springmom is right. it was an awesome morning, just right to get the blood flowing (pun intended) for hunting season, which starts in 20 days down here
like her, i started the day in a blind waiting for deer, but the rain washed that out - the only things moving on that ranch at dawn were the 'gators, and I wasn't interested in shooting one of them yesterday. so the owner and I decided if the deer weren't coming to us, we'd go to them, and off we went into the rain on foot.
we slogged around for about 30 minutes without seeing anything but tracks - including gator tracks, which i'd never seen before
we came upon a bunch of rams huddled under a stand and tree to keep dry, but between the ol' budget and not having a clean, one-animal-only shot, we decided to press on.
as we did, Hal warned me to keep an eye open for this one mean tempered boar that had been harrassing his helper and fellow guide recently - the poor guy had to get up a tree five times in the last week or two. I said, OK, then he asked me if I minded shooting a pig, since the deer were MIA. I said no problem, he said good, 'cause if we saw him, he'd be real glad to have THIS hog dead.
about 15 minutes later we came to another stand on a different part of the ranch and climbed up in. we finally saw some deer movement, but movement was the key - they never stood still for more than a couple of seconds, and not at all in one of the clear-shot lanes from that stand, so all we did was admire the view. we knew there were hogs in the area and so settled in to wait.
not too long after that a herd of swine was passing by at about 50 yards and this one black boar held up and just stood staring at us. he was in a clear lane, quartering in slightly, so i lined up on the spot right between his neck and left front shoulder and let fly with one of Hornady's new ballistic-tip .30-.30 rounds. the shot felt good, and the hog jumped and staggered immediately. hal said he'd been hit hard, but darned if he didn't just up and run off - limping badly, but still moving pretty good. we waited a bit and then got down to go find him. at that point we figured to find him dead inside 100 yards.
well, in that hundred yard we saw lots of tracks, and one 10-foot gator just lying around in the wet ground, but no blood and no dead pig. we kept hiking, and eventually hooked up with springmom and her guide. it wasn't long after that we saw one big black boar hung up by himself, no longer moving, just standing staring at us. we could tell from 100 yards this was one P.O.'d animal, and hal thought it was the one i'd shot earlier.
we circled in slowly until we were at about 50 yards, and he never moved except to turn to keep facing us head on. at that point he started shifting his weight a little, and Hal had me set up next to a tree, telling me that our boy was about to charge. that man sure knows hogs, 'cause not 10 seconds later here he comes, head down and MAD. i took a bead and pulled the trigger.
click. oh, SH###!!!
I levered in another round and raised my rifle again. Just as I reacquired the sight picture, when he was at about 20 - 25 yards, he swerved a bit, whether to charge hal instead of me or to just get away i don't know. hal was yelling, "SHOOT HIM!" so i guaged his speed (which was pretty fast), followed him with my muzzle and let fly again. funny, i don't remember consciously squeezing the trigger, but this one finished the job. he jumped, ran another 20 feet, then fell over and died. turns out this second bullet had done a complete pass through both lungs, gouging out a piece of the heart on the way. game, set, and match to me.
one final bit of news - when springmom's guide got a close look, i had shot the same hog that had charged and menaced him so much over the last couple of weeks. bad tempered pig, dontcha know? he had several fresh tusk scars from recent fights with other hogs, too. so the guides were almost as glad as i was that this one was MINE!
can't WAIT for the meat - some to eat, some to share with our priest and family, some to keep in the freezer for later. MMMMMMMMMMM.
and can't wait for mount - this ol' boy had some nice chompers, which, with his face - jet black with a little silver, will soon adorn our family room wall.
it's a funny thing, watching him charge, i thought "how ugly can one beast get?" now that he's going to be a permanent guest in our home it is more like, "ain't he a beauty!"