Mac English: Squirrel Hunting in South Carolina
“I’m 77 years old and I’m still out here chasing these squirrels. I always have done it.”
We traveled down to South Carolina just about a year ago to spend two days in Sumter National Forest hiking, hunting, photographing and filming none other than Mac English, a champion squirrel hunter. We were out there in the woods – far out there. It was quite the experience, but all things considered, I’d go back and join a hunt any day.
We knew right after Chris got off the phone with Field & Stream that assignments like this don’t come up too often. Two days of squirrel hunting in the deep woods of South Carolina with a champion marksman, his dogs, and his entire family of squirrel hunters – this was an opportunity to shoot some great video alongside our stills. What we didn’t find out until we got there is that we would garner an appreciation for the skill and sport of the squirrel hunt… along with a taste of squirrel stew.
Every now and then we managed to slow Mac down enough (he led our crew through the woods at a breakneck pace, especially for a 77 year old) to catch a few portraits over the course of the hunt. Speaking of the hunt, we got photos of Mac’s dogs going wild at a squirrel that managed to find its way into the stump you see above.
A few photos of the entire English clan, three generations of talented squirrel hunters. We spent long days, from sunrise to sunset with the family, hiking and hunting, stopping every now and then throughout the woods when we saw a photo to make. We hauled generators & lights through the forest to find the right spot, doing our best to keep up with the dogs (and Mac) running ahead.
If you haven’t seen it yet, here’s our video portrait of Mac English, you can also watch it in HD on our website.
Yes, that is yours truly, in a headlock, from a kid. The funny thing is though, he wasn’t playing around… The little guy actually had me in a headlock!
We made sure to include everyone for the final shot of the trip. Many thanks not only to our hardworking still and video crew, but to the English clan and their warm hospitality.
Last but not least:
I did mention earlier that squirrel chowder was part of our experience with the English clan. Field & Stream was kind enough to publish Mac’s recipe for the story. Skeptical as you might be, it was really good! And yes, it really does taste like chicken.
Mac English’s Squirrel Chowder (from Field & Stream, March 2012)
- 4 to 8 squirrels, pressure-cooked or parboiled & de-boned
- 10 cups squirrel broth (or beef broth)
- 5 medium potatoes, diced
- 2 medium onions, diced
- 2 stalks celery, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 tsp. each: salt, black pepper, garlic powder
- 2 cubes chicken bullion
- 2 oz. butter
- 8 0z. Velveeta cheese
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 1 pint half-and-half
- 2 cans evaporated milk
Bring broth to a boil in a large pot. Add the vegetables, spices, and bullion cubes. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Add the squirrel meat and simmer 10 minutes more. Add butter and cheeses, and simmer while stirring until cheese melts. Stir in the half-and-half and milk and warm through.