Tweety Birds and the East Gadsden National Forest
I started hunting at a very young age. My dad took me squirrel, rabbit, dove, quail and deer hunting and he did a good job of making it fun for me.
We lived in East Gadsden, so my early years were spent navigating The East Gadsden National Forest located between Maryland Avenue, Hoke Street and Goodyear Avenue. I thought there were thousands of acres, but it turns out that it’s just a small section of woods!
My grandparents had a farm in Webster’s Chapel, where I spent lots of hours combing the pastures and wood lots in search of game. If a squirrel showed its furry tail, I was squirrel hunting. If a rabbit scampered out of its hide, I was rabbit hunting. Big game like rabbit and squirrel were scarce back at home.
When my cousins, friends and I hit the trail for a hunt, we had to take what was available. The most abundant game was Tweety Birds! Keep in mind that we didn’t tote shotguns or rifles around the East Gadsden National Forest; we were armed with Crossman pump BB guns. We were pretty good shots, and it was fun. We had a blast!
Sometimes, those hunts it would turn competitive, and rules were made. Big game such as squirrel or rabbit was big points. Big birds scored a few points, while smaller birds were one point. I always did pretty good for myself, and if I say so, I was usually considered a good partner and a front runner on my home turf.
Why? Well, I had myself a honey hole. I didn’t go there very often because I wanted to save it for special situations. Then one day, my dad said, “Bobby Dale, we need to talk. Mrs. Neighbor called.”
I knew this was not headed in a good direction.
“Have you been shooting birds out of her bird feeder?” he asked.
So much for that secret spot. But those were good times!
Bobby Dale Welch was born and raised in East Gadsden and graduated from Litchfield High School in 1988. He is the founder of and partner in BD Welch Construction and currently lives in Ashville with his wife Tracie and sons Daniel and Dawson. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.