First hog! (Long)
My brother and I decided to go out to the Green Swamp Tuesday night for an overnight trip. It drizzled on and off all night. We were checked in and in the woods by about 5:20, headed for a spot I hunted my previous time out where I had seen some hog sign. There was a light drizzle coming down. We were driving along the main road a little over 2 miles from the check in point when I saw something in the road. It was still dark, so I thought I had just been mistaken. But once we got closer I saw it was a hog as it headed into the brush, and a big one at that. AHA!!
While I had seen tracks at the spot I was originally headed to, we hadn't seen any rooted up areas or anything like that so I wasn't dead set on going there, we decided to stop right there. We parked on the side of the road and sat for 15 or 20 minutes to let it get a little closer to legal light. We got out and loaded up and set off. We had little flash lights with red lenses to guide us, supposedly red light doesn't spook game, and hey I can use every edge I can get. We headed straight into the woods and found a nice spot just as the sun was coming up. Once the sun came up fully, we decided where we were wasn't such a good spot, very low visibilty. We were right in the middle of a Cypress head and it was almost solid on 2 sides of us. We sat for a while and then headed back towards the road to see if we could find the tracks from the big bruiser we had seen earlier. When we got to the road we could see a little ways into the brush and could see that the whole area on both sides of the road was completely uprooted, complete with fresh tracks and poo! Alright! And sure enough, there were plenty of tracks to be followed. So we headed off following them, and when we ran out of soft ground for tracks, we followed the trails through the tall grass.
We came to a stand of Palmettoes and then we ran into a tree stand, we couldn't tell if it was occupied so we went towards the other side of the Palmettoes. Good thing we did too. The Palmettoes went right into the Cypress. They were up a little higher than the Swamp, so they were easy to skirt. We hadn't been on them for 25 yds when we started to hear animalS pushing through them. We hadn't spooked them, they were moving slowly in more or less the same direction we were. After 150 yds or so, we saw the Palmettoes come to an end so we hurried up and headed up th the end, where they actually came to a point, like a funnel. They were still headed towards us too. So we sat down and waited for them to come to us. And they stopped. So we waited.
After about 10 minutes or so we heard squealing and grunting BEHIND us. We were surrounded! We got up and headed towards the sounds. The ground was really damp so we were able to move very quietly. We were headed that way when I saw piglets. Well, they weren't piglets so much as they were small pigs, 20-25lbs. And coming along behind them was a nice looking hog, this must have been a big pack. My brother was behind and to the right of me so he didn't have a shot. They were still moving through some low brush, so I didn't either. Then I looked ahead of her and saw my opening. It was 1 1/2-2 feet wide, between 2 Cypress trees. I had a clear window straight through to it, and it would put her at 25-30 yds. I was packing my High Standard K-120 with Remington 1 oz. slugs. I raised the shotgun and snicked the safety off. I looked back and my bro knew I was about to shoot so he stopped moving. Good. I turned back and lined up the sights on the opening and said a little prayer. If she crossed that window, she was mine. And then my little space was solid black. There, shoulder, squeeze... BOOM! As the smoke cleared I saw her come down and take off running. She was limping so I thought I had hit her pretty good. There was another shell in the chamber as we took off at a slow trot after her. I saw her enter another little stand of Palmettoes to the left of where we were. We waited at the beginning of the stand and waited. Silence. I walked a little ways and found an opening. I crept my way down the little trail and I saw a little clearing 20 feet or so ahead of me. I crept a little closer and looked up and there she was, standing in the little clearing, looking right at me. I stood up while I brought the shotgun to my shoulder, put it right at her neck and... BOOM! She was down. And she was bigger than I thought. I approached and knelt down, said another little prayer, and took a look. Turns out my first shot hit low and went took out her elbow, destroying her leg after which it went through the lower part of her rib cage and out the other side.
Then the work started. We were maybe 375 yds from the truck, not real far you say? Not really. But it was straight through a thick Cypress head. I had bought one of those dragger harnesses but my other brother had taken it home after our last trip and I had forgotten that until then. So we had nothing. I sacrificed my belt and strapped it around her rear legs and we started dragging. Not working. So we went back to the truck to see if there was anything we could utilize. Nothing. And just then who should pass by but an old buddy I used to work with. He had a good strap and helped us drag her out.
We got her to the check in station and she weighed in at 109.5 lbs! We gutted and quartered her and now I'm looking for some good recipes.
This was the first large game I've taken. There have been plenty of Squirrels and Rabbits and various other smaller game though. I have to tell you I've never had quite the same feelings with smaller game. It was a very deep and surprising experience to say the least. I'm sorry I wasted so much space but I thought I should share. I had left my camera back at the tent but my buddy tooks some pics, I'm waiting for him to email them to me and then I'll get them up. I can't wait for my next days off! Oh and when we left, we were the only people to take anything so far. I may have shot it, but after all the work we put into packin' her out, it was OUR hog. Boy were we proud!