I hunted and fished with my daddy when I was young. In
the ninth grade, Daddy started taking me deer hunting with
him. In the tenth grade, a place called Bear Island was
having a special archery-only hunting weekend on the South
Carolina coast. The last night we were on the island, a
wildlife technician named Johnny Hires spoke to our group.
When my daddy told me Mr. Hires really did get paid for
doing this all year, I decided I wanted a job like his.
My parents wanted me to go to college, and I had known
since I was in the tenth grade that I wanted to work with
wildlife. I didn't want a four-year degree, though. I heard
about Haywood Community College, and I decided to go there.
Haywood had just started offering a degree in wildlife management,
and I was in the second class graduating with that degree.