South Florida is technically the South, but it isn’t really Southern. Still, you do get a bit of everything in the Sunshine State, and while I didn’t grow up in a hunting culture, I had plenty of friends that would go every weekend.
My first experience with hunting was during my senior year in college. My family traveled with some of our close friends to their central Florida hunting camp for the day. We spent the morning shooting skeet and trap, and in the afternoon we all got on a buggy to drive around and see if we could find any hogs.
Before I knew it, my “uncle” Austin spotted a herd of them about 300 yards away. We stopped the buggy, he and I hopped out and, as quietly as we could, made our way to a fence post. "You'll only get one shot, so take your time," Austin said. "Line up the scope, take a breath in, then pull the trigger."
My heart was racing. It was three football fields away. No way I’d make that shot! Austin said, "If you miss it, don't worry. We'll find more pigs later."
I didn’t miss.
I squeezed the trigger, the gun kicked back into my shoulder, and the BOOM echoed out in ripples. Austin yelled, “You got it!” What a rush. THREE HUNDRED YARDS. Dang I’m good. I'm a hunter.
We got back in the UTV, drove the families over and climbed out to take pictures of my prize. That's when I noticed my 11-year -old sister, the light of my life, in tears at the sight of the dead hog.
My heart broke. I hadn't thought twice about shooting this creature. In fact, I knew I was helping an ecosystem harmed by contaminated soil and groundwater. Too many hogs were tearing up the land, so I was also doing my uncle a favor. I was proud of my shot, I loved the adrenaline rush, but there was another side I hadn’t considered. My sister was crushed.
I didn’t know what to tell her.
Amy Campbell the host of Scout's daily news show, Scout Now.null