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Learning to hunt with Grandpa Redneck 
How Grandpa Redneck Taught Sam Sr. Lessons About Hunting
Growing up near the banks of the Suwannee River in north Florida, game was plentiful.  At that time civilization had not found the Suwannee River swamp and it was still a wilderness in its truest form.  I am not positive how old I was when Papa decided to let me accompany him hunting the first time.  I can remember as a small child we would go to the Suwannee River swamp in north Florida to hunt for squirrels.  I remember that Papa was a giant of a man in my eyes at this early age.  I can remember thinking his legs were six foot long and I would have to take two steps, when he took one.  In my mind at that early age of my life, I thought Papa had to be ten foot tall!  Later in life I realized Papa was only about six foot one.

  Papa would wake me up when it was still dark outside and I always wondered why so early, the squirrels were still sleeping.  I was content to think that it was because we had to walk a mile to the river swamp before day light.  ATV's had not been invented at that time and if they had we would not have been able to afford one anyway.  When we reached the Suwannee River swamp and the day light began to sweep over the trees, it was like the wilderness was coming to life with all the creatures waking up.  Papa would have me walk behind him, as we eased through the woods.   He would walk so quiet that it was hard to hear his foot hit the ground and he would encourage me to be quiet as I followed him.  To this day I have trouble figuring out how such a large man could walk as if he were floating on air.  I can remember to this day Papa saying "son be quiet and look in the trees for the squirrels".  This was just another lesson I learned at an early age of my life.  Then when we would spot one of the tasty critters he would have me walk around the tree the squirrel was in and shake a limb.  As time passed I figured out that this would make the squirrel run around the tree to his side.  Papa would raise his sixteen gage single shot shotgun, to his shoulder, with a barrel that was at least five feet long. (More like 2).  I knew then we were going to have squirrel for supper that night.  Then he would discharge the gun and to me it sounded like a cannon going off.

  When I first started going to the woods hunting with Papa, I would always wonder why he only would harvest 5 or 6 squirrels and say "ok son let's go home".  The trees were full of the small game animals but he would only take a few.  This puzzled me until I began hunting with my cousins.  As young men we would go to the river swamp and harvest as many squirrels as we could see.  This did not set well with Papa and after eating squirrels three times a day, we figured out that five or six would have been plenty.   I can still see him in his rocking chair on the porch saying "you boys killed them squirrels you gonna eat em".  It did not take long for this lesson to set in.  If we were going to hunt and harvest animals we were going to consume them also. 

  Papa demonstrated to me the proper way to hunt and respect the wilderness.  He taught me the proper way to be observant and quiet as I walked among the creatures of the forest.  The lesson about eating what you harvest was instilled in me at an early age.  To this day I still only harvest what I can consume and have preached that to my son, Samuel Junior.  He has trouble with it at times but deep down he is learning.  Many times he has passed deer because he did not need the meat.  Now we have my grandson, little Aiden, to train what a great sport it is and something we look forward to!  We figure it will only be a couple of years before little Aiden is setting in a tree stand harvesting his first buck.  Papa has been gone for over thirty years but his words still ring in my ears and I thank God I knew this intelligent redneck.
Grandpa & Grandma Redneck
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