For Ken Hosford, spending time outdoors is a way of life. The Liberty County judge treks across his land every day, a piece of old Florida untarnished by urbanites, but on this chilly November morning, Ken feels especially high on life, for he gets to partake in his favorite pastime of escaping to his humble hideaway.
With soft whispers Ken spies on the wildlife below, a couple of hogs trying to ruin his game, but then a brave soul emerges from the brush, his hunger offsetting his fear. By daylight, the herd delicately approaches. Curiosity abounds, her eyes fixate on the camera, even dozens of feet in the sky the secret is revealed.
Ken says, “First you have enhanced visibility. You can see better."
Secondly, you elevate the scent level. Deer have an amazing sense of smell. Although she sniffed us out, Ken finds most pleasure in watching her feed. After all, he planted the food for a reason.
Ken says, "Ultimately, it's got to be something to put on the wall."
Ken is a trophy hunter. He says pulling the trigger is a rare occurrence. Only a fully mature buck will be gunned down.
Ken adds, Also as trophy hunters, we eat what we kill. That's the fundamental principal."
As the morning presses on, the activity becomes dormant. It’s time to work the fields.
Ken says, "The main thing I rely on is what I plant."
Planting a high protein forage across 22 acres isn't an easy task, but it's one Ken is committed to.
Ken says, "The biggest lack for whitetail deer is age. Along with age, they need quality nutrition."
Both equate to quality deer management, something Ken practices year-round.
Ken says, "Everybody's got a passion in life. That's mine. I love to feed them and see them grow and mature."
For Ken, hunting is just another process in the circle of life, but it's life that he cherishes most, only killing what he needs to feed his family or what is needed to even out the deer population.
He’s a true southern hunter with morals and master skills, qualities he hopes to pass on to the next generation.