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July 11, 2014

Fishing for success: Jason Hunter turns attention to pro angling

Live Oak —

Jason Hunter of Branford knows what it takes to be successful. His resume as a professional bull rider is full of accolades. Hunter loves a challenge. In fact, the challenge of bull riding is what attracted him to the sport. These days, Hunter has turned his attention to pro angling, and so far, this challenge has brought him success.

Hunter was born on May 4, 1984, in Tampa to Janice and Wayne Hunter. At about the age of five, the family packed their bags and moved to Bandera, Texas, where they raised quarter horses.

“Bandera is known as the cowboy capital of the world,” he said, laughing. 

It was in Texas that Hunter developed a passion for bull riding. 

“I fell in love with the sport because of the challenge - it’s man against beast,” Hunter said. 

In 1998, the family loaded their suitcases once again and moved back to the Sunshine State, and planted their roots in Suwannee County. 

Hunter eventually graduated from Branford High School in 2001 and was ready to enter the real world. He was also ready to enter the world of bull riding. 

“I had a lot of success coupled with a lot of injuries,” he said.  

Hunter was participating in a rodeo in Baxley, Georgia, that he assisted in organizing to benefit Austin McKinnon, a young man who was diagnosed with a life threatening disease. It was at that event Hunter made the decision to hang his saddle after 22 years in the sport.

“When I came off my bull, I busted both of my ankles,” he said. “I was 28 years old. I just knew it was time to do something different.”

While he spent most of his time on the saddle, Hunter enjoyed going fishing in his spare time. 

“I’ve always had an intense passion for bass fishing,” Hunter said. “When I gave up bull riding, it gave me more of a chance to go fishing.”

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