The sawdust sprayed as the Stihl cut through the rough terrain. I thought to myself how were the bugs still able to light me up with so much debris flying everywhere. Luckily though the Florida sun took it easy on us due to a few storms in the Gulf providing cloud cover. 90 degrees is perfect land clearing weather as opposed to the normal hundreds. Either way this was worth it, I told myself.
A friend of mine had told me his sister and her husband had just recently purchased some land and they needed some help clearing it up. The seven acres is surrounded by wilderness and had been unkept so Old Florida made her move fast. Here in the Sunshine State trees and vegetation never stop growing. There isn’t much here that doesn’t require constant attention from keeping overgrowth at bay to monthly cleanings. So as you can imagine it was thick!
I told them I would definitely help and never mentioned anything about compensation. We would figure out something to square up. I already knew exactly what I wanted for payment and I really hoped they agreed. If not, giving a helping hand to good people would still be worth it in my eyes. That may sound corny but staying positive and helping those when I can really keeps me in a great mindset with life. When I am in that mindset, it is way easier to stay motivated.
Just let them fall
I wasn’t really sure what to expect but I had an idea. At the end of the day land clearing is land clearing Doesn’t really matter what state you’re in you can expect to sweat and work hard! Jeff and I walked up to the tractor where Jeff’s sister and her husband were talking with his father about a plan of attack. I introduced myself and they thanked me many times for helping. I grabbed the chainsaw and got started!
I was raised to show who you are don’t just say who you are. Actions will always speak louder then words. With this being said I worked hard, real hard. I wanted to prove the type of person I am. Honest, ethical, and hardworking. These are the qualities people like to see when you are about to ask the question that I was about to ask.
As we moved our way making a path through the property, I was astounded by how much turkey sign there was! My friend and I had both heard that patch of land was littered with turkeys but actually seeing the sign, really increased my determination to help in any way I could. I really wanted to bow hunt Osceolas here! The house was going to be built deep into the property so there would be plenty of untouched land left alone. The new owners are familiar with natural food sources for game so kept those untouched in hopes to not disturb the area too much also.
Time to Pop the Question
After about five hours of backbreaking clearing we all decided to call it a day and continue again next weekend. The rain was about to hit and we made good progress. This was my chance to ask the question that had been on my mind since the second I offered to help. I learned from many failed attempts that this was the way to go about it and I was finally ready!
“Would yall be okay with me turkey hunting out here with my bow?”
They both looked at each other and his wife said. “That’s it? For all your help, that’s all you want?” I immediately replied “That’s it. To me that is worth it. Money comes and goes but the opportunity to hunt a well known Florida Turkey Hotspot is priceless.” Her husband agreed and said he had planned on keeping the wildlife management up so didn’t see any issue at all with that. A sudden rush of joy spread over me and it was hard not to smile for the next few hours.
Nothing like a Win
Getting permission to hunt private land is almost impossible in Florida nowadays. Due to so many leases and other money making opportunities hunting Florida , most people just don’t just give it out like they did in the old days. I said ALMOST impossible though not impossible. If you let the odds not being in your favor deter you, then it really doesn’t mean as much to you as you may have thought it did in my opinion.
Not everything comes easy, especially in the hunting world. Yes, there will be times you get lucky or catch a break but real WINS comes from what you put into something. The grit, time, energy, drive, heart and passion is what real success is made from. You won’t win every single time but if you don’t give up and continue to give it your all, you will be successful. We learn more from our fails then we do from our accomplishments.
Sweat Equity is what I learned from my land permission fails and I wanted to share it with y’all.
Justin Edwards is the Region 7 Director to contact him you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or
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