Main tag on my nice buck. I tracked that buck in the snow for two hours before the shot. In New Mexico I shot the beautiful Elk with my BAR 7mm mag as he grazed several hundred yards away on another mountain: My wife also did her part: Today my wife of 39 years is doing her hunting in heaven. Due to being alone, and advanced age, my days of chasing beagles through the fields, and roaming the woods for squirrels are over; over but never forgotten. My Land Rover of today is a Toyota Camry. My hunting days are spent with one of the best outfitters in the country, Perry' Florida's own Two Guys and a Hog. My hunting camp is a well equipped BUNKHOUSE: Francisco, my Two Guys Guide for the last six years is one of the best of the best. He always make sure this ole man has a hunt to remember: I have had the honor of hunting all over Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, the Black-Belt Area of Alabama, the very cold, snow covered mountains of Maine, and the tall timber of New Mexico. But etched in my mind forever is the mighty howl of the Beagle Hound chasing a rabbit, and the bark of a squirrel. 'All too often we tend to overlook Florida's excellent small game hunting.' credits Two Guys and a Hog Tampa Tribune archives Hubbard's Marina The state of Maine The sate of New mexico Florida's FWC
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