Every now and then I get that “lucky” feeling that tingles clean to the bone. Wednesday was one of those days. I sent Richard a text mid-day and told him to be ready when I got home because we were going hog hunting.
When I left the office at 5:00 p.m., I could not get home quick enough. I made several calls on the way home to make the one-hour drive go by unnoticed. When I pulled into the driveway, I parked Clyde in front of the trailer and jogged into the house. Richard was coming out the door to go hook up the trailer and load up Hank the HuntVe. I changed clothes and grabbed my gear so quickly that I had to make an account of everything before I descended the steps of the back deck.
We were in the truck and headed to Rack Nine Outdoors in Barbour County, Alabama in record time. On the drive over I casually said to Richard, “I feel lucky. I have felt it all day. I am going to get a hog this afternoon. Woo Hoo!” He just chuckled at me. But I really had that feeling and I was giddy to get there and see if I it would come to fruition.
We pulled in the drive at the huge cornfield. As we made the turn a big smile crept across my face as I belted out the tunes to Mary Chafin Carpenter’s song “I Feel Lucky”. Of course, Richard just rolled his eyes and let out a “Pfffttt!” Hank was unloaded and the little bit of gear that we brought was quickly placed in the front basket. I stuck my ESPs in my ear, worked the bolt on my rifle and we were driving down the trail to the West side of the property.
We slowed down in some areas surveying new crop damage and tracks. None of the tracks were really big…all young hogs, piglets and some deer. As we approached the area we sat at on Sunday we noticed some mature hog tracks and tiny piglet tracks. I assume it must be the sow and piglets from Sunday afternoon–but it was highly likely it was another sow and piglets.
Once we were on West side fence line we could see that there were new bent over corn stalks and some standing stalks with ears eaten. Interestingly, a deer will leave the corn stalk standing, shuck back the ear of corn, eating the corn from the cob, a raccoon will break off the ear and take it to the place it wants to eat it but a hog will break over the stalk taking the corn and stalk to the ground to eat it. We saw variations of this all over the West end of the corn field.
Richard and I looked at the edge of the cornfield to see what type of tracks we could find. We rolled along slowly on Hank on our way to the fence line. I saw a huge track and told Richard rather abruptly, “STOP!” Oh my gosh, I had to get off of Hank and take a picture of these tracks. They were fresh, since the rain on Monday night and they were BIG. THIS is what we came here to hunt. WOW! I felt like a kid at the fair…I instantly had to pee, wanted to giggle, had chills and was at the point of wanting to jump up and down. ALL THIS from looking at tracks on the ground…albeit, NICE tracks.
We found a good spot on the fence line to sit, waiting on hogs to come out of the woods into the cornfield to eat. It was around 6:40 p.m. by the time we were settled. I did forget one important thing; my ThermoCell. How could I have forgotten something so important and as much as I preach about not EVER leaving the house to hunt without a ThermoCell? Argh!!
I had a can of Sportsman’s Repel in Hank’s glove box and the wind was perfect for us so Richard and I sprayed our shoulders and back lightly. It was pretty hot and humid but our Never Quit shirts by THY kept us comfortable. We watched the cornfield and fence line but never saw any stirring. I took a few photos, made a few Facebook posts, sent a text and answered an email until I got reprimanded by Richard to PUT CRACKIE UP!!
Around 7:30 p.m., I was starting to get bored; no Crackie, no talking, nothing to watch–not even the corn stalks were blowing in the wind. I made idle “whispered” conversation with Richard. At 7:40-7:45 p.m., I was looking out across the cornfield when I turned to look toward the fence. As if fate for perfect timing, Richard said “There’s a hog” at just about the same time my eyes caught the movement and the dark color.
I quickly raised my rifle and mounted it to my shoulder and jaw, placed my rifle down on the BOG POD. I had the hog in my crosshairs instantly. Richard said, “That is not the HUGE hog that I seen but it is a good size.” I asked, “Are you ready?” as Richard was waiting for the camera to come off standby. I asked again “Are you on it?” No reply. I had less than 2-3 steps before this hog was going to be in the corn and out of my shooting range. I said, “I am taking the shot.” And I did. It actually startled Richard because he jumped.
The hog was walking and I made that shot on a moving target, which I was comfortable with. What I saw through my scope after the instant flash of orange flames was eerie. The hog jumped, and every hair that was on his top line between his shoulders and snout stood bristled on end as he lunged toward the edge of the corn. I didn’t hear a grunt, squeal or anything other than a ground thundering sound and corn stalks being rustled, broke over or mowed down as this beast belted through the stalks at a dead run.
As I raised my head and watched the glimpses of the hog in the rows, I heard Richard say “Put another bullet in.” “Bolt it…put another bullet in. He might be headed this way.” I was so amazed and focused on watching the hog run through the corn and listening to exactly where he was at that I didn’t even think to bolt another round. But I did it, rather quickly when I caught glimpse of the hog which looked like he might be headed BACK to the woods. He didn’t, however–instead he ran another 50 yards across the row of corn before we didn’t hear anything at all.
I quickly looked at Richard and said, “I got him. I saw him jump and bristle at the shot impact.” Richard replied, “Yep, I believe you did.” He then said “let’s go track him.”
This was an afterthought, but for some important reasons the thought of having to walk blindly into thick rows of corn stalks, some over my head, after an animal that has a 50-50% chance of being alive, but fatally wounded but surely MAD, absolutely unnerved me. Seriously!! This hog will be able to see me because of the small gap from the plant root to the first row of leaves but I cannot see it. The thought actually sent chills up my spine which ran down my arms and legs.
Richard had the video recorder playing and I had no choice but to dig deep and quash my fears–so I trudged through the rows quickly finding the hog’s tracks and a very large blood trail on the leaves and corn stalks. Finding the hog was not hard but walking up to it to poke it with my gun–that took courage.
The hog, a boar, was a lot larger than Richard and I had first thought. The tall grasses that the hog was walking in when it came into my shooting lane made it look much smaller. This hog, well, Richard and I were NOT going to be able to get out of this cornfield without help. Richard estimated this boar to be between 250-300 pounds. He quickly got on the phone and summoned some help.
An hour later, the hog was on the trailer and we were headed to the skinning shed. The boar weighed in at 310 pounds on the mark. He had some pretty prominent cutters and an estimation that he was about a 3-4 years old. My shot hit the heart and a lung and I could not have been any happier with my shot and the harvest of this nice boar.
When it was all said and done and the hog quarters were packed on ice, Richard and I headed home to get some sleep so we could get up and go to work in the concrete jungle in the morning. Looking back, my premonition about feeling lucky actually did come to fruition…I was truly blessed by the experience.