What a whirlwind week! My week started off with Gator hunting in the muddy lake waters of Lake Lochloosa, to hog hunting the dark woods of Clio, Alabama, and ending with bowfishing the marshy bayous of Buras, Louisiana. Needless to say that since each of these destinations required hunting at night and the fact that I had to work at my full-time employment during the day, I didn’t get much sleep. But…IT WAS WORTH EVERY MINUTE OF LOST SLEEP!!

My week started off with a trip to Crystal Springs, Florida to hunt gators with Woodland Guide Outdoors. We were hunting 3 nights on Lake Lochloosa. To our disadvantage the lake was extremely low from the lack of rain Florida has experienced. Add to that a rainstorm that ran us off the lake early on our last evening; the equation was an unsuccessful trip. However, we had a wonderful time on our trip.

Lochloosa Harbor

The water was so low from 2 years of a rain deficiency that the boats had to be literally pushed off the trailers and someone had to push it out to knee-deep for engine use.

Shannon and our guide, Dave Mehlenbacher, looking on the banks for alligator on our second hunt.

Amber shooting the crossbow. She hit her mark....

Spanish Moss was everywhere. It made the banks look spooky.

Our second hunt started at 2:00 a.m. in the morning-3 words....Strut & Rut!!

What a beautiful sunrise from the deck of the boat with good friends and great weather the morning of our second hunt. The CALM before the STORM.

We dined at some fantastic places eating fresh shrimp at the Freezer and fried catfish at Stumpknocker. We had the opportunity to shop at Gander Mountain in Tampa and enjoy some great company with our guide, Dave Mehlenbacher.

Stumpknockers. This was my second time eating at this restaurant. Pat Hendrixson, Richard and I ate here last year during our turkey hunt. Great food.

Fresh fried catfish....mmmm-mmmm!

As with all our hunts, Shannon brought cake...RED VELVET CAKE! Divine, I tell you.

A horrible storm that was an off-spring of a tropical storm that blew into Louisiana dumped several inches of rain in a short period and flooded the area where we were staying. For safety reasons, we decided to stay over one night and drive home the next day in the daylight. We had such a great time and can’t wait to come back next year.

We got home at 4:00 p.m. Tuesday afternoon, just long enough to slip on some camo, grab my rifle and backpack and head right back out the door to Rack Nine Outdoors to hunt hog with some friends until the wee hours of the morning.

We had an exciting night, when we all loaded up on Hank the HuntVe and headed to the cornfields to hunt hogs. We drove around the cornfields and even walked across the entire length of the cornfield but were unsuccessful at finding a hog. On our way back to the lodge, we took another trip around the cornfield behind the lodge. Shannon and Terry spotted a hog in the cornfield at the same time. We rolled up as close as we could with Hank and asked Amber, our youngest hunter, if she wanted to shoot it. Unfortunately, Amber was hunting with a gun that was not hers and she did not feel comfortable with it. She made an ethical decision and I am proud of her for that. The next hunter that had not yet harvested a hog was Andrea.

I grabbed the Bog Pod and rifle, Andrea grabbed her gun and Terry grabbed the spotlight and we were creeping down the edge of the field. Rack Nine Outdoors has a depredation order so spotlighting to harvest feral hogs is legal.

I was struggling with locking in the tripod legs and swinging my gun on my shoulder when Terry said, “You better hurry. He is less than 100 yards.” I finally set the tripod up in front of Andrea and she mounted her gun on the tripod. Terry told me to get ready for a back-up shot. I stepped over about 10 yards from them and turned on my scope mounted light and about the same time I put my light on the hog, Terry raised his light on the hog.

There was a real intense moment when I heard Terry say to Andrea, “You better shoot, it is coming toward us.” I saw the hog turn toward the light and make a few steps. Then I heard Andrea say something inaudible and Terry asked her if the gun was cocked. I asked, “Are you going to shoot?” No answer. I asked, “Do you want me to shoot it?” Then I heard Terry tell Andrea wait until it turned broadside so I knew whatever snafu they were experiencing, it was now worked out.

It stepped broadside, but no shot was taken for several long seconds. I heard Andrea say that she could not see the hog so Terry put the entire spotlight on the hog and I made sure my light was on it. It walked two steps, stopped turned its head away from the light and stood for a split second. I quickly asked consecutively, “You going to shoot? Do you want me to shoot? It isn’t going to stand there long.” I heard Terry say, “You better shoot. {Pause} Shoot! Shoot!” Then I heard the shot ring out. It trotted then took off at a run and I was unsure if it was hit. I had him in my crosshairs and made another shot and heard it squeal. It took an abrupt hard right hand turn away from us and was at a dead run.

Terry came running by me as I was bolting another bullet into my gun and said get ready to shoot again. I put my gun on safety and took off after him. He had the spotlight and was about 10 yards in front of me on a corn row. He stopped suddenly and waved the spotlight left then right. He then turned it off and said to me, “It’s down!” We high-fived and I turned around in time to see Jennifer, Shannon, and Amber come running up behind us and we all started hooping and high-fiving.

I said out loud, “SHE GOT IT!!” I was looking for Andrea and she was not in the crowd. Terry put on the spot light and Andrea was walking up. I yelled, WHOO HOOO, YOU GOT IT!! She looked at me and asked, “I did!” Then it finally sunk in and we high-fived and she walked quickly over to see it.

Andrea shot her first feral hog; an 88 pound boar hog. We took pictures in the field and loaded the hog up on the front basket on Hank and went to the skinning shed. We took more photos at the skinning shed. I was so happy and proud of her. I was happy that I got to share the experience with her.

Andrea and her feral hog harvest. We were able to share the experience as a group. L-R Jennifer McKinney, Nancy Jo Adams, Shannon Markley, Andrea Main and Amber Markley.

I was pumped and wanted to go back out. But it was too late; or too early actually. I had to get a little sleep before going to work in a couple of hours. It was tough going to sleep after all that excitement. I laid in bed reliving the moment in my head over and over. I would be back after work this afternoon for another hog hunt. This time Amber and Shannon would be up for shooting hogs. I had hoped my day at work would go by quickly.