The alarm went off at 4:00 a.m. for an early start Saturday morning. I had to go into the main camp house to the kitchen to gather up a few snacks for my backpack. Inside I found Bubba fast asleep in his recliner, Dennis aka Elbis snoring away in his recliner and Brent aka Cobrican on the couch sacked out. I think Brent is the only one that knew I was in the room; only because he had to unlock the door for me. As usual, I was the first up but it wasn’t too long before camp was buzzing.
The crowd drank coffee, orange juice and ate Danish pastries around the picnic table at the camp house. I reminded everyone to grab some snacks for their backpacks and took a poll on what time everyone wanted to come in. We had seven that were hunting with a rifle and one with a bow. We agreed that we would head in around 9 a.m. if we were not hearing any shots. This was going to be a good morning to visit our stands so we could get accustomed to our area for our evening hunt; especially since our evening hunt was going to be a spot light hunt. It is legal in Mississippi to hunt hogs at night by aid of a spot light during the off season for deer hunting. This is something I have never had the opportunity to participate in since it is illegal in nearly all states.
Richard and I were on the 3rd stand which was a double ladder stand…a double leaner in Bubba terms. Richard didn’t bring the camera arm this morning since it was our first visit to the stand and we didn’t know the set up. We agreed that carrying the camera and shooting freehand would be best this morning. Once we knew what our stand set-up was going to be we would take the arm and camera man stand out during mid-day and set those up.
We sat quietly listening to the blaring sound of frogs serenading each other which might have sounded like a symphony or sweet music to them but was a whole lot of noise to us. I had to turn down my ESP ear protection twice to tone down the sound. We didn’t have any animals come in to our stand other than a cardinal. I sent a text message the closest hunters, Kat and Daphne, to check if they were seeing anything but they had not. We called it a hunt at 9 a.m. and started gathering up hunters.
We headed back to camp and I got started on helping with the brunch. Christy helped with the biscuits as I cracked 2 ½ dozen eggs for scrambled eggs. Dennis fried the bacon as several women stood around swapping stories. Bubba had driven into town to get the fixings for our fish fry.
It was beautiful outside, sunny and mild. There were several women sitting in the chairs around the snuffed out campfire enjoying the sun and fellowship while waiting for brunch. We all shared a brunch standing around the picnic table enjoying bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, biscuits, salsa, grape and strawberry jams, orange juice and coffee. After a quick clean up some went to nap, some watched old movies, and some found themselves out by the campfire where the majority of the group were laying on the grass or sitting in chairs.
Richard and I rode out to our stand and put up the camera arm and climber stand. We rode around looking for some sign and looking at the green fields and hunting areas. On our way back to camp we caught glimpse of something running up the road as we got closer to it we noticed it was an otter. I have never seen one before. It jumped in the water and swam just below the surface down the creek. It was really neat looking and made me think of a miniature seal with legs.
When we returned, we found nearly everyone lying in the grass on the other side of the fire pit. Richard and I found us a spot as well as we exchanged hunting stories, jokes and what usually evolves in our daily lives. We laughed a lot and shared some crazy things from Joy’s book she had been reading about some of life’s useless things. Bubba had fallen asleep in his recliner but eventually came and joined us outside in the sun.
Bubba wanted to ride around and look at some of his green fields across the road so we quickly rounded up four ATVs and several people hopped on and away we went. I was sitting on the dump bucket of our ATP taking pictures as we rode around. At each field we stopped and stood around talking. We had a great time sharing.
By the time we returned it was getting close to 3:30 p.m. and our evening hunt plans were to go to our stands an hour before sunset and to stay several hours after and hunt by spotlight. It is legal in Mississippi to hunt hog by spot light outside of deer season. This would be my first time hunting at night. Kat was bowhunting so she needed to be in her stand early enough to hunt with her bow so we decided to go in a little earlier.
Richard and I took Daphne since she was so close to our stand. She parted ways with us as we walked on to our stand. When we got to the stand I went up first and Richard handed me the camera bag and other items and I settled in. Then Richard came up and got into his stand just above me. I knew it was not likely to see anything for a little while since it was still early yet so I pulled my laptop out of its bag. Richard looked down and just rolled his eyes and shook his head. Dedicated!! I needed to catch up on my Friday night blogging and upload some pictures… I was just too busy visiting with everyone to do it back at camp.
When it started getting pretty close to sunset, I closed the laptop lid and slid it back in my pack. Shortly after that, as I was just sitting there relaxing I heard a ruckus to the left of me; leaves moving and some scratching sounds. I reached up and tapped Richard on the leg and motioned that I was hearing something. He started to hear it as well. It was over my left shoulder so I stood up and lifted my gun off the rail and held it. We both started hearing the ruckus a little louder and faster. I looked at Richard and said “Do you think its hogs?” He answered, “Could be.” I strained to see up on the ridge, I ducked and darted my head slowly trying to pick up any sign of the back of a hog. Nothing! The noise just kept coming and at this point Richard was standing up and had the camera pointed in that direction.
The sound was right there..right there in front of us and I still couldn’t see anything. I knelt down in the stand and searched the direction of the sound. My heart was racing at this point because I couldn’t see anything but knew it was coming in my direction and rather fast. THERE IT IS… THERE IT IS MOVING…
An armadillo!! It was scratching around seeking its evening meal. I looked at Richard and rolled my eyes and he asked “What?” I said, “an armadillo.” He smiled and sat down pulling the camera arm back to him. Man, I said. My heart was still beating and I was disgusted. Oh well, at least I will have something to watch for a little bit until the sun goes down.
When the sun goes down and you are in the woods, it is pitch black. We sat awhile listening to ground squirrels and rats scurrying through the leaves on the ground. Nothing bigger came through. I was actually getting a headache from starring into the darkness and the sounds, EVERY single sound seemed to blare; your sense of hearing is heightened when you vision is impaired. After two hours of sitting in the dark, I sent a text message to Daphne to see if she was hearing or seeing anything. She said she did earlier but nothing came into her stand. We decided to call it a hunt.
We came down out of the stand and walked out to the road and to the area where we were to meet her. When she got to us she made the comment that she was having “sensory overload”. That the frogs were so loud and every time she heard several things at once she was having difficulty knowing exactly where it came from. I told her about my headache. We kind of laughed at the experience. When we got back to the ATV, Richard and Daphne were talking about the spot light and finding your cross hairs in the light. Daphne checked hers and was able to see her cross hairs fine.
After discussing it together we came up with a new strategy to come back into the stand around 3 a.m. Daphne agreed that she wanted to do that. Richard didn’t know if he wanted to get up and hunt with us that early and made sure we were positive on where we were going in the dark of the morning. I was looking forward to the early morning hunt and felt good about it.
When we returned Bubba was already frying up the fish for the fish fry. Wow! It smelled wonderful. Of course I had to test a piece out with a little coaxing from Cyndi. She had already tried a piece and said it was delicious. I took my hunting clothes off and headed in the kitchen to see what I could help with. Bubba had just cooked up the last batch of fish so I was put on French fry duty while he made hot water hoe cakes…I think that is what he called them…not a nice name for a dish to be serving at an all ladies hunt, now that I think about it. I fried some mini corn on the cob and fixed it up with butter sauce.
Once everything was cooked, we once again piled into the camp house and stood around eating fish and fries, fried corn on the cob with hot water hoe cakes. What a meal. Everyone was pretty full. Joy ate hot dogs that she roasted on the bonfire. After dinner, we once again congregated at the fire and made S’mores; which I couldn’t fathom the thought of as full as I was.
After helping with the kitchen cleaning I was ready to head to bed. It was 11:30 p.m. and Daphne and I were getting up at 2:30 a.m. Joy and Tommie Lea decided that they were going to sleep in, Kat would need to wait to go out closer to daylight for bowhunting. Christy and Cyndi were going out at the regular time. Chris and Rita had not yet decided if they were going early or the regular time. By the time I got into the camper Richard was already in bed. I asked him if he wanted to get up with me at 2:30 a.m. and he said “Yeah, I think so!” I told him I would wake him up to ask.