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FL – HUNTING – Rediscover the benefits of small-game hunting

Two weeks ago, I was reminded how much fun small-game hunting is after joining a pair of youth hunters on a quest for rabbits. Relieved of the rigors of chasing deer or hogs, the evening was easygoing, enjoying the simple pleasures of stalking bushy fence lines for cottontails. The young men listened well, dispatching several rabbits with my .410. By the end of it, I was close to commandeering the shotgun for a crack at one or two myself. Somehow, I resisted the urge, proudly content with their budding woodsmanship and the opportunity to help pass along the outdoors tradition. Small-game hunting was once a popular pursuit. Just a couple generations ago, deer and turkey populations were not as strong as today. Hunters filled the frying pan with squirrels and rabbits because they were most available. As whitetail herds and turkey flocks rebounded, ventures for small game became a triviality. This is unfortunate. Seeking these critters sharpens one’s senses, from spying a wild squirrel slip silently up an oak or spotting the black eye of a bunny frozen in the dog fennel. Firearm accuracy and competency is also earned through this pursuit as targets are compact and fleet of foot. Beyond skills acquisition, though, the sport is plain fun. There’s little detailed scheming or early alarm clocks. Often, the most successful hunts are simple jaunts through the winter woods with a couple of friends. Florida is blessed with millions of acres of public lands, most with small-game seasons that don’t require limited-entry permits to access the property. These typically occur between deer and turkey seasons. I encourage you to give it a shot this month and enjoy the simplicity of a small-game hunt.  [full article]

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