Observations of a Covid Refugee
- Wednesday, 14 April 2021
On the back of our chill in Blighty, James Schneider reports back from sunny Florida with details of his hunting escapades.
After suffering through the first UK lockdown, my family made a life-changing decision to relocate to the USA in June 2020. Career plans had us heading to New York City once a brief period of acclimation was had in the Florida sun, but then of course 2020 continued on its destructive path.
As a result, I’ve unexpectedly found myself a full-time Florida resident and have enjoyed discovering a unique side of the US outdoor tradition, that otherwise would have been more of an online curiosity than actual game in my freezer.
My first foray into the field occurred a few days after arriving when I enjoyed hunting Feral Pig with my son for his birthday. Southern Florida is a hot, humid and bug-ridden place during the wet season, but after a successful hunt I quickly learned that attending to a slow-cooked wood smoked pork roast for 10 hours is a great way to keep the mosquitos at bay. Add to that a nice pool, miles of white sandy beaches and a carton of chilled lager and it couldn’t be any better.
We are in the land of sugar and molasses with the regional BBQ style being sweet and tangy with a bit of heat, reflecting the locale ingredients. It’s new to me and highly enjoyable. I used to think Texas was king of the grill, but of course there are as many styles of BBQ as there are counties in each state. And the debate is endless, similar to having a group of five Italians describe the best way to make a certain dish.
I’ve also enjoyed locale specialties Alligator and Iguana, the former less so, as I find it a bit chewy however, the latter invasive species is surprisingly nice when, of course grilled and slathered with delicious regional sauce. As the saying goes, wrap anything in bacon and you’re 90% there…
As the wet season ends and the temperature mellows, we come into the most beautiful winter months and this is the time for bobwhite quail, the southern pinnacle of shooting. Explosive coveys, some as large as 50+ birds that are half the size of a partridge and twice as fast, challenge the ability to focus. Lighter field loads are preferred and the sport with a 28 bore is exceptional. Morning shoots are followed with lunch under graceful oak trees dripping with Spanish moss. Only just enough humidity to allow the smoke from my Partagas to linger in the field-fresh air. Bliss.
I have to remind myself that we have only been here a short eight months, there is so much more to explore. Outstanding free-range Whitetail deer, stalking the legendary wild Osceola turkey, pursuing the elusive Florida Black Bear and invasive python, all adventures to be had over time. And I’ve not even gotten started on the fishing.
Watch this space!
To read more from James follow this link, duing which he looks at two calibres developed by David Lloyd: david-lloyd-calibres