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Deer season gone HOG WILD!

The end of the deer season at the Atchafalaya Delta WMA turned out to be quite a wild ride for us. The thing is deer were not really involved very much.

It all started innocently enough, when my buddy Randy Levingston and I were walking back to my boat around noon time, somewhat depressed after four straight hunts with no deer sightings. I noticed a hunter in his boat parked next to mine. We exchanged greetings and the guy asked if I remembered him. I replied that I did. We met at the Berwick boat landing late last season. His name was Casey Louis and he told me he had been reading my reports about the Delta, that I did for the Louisiana Sportsman and Bayou Bucks websites. He said he was trying to learn the area and liked it so much he was driving an hour by truck from his home town just to get to the landing and then taking the 50 minute boat ride. That is dedication in my book. He had hunted quite few times this season seeing deer on most trips and scouting in between as much a possible.

I told him we were going to try to stalk some hogs on a perimeter island, if he cared to join us and learn some more of the area. He jumped at that suggestion and offered us a ride in his Pro Drive. This gave us the opportunity to get to an area that we had not hunted in four years.

We arrived to find what looked like hog paradise. No boot prints, no flags and no stands. Only hog and deer tracks everywhere. We all became very excited about the possibilities. We were scouting for a future hunt, as I had a commitment for the afternoon, but of course each of us had our bows and we were being as stealthy as possible with the wind in our favor.

As we explored the area and crept along a corridor between the myrtles and the marsh, suddenly I halted the guys and pointed straight ahead. There was a nice hog feeding less than 100 yards directly in front of us. I signaled to Casey that there were 2 hogs. He signaled back to me that there were 4 hogs. We were both wrong, there were actually 6 big full grown hogs feeding, oblivious to us and heading in our direction.

As our adrenaline skyrocketed, we had to come up with a plan --very quickly and without talking. So through some quick sign language and extremely low whispers, we prepared to each take a hog by releasing at the same time. Randy drew back and then I checked with Casey who did the same. I confirmed that they were ready, then a drew back myself and picked the hog who was closest to me at 30 yards. I fired, as did Casey, but Randy’s hog only gave him a hind quarter shot at that moment, so he did not release. Casey missed and I only grazed the hair a bit on mine. The front four hogs bolted into the marsh and then we got a good look at the last 2 hogs. Take a look at the one in the photo. Add another 100 to 150 lbs to mine and you would have the size of those monsters. They ran into the myrtles.

Now in normal situations it would be game over. A thrilling stalk and now the woods were clear.

Well this wasn’t a “normal” day, not by any definition. We decided to stay in stalk mode, just in case any of those hogs decided to circle back. We made it down to the end of the corridor where a canal intersected and decided to set up on the ground there and wait. A few minutes went by, then a few more and there it was---grunts and squeals of the hogs heading back in our direction from the myrtles.

Que the adrenaline rush once again. The grunts grew louder, branches were snapping , myrtles were rustling. Randy was occupied with a hog feeding only six yards away in the tall cut grass of the canal. As he watched, suddenly a big hog shot out of the myrtles in his direction. It immediately doubled back and he pointed to me that the hog was right in front of him but he had no shot.

I drew back as the big boar stepped into the opening at 30 yards. My arrow ripped through him with about as perfect of a shot as I could ever hope for. Midways high, right behind the shoulder.

The boar sped into the myrtles and crashed through everything in his way. We gave some long distance, imaginary high fives and then waited a again, to see if they would be back. Randy was still waiting patiently for the hog in the canal to show, I was about 30 yards to his right and Casey was about 40 yards to my right. Casey and I were facing the myrtles. We waited and this time it seemed like the hunt truly was over. 20 minutes went by and then--again-- the grunts started. The bushes moved, branches cracked. Suddenly I was staring at a nice 150 lb hog at 30 yards. With the wind in my face, he still did not know we were there. I motioned for Casey to take the shot, but the angle and distance were not right for him. I motioned for Casey to begin creeping towards the hog. Right then the hog ducked back into the myrtles. Casey began taking slow steps to close the distance. 30 seconds later another similar size hog came out of the same opening. Casey continued his stalk. This hog also ducked back into the myrtles but neither of them left, they were actually rooting and feeding just inside the myrtles.

As Casey got closer he signed back to me that he could see four hogs. It would take another fifteen minutes as he inched closer and closer. Finally one of the bigger hogs gave him a shot. He took it and the hog tore off deep into the myrtles.

We decided to try to track my hog, as well as Casey’s at this point. Randy joined as we each retrieved our blood soaked arrows. We separated and entered the myrtles to trail. I hadn’t been in more than a minute or two when a big sow and little one sped off in front of me. Before I could really react, I hear something coming towards me to my right. It is several small hogs and as they run by less than 10 feet away, I hear crunching behind me to see a larger hog waiting for the little ones. On one knee, before I could get to full draw, all of them run back past me and disappear into the myrtles. I advance another step or two, when a tremendous crashing comes from my left. It is a sow that looks as big as the one I just shot, no more than 20 yards away, but it is moving so fast I didn’t even raise my bow. Then all was quiet.

It had been an hour since we first saw the hogs. It was definitely the most intense hour of my hunting life. We continued to trail and Randy found my hog not more than fifty yards from the impact. My arrow had found both lungs. We then turned our attention to Casey’s. It took a while, but we eventually found a blood trail. It was sparse and after nearly 2 hours of searching we figured it had made it to the marsh and there would be no recovery. The huge hog I saw on my left was one Randy was drawing back on. The sow’s babies were five feet in front of him and when I spoke to Casey in the myrtles, she heard me and bolted into the canal only to reverse and run by me in the myrtles. So Randy had some coulda, woulda, moments but did not get to release an arrow.

Now the task was dragging my big monster out. The closest I could describe it, was like trying to drag a refrigerator (fully stocked) through the swamp. But we got it done right at dark. We tried to hoist the boar up at my Dad’s house where we clean our animals, but it broke both of the pulleys and then straightened one of the S hooks. We snapped a picture while it was hanging from the last S hook, but had to leave its head on the cement in fear it would break that one also. We couldn’t weigh it for the same reason, but it is definitely my biggest ever.

Casey and I returned to a nearby area a few days later. Again we walked up on hogs within less than a minute that after we left the boat. These were much smaller, but there were 11 in the group. Casey closed the distance on them and had a potential shot, but they would not stop trotting. A little later we set up in climbers for the PM hunt. I had a doe come out from behind me down wind. I was drawing back when she bolted for the myrtles. I radioed Casey and he saw her coming, but she stayed inside the myrtles with the cover preventing a shot.

Right before dark I heard something coming my way from the same direction as the doe. This time it was four hogs each about forty pounds. They stopped in a group about 20 yards from my stand. I waited for one to step ahead of the group. At that moment I watched as my Nocturnal nock zipped through the late evening gloom and the hog screamed off with the nock bobbing like a beacon. It went down about fifty to sixty yards away and I had my second hog in as many trips.

All of this excitement was possible, because of Casey’s generous offer to bring us where we could not possibly go with my own boat. Our last hunt of the deer season, Randy watched a big 8 point buck for 25 minutes out in the marsh. The buck started out at 150 yards and got Randy excited as he made his way in the direction of his ladder. But at 70 yards the buck turned and got no closer. Casey saw two hogs late in the PM hunt and I didn’t see anything at all on either hunt.

Now we begin to chase the hogs with a gun for the next six weeks. Hopefully we can bring you guys another exciting story, but it will be very difficult to top that series of hunts. Meeting and hunting with Casey, has been a blessing to Randy and I. Just a great guy, with a great attitude to share a hunt with. We look forward to many more adventures in the future.