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Hog Hunting- It’s Not About The Kill12 min read

Hunting, Personal Growth

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Let’s rewind to the beginning of 2017, the very beginning when the winter cold was still blowing through the south and the rain season was settling in.  I had been gearing up and pumped to go on my first ever solo hunt, a South Georgia hog hunt.

In parts of the country feral hogs are a huge issue so let’s have a short educational moment.

  • The agricultural damage caused by wild pig’s costs farmers in the United States millions of dollars every year. Hogs cause damage either by eating or trampling agriculture crops. Damage is also occurring through rooting and wallowing. (Georgiawildpigs.com)
  • Wild pigs threaten livestock in three ways. The first is through predation. Pigs are opportunistic omnivores and will readily feed on newborn sheep, goats, and calves. Wild hogs also affect livestock through the spread of disease. There are a number of diseases carried by wild pigs that can be contracted by domestic livestock including brucellosis, pseudorabies, and classical swine fever. (Georgiawildpigs.com)
  • The presence of wild pigs in a hardwood forest can inhibit and even stop forest regeneration. Hard mast such as acorns, hickory nuts, and beach nuts are seasonally important food sources for wild pigs, and they leave very few to germinate and grow into future mast bearing trees. (Georgiawildpigs.com)

Other damage caused by wild pigs in forests is caused by scent marking. Boars often use hardwood and pine saplings to mark territory. Damage is done through tusking and rubbing; both of these activities removes the bark from trees, exposing them to harmful insects and pathogens. (Georgiawildpigs.com)

So, no one should feel sorry for these wild pigs from this point on, if in case you were in the beginning.

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A seperate night I was in a different stand, the view was amazing and even more so as night fell, midnight came in and the moon was high. This was a night the coyotes seemed to being singing in unision across the valleys and ridge cuts. 

Off to South Georgia I went with a heart full of excitement for a new experience and high hopes of success, nearly guaranteed to be honest by the land I would be on. To make a long story short, after being out 8-10 hours each evening, rain came through and yep, clothes got soaked. The cold felt like something I had not yet experienced and there was an eerie silence in the forest as the moon climbed the sky and coyotes began to come out and howl from various places in the distant. The hoot owls could be heard and one night I even had the view of a small group of yearlings, as best I could tell. All very small in frame but missing spots, lacking size to more than 2 years old. It was my first taste of how silent deer could be. I never heard them move out of the forest and into the field, 6 in total. It was beautiful as the moon was high being a full moon night. On an open field far back where street lights and the sounds of cars didn’t reach.  I was well in the depths of the forest on these trips out, a place where you only have your thoughts to keep you company. Here is a view from my stand on night one, that is the field I sat and watched the deer come into that night.

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It was far from a vacation hunt, nothing pampered or cushioned. In the end, with all the hours and waiting out the cold and rain, I never even seen a single hog. This was a hard ride home for me. One I will never forget.

After this, I went on the have a great streak of “luck” per say and harvested a beautiful Eastern Turkey with my bow, a fun story you can read about some other time. I never could get over this shut out when it came to the hogs though. Deer season was approaching and to be honest I knew I still needed to get better settled into my ability to be comfortable and not second guess myself. Not jumping at the first sight of a deer and being calm and collective. So, I made plans to head to Florida and try for a hog once again.

As you can tell my trip was successful but it was not successful simply because I was able to land a hog and bring home some pork. The day I went out to hunt, I sat many hours, and in fact saw a lot of hogs! Sure, I could have dropped one in the first hour honestly, but that was not the point. Twice I had my eye on a large hog that would make for a good haul of meat and a beautiful mount. Yet I had to mentally realize the shot was not there, it was not right for me. Smaller babies may have been running around or the angle was less than desirable which may have resulted in a terrible shot and suffering, or even a through and through and wounding another hog and so on. This was a trip to ready me for deer season, to be patient, move with ease and not rush out of excitement. When the time was right and I had been eyes on a hog for a while, even watching it leave my range and thankfully come back, I made. a single shot, and it dropped right where it stood. Thankful for this because had the shot been bad and the hog taken off, it’s likely I would have lost it to the marsh and not recovered. A blood trail on a hog is like a myth, my .30-06 round went in and left but a single trickle of blood on the exterior.

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Ontrack Outdoors No Mess Dress Kit

I was so grateful that the shot was dead on and near instant death. No recovery needed. The hog was butchered and hauled home on ice, shared with family and close friends. the mount hangs on my wall now as a reminder of time investment and learning experiences.

Don’t Laugh! I know.. I told the hog I was sorry! I’m not sorry I hunt, but I don’t have joy in the killing, I have joy in learning and being independant in my abilities.

I went into the deer season without a hiccup and was calm and able to watch deer  and not lose my cool at every sighting (maybe too calm, should have shot more than I did). I was confident when I brought my rifle to aim, and I did not second guess myself. This hog hunt was one that should serve as an example, to do what you have to do to become efficient, to become confident. We all have someone we can credit with our hunting abilities but at the end of the day, they can’t make a shot for you. Only you can be the one deciding when the moment is right, only you can decide if you’re willing to sit or walk deeper for 3 hours or 10 hours. Take whatever means necessary to prepare yourself for your big goals and hopes! I had a lot to learn, and little time to do so. I’m far from fully knowledgeable but I lack nothing in confidence. Take what you know, that you know, that you KNOW and grow from there!! Every single trip to the woods is another chance to grow from where you were the last time you walked out. If you need to shoot 10 squirrels, to get comfortable shoot em! If you need to drop 10 hogs to shake off the jitters, do it! Only you can be the decider when it comes time to make to decide when to pull the trigger.

Big thanks to the people who helped give me input on where to go for this Florida hunt. I have my sights on new adventures now. Back down south with a wilder twist to the hunt. Who knows, you may see my next hog story including a video of me riding a wild hog trying to bring it down: P seriously never stop expanding, never stop learning. It’s ok to be a beginner, surround yourself with positive women and men who are ready to help invest in your knowledge and ability. People who want you to succeed. If you are willing to be dedicated, many hunters are willing to help you succeed!  The world is vast and adventure is to be had at many turn but one thing stands true. We as hunters remain connected at heart, with the drive to retain the traditions of hunting and pass it on to generations to come. I wish you the best of luck in your own journey and adventures to come! And ALWAYS remember….When the shot is  fired, RELOAD 🙂 Get ready to deliver another if needed!

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