Sunday, December 5, 2010

Beyond Deer

  I have been wandering the house trying to find my writing mojo. Cutting thru the hunting room on the wall was a bit of inspiration. If you want something exciting that you can hunt year round this is how I started. Apologies for the bad pics.

  Hard to believe it has been eight years since I first went for hogs. I had been thinking of it for quite awhile but here in Tennessee most good places are far to the east where I didn’t have any property. My other option was a game farm which I have a big problem with. I am not a fan of high fence but state law says if you offer hog hunts it has to be high fenced. After researching places and prices I found one that on top of a mountain and covers a square mile of hardwoods and rock outcrops. Plenty of places for hogs to run and hide plus they know it better than I do. There are no guarantees here. If you don’t shoot there is no charge but no promise that you will get anything.
  I decided to use my bow, no dogs, spot and stalk with no gun backup. My friends thought I was nuts and asked why. I told them deer don’t bite and I wanted to try something more exciting. Something with teeth, attitude and on the ground with me filled the bill. I was using my old Darton Lightning with aluminum arrows tipped with 100 grain Muzzy 3 blade. This was before good mechanical broadheads and I was warned not to use mechanicals on hogs. The shield plate on the shoulder is amazingly hard. So armed with information I got my bow set up for the hunt, practiced even more than usual and got ready for an early September trip to the mountain.
  I got to the lodge on a beautiful, warm Saturday morning. I was the only one hunting that day so the guide asked if I wanted him to tag along. I said no I would go alone but took a radio to let him know where I was if I happened to take a pig. He pointed to the main gate and gave me a quick idea of the layout and said he would check with me later.
  I headed up the mountain slipping along pretty much clueless as to how to look for a pig, where to look or whether there would be herds or just singles. As I got to the side of a ridge above a big flat I could smell them, then I could hear them. There they were, a herd of about a dozen walking down the trail straight to me. At about 200 lbs each they looked huge. The thought of no backup didn’t seem quite the great idea it had when I was sitting on the couch.
  I backed off the trail putting my back to a tree just as the lead hogs got to within 25 yards. They saw me move but couldn’t decide what I was so 5 of them got in a line, literally, shoulder to shoulder then started popping their teeth and grunting. This, just so you know, will make the hair stand up on your neck and your pulse run up to around Mach 10. The rest of the herd moved in behind them adding more popping teeth and grunts. I decided the first one that came my way was going to eat a Muzzy then I would worry about the rest. They continued to ease toward me in a smelly, tooth popping scrum so I started to draw, picking out the one that would take the first arrow…….drawing……and the radio went off in my pack. The guide picked just this moment to check in. The hogs screamed and headed off up the mountain probably thinking talking trees where more than they wanted to tackle.
  Shaking and laughing I told the guide where I was so he could pick me up for a quick tour. We spent a little time checking spots finding several hogs but no shooters. He headed back to start lunch leaving me farther up the mountain to work my way back to the lodge. As I hiked back down I was entertained by the exotics. Fallow deer, sika deer, along with several types of goats and sheep like Mouflon and Corsicans. Then about half way down I got a call from the guide asking where I was. I told him, he says wait there he has a hog located.
  When the four wheeler pulls up he says that a hog is out of the fence and at a pond across from the lodge. I jump on and we go tearing through the woods. That was a thrill flying down the mountain along a twisting trail. Along the way one of the dogs, out of nowhere, starts following us, running as hard as he can to keep up. We get to the field where the pond is and set up for the stalk. The hog is 80 yards away out of sight below the bank of the pond so we get downwind and ease towards a spot where we could see, the dog now following close behind.
  We move up and the guide tells me where to place my shot. I ask if the dog is going in but he says, no, they are too smart to tackle a pig alone. I think this over because we are in a field, no trees close, nothing to hide behind or climb. At this point adrenaline kicks in and I start shaking. Worse than any shaking in a deer stand. I get an arrow knocked as we ease the last few yards and get our first look. He is laying in the mud facing away from me at only twenty yards. The guide is behind me, the dog behind him and I am trying to calm down enough to draw. I hear the guide whisper to use my 20 yard pin and aim behind the last rib. I am shaking so bad the arrow comes off the rest and I can’t get it back on. The guide reaches over, puts it back then says you can make this shot.
  I get drawn, aim and my tunnel vision takes over. When I release the arrow actually hits perfect catching both lungs and stopping in the off side shoulder. The hog screams and takes off with our dog in hot pursuit. That was the fastest dog I think I’ve ever seen. We lost sight of the pig as it hit the wood line but three more dogs come from the lodge to join the fun. We follow the sounds for about 100 yards to find my hog piled up in some weeds. Not a monster but a nice 140 pounder with nice cutters. The good part, he ran towards the lodge and gate so it was a short trip to the skinning shed.

  It wasn’t a long day of hunting but one that I hope never leaves me. I have been hog hunting since and it is always a thrill. I still hunt them off the ground without backup. I know other folks take it to extremes way beyond my hunts but for me I love hunting this way. If you get the chance and pigs are in your area give them a try. Year round hunting and in many places considered nuisance animals cheap to hunt and good on the grill.



texwisgirl said...

I went down the back dirt road from our place in NE Texas today to catch the highway on the other side. Saw 2 of these laid out along the way. They were smaller - probably 80 - 100 lbs. each, and I don't think they were hit by a car. Someone probably trapped them, killed them and dumped them for the buzzards - which the 40 or so I saw there were thrilled for the free pork dinner...

I know they cause a lot of damage in this area and the beef ranchers like to trap them and eliminate them that way. Not a lot of sport involved, but I know they're doing it to protect their land and herds...

Ryan said...

Saw a video once of a cam set up on a deer feeder. There was a pig eating the deer feed. The hunter, sneaking up behind it, kicks it square in the ass. Laughed mine off! =)

The Average Joe Fisherman

John said...

Fishing a lonely stretch of river when one challenged me not to cross back! Had to pull my .40 but never had to use it. Mexican stand off worked to my favor!

Albert A Rasch said...

I've shot my share in Florida, hope to get back into it again when I get home.

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles: Meanwhile, South of the Border...

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Born and raised in middle Tennessee.I'm a working wildlife and landscape artist specializing in watercolors. Now making cedar lures and custom turkey calls.



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