After going to the hunting camp every weekend from October through January, I made some local bass fishing trips in February but was missing the camp too much. I had to make one more weekend small-game trip to end the hunting season for good.
It turned out being anything other than small!
Saturday morning I went on a squirrel hunt with my old trusty 12-gauge Remington 870 in Red River WMA. I was slowly creeping along towards a spot 1.1 miles deep in the woods where my buddies and I commonly deer hunt. My friend had killed seven squirrels at this location on the last weekend of squirrel hunting in 2010, so I had high hopes. I starting getting let down as on the long walk in I didn’t see a single squirrel and jumped one rabbit that never gave me a shot.
Suddenly my luck changed as I spotted a big group of hogs. They were about 60 yards away and heading in my direction. I put my bag on the ground to prepare for the chase because it’s hard to run fast with a heavy hunting bag. Soon after I realized I had left all my extra shells in my bag, but by this point I was already committed to getting into position. All I had were three 2 ¾-inch No. 6 lead shot in the gun.
I sneaked along unnoticed and crouched down about 10 yards from the trail the hogs were walking on. There were around 15 hogs in the pack with plenty of small ones having cool color variations. One was white with brown horizontal lines; some had patches, some had spots and one monster momma hog was leading the pack. I was hoping to shoot a smaller pig because I figured I would have better odds for a clean kill, but the big sow stepped out from behind a huge cypress tree and looked directly at me.
Forget getting a piglet, I swung for the fence.
Boom! I drilled her in the head, but it wasn’t the home run I was hoping for, more like a long foul ball, as it did nothing but piss her off. Hogs squealing away took off in every direction running at full throttle.
So did I. Rambo Mode!
As a sprinter in track I can reach speeds of 25 mph, but that is with track spikes not hip boots. Wild hogs can reach speeds in excess of 30 mph, but smaller ones and big ones stunned in the head aren’t that quick. I used this to my advantage as the chase ensued.
I sprinted pass three of the smaller pigs running like a madman possessed, nearly tripping on a brown one. I would’ve liked to take a second pig but, with only two shells left in the gun, I stayed focused on knocking down the bruiser.
I got within 5 yards and fired my second shell. Not being able to put the gun cleanly to my shoulder or aim well while sprinting lead to a forward hit, blowing her lower jaw off. This hardly slowed her down, but gave me just enough time to pump my last shell in the gun and put a round in the back of the ear at point blank range, blowing a huge hole in the pig and dropping her instantly. She fell about 150 yards from where the first shot occurred.
I was out of breath and in complete disbelief of what just happened.
The celebration of killing my biggest animal soon subsided as a realized how far I was going to have to drag this hog. I could’ve gone and gotten my buddy to help. We even had a three-wheeler at the camp, yet I refuse to take such luxuries or miss out on a good workout. So I opted not to gut the animal, either.
I revel in attempting challenging tasks that test my physical limits that few are willing or capable of. Also, after writing the article “Host” and reading about dangerous hog parasites, I played it safe rather than sorry since I had no latex gloves on me.
Moving an animal of this size takes strategy. Trying to face away from the animal and pull with just the legs will burn you out within yards. The reverse row method is the most efficient.
I used the strap from my trail camera and tied it to the back legs making a big loop. Then put my unloaded gun through the strap and gripped it like a bar. I faced the hog and, keeping the knees bent, pulled like a weightlifter does a barbell row using my upper and lower body simultaneously. With each tug the hog moved about 1 yard. This method is slow but effective if someone possesses good upper body strength. Three and a half grueling hours later I had successfully gotten the animal to my ride.
Now, lifting her to go on my cargo basket was quite a challenge in itself. I had gotten too far to give up at this point, though. Using all the energy I had leftleft, I hugged the hog and lifted, barely getting the job done. By far the toughest workout of my life was worth every tug with surprising everyone as the camp as I pulled up with the beast!
The rest of the weekend went well, as my buddy and I caught around 50 sac-a-lait, 10 bullfrogs a bunch of catfish and bass. My biggest bass went over 4 pounds, and we released all the bass we caught over 3 pounds. I also managed to kill four squirrels.
The rest of the pictures from this trip can be found on my facebook page.
I pulled out from the camp near Bayou Cocodrie NWR Sunday afternoon, heading home satisfied with a successful all-purpose smack down but saddened that it was the end of hunting season.