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Discussion Starter #1
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
Hubbard's Marina
The sate of New mexico
The state of Maine
Florida's FWC
 

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Great story as usual. I assume the Land Rover was yours? My cousin has one he swapped a diesel into. They are cool vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks!
Yes! It was mine. It was a 'little' on the rough side. No AC, in fact, it did not even have a heater.
Loved the roar of the diesel:

The Floral City Hunt Club was in the middle of a swamp. We put it through its paces:
 

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Discussion Starter #7
"Some of my favorite memories are of squirrel and rabbit hunts."
Mine too! Will never forget the might roar of a beagle hot on the rail of a cotton tail rabbit. Fantastic!
Squirrel hunting was also a blast. Loved hunting them with my Ruger .22 auto & a good scope. The little devils would hide in a tree with only their heads pocked out. That's all it took!
Will never forget hunting bushy tails in hickory groves. You could hear them chewing, but seeing them was a different story.
Memories from long ago, but never forgotten.
 

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Dad and I never had dogs. We just walked fence rows, a lot of times in the snow.
Seems like nowadays all people want to hunt is deer. They are really missing out on making memories, especially with their kids.
Deer hunting is fine but doesn’t have the consistent action afforded by rabbit and squirrel hunting. (Which kids love)
 

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Discussion Starter #9
"Deer hunting is fine but doesn’t have the consistent action afforded by rabbit and squirrel hunting. (Which kids love)"

Kids aren't the only ones. I love hunting them also.
 

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Harbison sorry i posted the deer photo on your thread , thought i was in the Funny Pics Thread having two screens open , my bad !
also like the old rover and love the sound of a pack of beagles , looks like you had plenty of good times to look back on.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
"Harbison sorry i posted the deer photo on your thread"
Absolutely nothing to be sorry about; I love it!
Good times: Many indeed! Been hunting & fishing in Florida for 70 years. Now, at 78, I am very limited as to what I can do. But I am determined to do the best I can for as long as I can.
Sir, you are more than welcome to post on my thread anytime.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Absolutely! Our Florida is full of "More good memories".
Guys & Girls, please share your memories with us.
 
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