What a fantastic weekend!! I am so blessed to know such a fine group of women. We had our 2nd Annual Hog Hunt at Bubba’s Deer Camp in Liberty, MS this past weekend and even though I didn’t think the hunt could have been any better than last year’s….it was!!

Eight women attended this hunt from 6 different states: Carlee Magness from Oklahoma, Christy Turner from Texas, Tommie Lea Clanton and Vicki Morehead from Louisiana, Billinda Neyman from Iowa, Kasey Strganac from North Carolina and Cyndi Penn from Missouri. We were blessed with the attendance of Melissa Williams from Texas who was a non-hunter but a great camp mate and worked hard cleaning and keeping things in order. Many of these women had hunted together previously and a few were new to this group. Nevertheless, we had a fantastic time. Tommie Lea crowned a Queen of the Day both days and ironically, the only two pigs harvested were both the recipients of the title; Cyndi Penn and Billinda Neyman. The crown must be a lucky charm…

The Queen of the Day: Cyndi Penn was Queen on Saturday and Billinda was Queen on Sunday.

Billinda was so proud of her reign she wore hers to town. She said "Hey, you only live once.!!"

Bubba Ledbetter, Brent Sawyer, John Thibodeaux, D Magness and Richard Holt were excellent hosts, cooks, guides and/or workhorses for the group. This group of men have always been supportive of women hunters and great mentors to us and we appreciate them beyond words. To show you how great these guys are, here is an example; Brent posted on Facebook upon our return:

“I always feel like I was allowed to sit on the side lines of something truly amazing when I get to help out with one of these hunts. You ladies always tell us how “awesome” we were to help out. It’s the other way around. We are honored and privileged to be allowed in and be able to participate in such a close-knit community. You ladies changed us last year. You changed our perceptions of lady hunters. You changed the way we viewed our own hunting communities. We didn’t make a great weekend for y’all, you made a great weekend for us! ~Brent Sawyer”

Billinda and Kasey rode to Mississippi with Richard and I. After picking up Billinda at the airport we were on our way. All of us were really excited and knew it was going to be a long night for us since we were not going to arrive until after midnight. Our hunt was going to be the remainder of the evening/early morning for this small group.

Cyndi was the first to harvest a hog and she actually helped John with the entire cleaning process: way to go Cyndi!! The hog had been butchered and was in a cooler before we ever arrived.

When we arrived, everyone was already on stand except for Christy, Carlee and D; they had just arrived as well. We were on a fast horse to change and get out to our stand. I was not hunting this trip, just sitting with Billinda and being the one to man the spotlight. Brent, Bubba and Richard took us to our stands. Each person was dropped off at their stands and Billinda and I was dropped off next to last. As the ATVs and Hank drove away, we headed down the dark two-rut trail. It was really dark out and it wasn’t 60-70 yards down the trail when the mosquitoes started dive bombing our heads and buzzing around our face. I was so glad that I suggested that we turn our ThermoCells before we left camp so they would be good and warm by the time we were sitting still in the stand. I couldn’t wait to get up in the stand and get that protective barrier around me.

About 20 minutes after being in the stand we heard some squeals. The rest of the night was pretty much motionless and it became hard to stay awake…at this point we had been up for over 22 hours. Nobody was hearing or seeing anything so we headed in just after daybreak. We had eggs, bacon and biscuits for breakfast and then most of us retired to take a nap. Cyndi and Richard went to go scout for turkey.

It was mid-day when we all grouped back up on the porch. After having sandwiches for lunch compliments of Tommie Lea, the group headed out to ride the trails on ATVs. After the ride, we shared popsicles compliments of Billinda and sat around and talked. These simple times are the best of times.

Richard, Kasey, Billinda and I on our way out to ride the trails looking for signs.

Vicki & Cyndi headed out...

D, Carlee, Christy and Tommie Lea headed for the trails....

Andrea on her way out to hit the trails and to do a little mud riding.

The group eating popsicles and shooting the breeze.

Tommie Lea and a few of the others went out rattlesnake hunting hoping to score on some fried rattlesnake for dinner. They were unsuccessful at finding one….but no fear because Bubba made his famous Mud Bug Etouffee!! Divine, as usual!!

Bubba Grocery Shopping for us for a few last minute things.

The Famous Bubba Ledbetter MudBug Etouffee...absolutely DIVINE!!

Eating Mud Bug Etouffee before heading out to the stands.

We took a couple of group and fun photos and were on our way back to the stand just before sunset with plans on returning to camp around 1:00 a.m. Billinda and I sat in the same stand and the night started off real quiet. Around 8:15 p.m. I heard rustling in the leaves but it did not sound like a hog. When I couldn’t stand it any more I used the spotlight to see if I could see what it was. It was an armadillo poking around.

At 9:30 p.m. Billinda said she heard something out in front of the stand to her left walking toward us. She got the gun ready in the window and we waited until we were certain that the noise was in a clearing. We could tell there were more than one animal moving around. I asked Billinda are you ready for me to turn on the spot light and she whispered back “Yessss”. I turned on the spotlight and instantly I saw the sow however from the place I was standing I did not realize that there was a tree splitting the beam. I asked Billinda if she wanted to shoot it. She said, I can’t see it. I moved a little to the left and I lost the sow from the shadow of the tree that is when I realized that was why she could not see it. I quickly stepped toward Billinda and placed the light over her head with the beam on the sow. She said, “I see it, I see it.” I asked, “You want to shoot it?” She said yes. And within a split second I heard the rifle shoot. The sow went down in her tracks right there. As soon as I realized the sow was down, I whooted and hugged Billinda who was working the bolt action.

We could not wait to get down there and see it. It didn’t take us about 2 or 3 minutes to be on the ground. We snapped a few photos but not before the mosquitoes started feasting on us. We did not bring a ThermoCell out of the stand with us. We were back in the stand as quick as we got out of it and had the ThermoCells waving in the air. Whew…I hate mosquitoes.

Billinda Neyman with her sow harvested on Saturday evening of the hunt. She dropped the sow in her tracks...great shooting Billinda!!

We were picked up at 12:30 a.m. and taken back to camp, John had Cajun venison sausage and marinated grilled pork tenderloin from Cyndi’s hog harvest. That was a nice midnight treat.

Coming in from the Saturday night hunt to some good food.

John doing what he does best....cooking!

Cajun Venison Sausage that was waiting on us when we returned from Saturday night's hunt.

John's special recipe pork tenderloin from Cyndi's hog harvest.

We sat around talking a bit then everyone headed to bed. John cleaned the hog with Billinda, Vicki and Kasey taking notes. I turned in to get some much-needed sleep after a long day. I was so happy to have been able to share this hunt with Billinda; special memories were made today. I enjoyed the company of all the women and although time was limited in visiting we had a lot of laughs and shared good times.

Various photos from the weekend:

Nancy Jo standing in the creek to get just the right photos for a future project.

Vicki in the cooler....too funny!

A really cool tree root system of an uprooted tree.

Shooting the breeze in camp.

Brushing my teeth Sunday morning...hey, you gotta brush your teeth regardless of where you are at, right?

Richard and Billinda half way through our ride scouting. And YES she is still wearing her Queen of the Day sash!!

Tommie Lea's tent that some of the ladies stayed in. How fun--sleeping under the stars!!

Tommie Lea and Melissa packing up to head home.

Billinda coming out of the stand with her fancy "hunting shoes"...NOTICE she does NOT have the Queen of the Day sash on!

Bubba grabbing a bite to eat; cajun venison sausage on white bread.

Hanging out at the house after the trip.

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