As you may know, we’ve been helping farmers out with nuisance hogs lately. Early this week we continued this mission and had one of the best nights of hog hunting we’ve had to date. It has been amazing to see the damage these creatures are doing to crop fields in our local area.
Also, SCDNR should be commended because they worked quickly with farmers and us to gain depredation permits to help control the crop destruction by these hogs. We always try to abide by the laws and regulations and hunt ethically. So kudos to SCDNR for assisting with this problem and working efficiently.
The First Hog
Gavin and I arrived to the farm around 9pm and upon arrival there was nothing on the corn pile. I state this because recently hogs had been coming in as the sun went down, but that only seemed to be for the few weeks following the arrival of little ones (piglets). Now they are going back to their night routines.
We hadn’t been in the field long when we started seeing deer. Thus far in our experiences at this farm the deer tend to stay away from areas hogs are in and they hadn’t been eating the corn too much. However, on this night the deer went to the corn pile. They ate for a while and some left, but one deer remained longer than the others. As the deer was eating I saw hogs approaching in the woods from the left. I wondered what would happen in this scenario. I figured the hogs would startle the deer and scare it off. However, it was exactly the opposite. I couldn’t believe it when the deer blew and the hogs ran off into the woods! Unfortunately, I did not catch this on video.
Time passed and the deer finally left the corn pile. Gavin and I were whispering to each other about how we couldn’t believe that a deer just ruined our hog hunt. We were already planning for the next time if we had a deer come out we would flash lights at it or something to make it move. We were kicking ourselves out there in the field while the deer walked towards us. In this scenario, we had a perfect wind. It was hitting us in our faces so the deer/hogs couldn’t smell us at all. Surprisingly the deer got closer and closer to us and at it’s closest was about 20 yards away. I got some extremely close video of this deer. Eventually the deer passed us and we started the hog watch again.
We were sitting there watching some raccoons when I noticed more heat coming through the woods. I told Gavin to get ready. Sure enough the hogs came out and got on the pile. They weren’t on the corn too long before something startled them and again we were frustrated. Though, this time they came back relatively quickly.
When a group of hogs are on the corn pile and very close together it’s hard to discern what is what. That is, you could be shooting at a hog’s head, rear quarters, vital area, non-vital area, etc. and not really know because everything blends together. This is why it’s good to spread corn out in a long line or across a wide area. On this hunt the majority of the corn had already been eaten so there wasn’t much left to spread the hogs out. So it all came down to time and patience. It was a waiting game.
Eventually the biggest hog in the group separated itself and I told Gavin to hold on because it was fixing to happen. I put the cross-hairs on the hog and started squeezing off very slowly in hopes of ensuring a smooth trigger pull. A few seconds later the big hog was on the ground and the remaining hogs had retreated into the woods. I hoped to get off more than one shot, but by the time I was able to get back on any hogs in the scope there wasn’t a good shot to be had so I held off. This hunt was a true test of patience.
The Second and Third Hog
We made a trip to the processor to drop the hog off and then headed to another field. Here again nuisance hogs were devastating a local farmer’s crop field. We sat and sat and sat. We knew the hogs were causing big problems, but yet nothing had shown for nearly 2 hours. Then we saw a bobcat stroll along the edge of the field. It was neat to see the bobcat’s movements.
Gavin and I were both starting to yawn and the clock was getting close to 1am. We were somewhat frustrated that nothing had shown up when we knew they were somewhere very close by. Gavin said “Ok buddy, we’re going to give it another 10 minutes and then we’re leaving”. He had resorted to reading random FaceBook posts to pass time and I was scanning in the monocular.
As I’d been scanning the field earlier in the evening I had seen heat signatures from electrical units, random lights, birds in trees, and just other objects that were giving off heat. I made mental notes of these so that I didn’t get excited every time I saw them. On a side note, for some reason it’s easy to get a little disoriented when looking through night vision. I don’t mean like get lost, but rather it’s harder to gauge distance and you can get a little turned around. I say this because as I scanned I saw some heat signatures near where I’d previously seen other signatures. It was late and we were tired and I thought to myself that I remember seeing heat signatures on this side of the field, but not really that many.
Then I saw one of them move.
It was one of the most interesting sights I’ve seen while hunting. I watched 12 hogs come across the top of a hill in a line. It was almost like a scene from a Braveheart movie and they were coming at a pretty good clip. I told Gavin to get in the gun. He put his phone and way and got in the gun. I said “Look to the right” and he spun the gun directly in front of us and I saw where he was looking and said “No you’re other right… to the right! To the right!” I grew frustrated with him quickly because I was seeing what was happening and he couldn’t find them. Finally, he turned to where the hogs were and I believe he said, “Oh my God!”.
Gavin counted the hogs and said, “Man look there are 12 hogs in that pack!”. The hogs were milling around and coming towards us, but they were also arching towards a side of the field that we couldn’t shoot towards. I talked to Gavin and told him that if we were patient we could potentially have a very close encounter. We discussed it, but ultimately, we decided to go ahead and start shooting because we couldn’t predict where the hogs were going to go and we didn’t want to completely miss out on a chance to shoot them in the case that they continued heading the wrong direction. I told Gavin to go ahead and let her fly.
From watching the group, we could easily tell that the biggest hog was on the far left and he just happened to be the closest one to us. Gavin waited on the hog to move to just the right angle and then he buckled that rascal to his knees. As soon as he shot the remaining hogs took off to the left. The video will illustrate this better than I can here with words, but it was a sight to be seen. Gavin continued peppering the hogs as they ran. From watching the video, we believe he hit more than 2, but there was one hog that reversed course and started coming back towards the top of the hill. In the end, Gavin dropped it as well. It was an impressive shooting display from my point of view so props to Gavin “The Chesterfield County Hawg Whisperer” Jackson for getting it done.
By the end of the night we’d shot 3 hogs and had a ton of fun! We’d like to again give shout outs to SCDNR for working with us to get the depredation permit, Reel Determined Outdoors for handling all our artillery & gear needs, Anderson Rifles for making a great gun, and Pulsar for making top-notch thermal equipment that makes all this possible.
If you have hog problems, let us know and we can assist! Contact us on the site, Twitter, or Facebook.
Just wanted to take a minute to tell you guys bout my Arkansas duck hunting trip. We left out on a Monday morning with the truck and trailer loaded with gear. It was me and three other buddies and we set sail for Arkansas. All the information we had been given denoted that the birds were gone. I'd been watching the weather and saw where the cold front was moving down so I knew it had to be pushing waterfowl down with it.
So we drove into Mississippi on Monday evening and we stopped there for the night. We got up on Tuesday and drove on in to Dewitt, Arkansas. The Sky and waterholes were missing ducks and geese. My smile was turned to a frown. That Tuesday we got settled into the historic Schoolhouse Lodge and drove into Stuttgart to visit Macks Prairie Wings because two of my guests have never been to Arkansas so we had to visit Macks. We did our shopping and toured the town a little and headed back to the lodge for the evening.
The trip back to Dewitt showed a different outlook. There were tons of geese and ducks pouring in to fields and bodies of water that evening. I guess we had it timed right. We got up Wednesday and killed a 4 man mallard limit over some rice fields. On Thursday we got a 4 man 6 bird limit, which 1 bird was a mallard/ pintail cross over rice fields.
Got up Friday morning and did something a little different… we went goose hunting. We got a guide named “Hoot” and had to meet him at 4 am that morning. We assisted him in putting out 1200 decoys and layout blinds. Come shooting light we had our limit of specks and some snow geese in a soybean field. It was a great hunt!
Saturday morning we hunted a 900 acre private reservoir and didn't limit out, but we killed a nice mixed bag. After the hunt we packed up and headed back to South Carolina. Although the word on the street said that the birds were gone our trip ended up being a good one thanks to some colder weather pushing the birds down. It’s always good to hunt, have fun, and hang out with friends. I had a great time and we made some memories.
Below are some of the pictures from the trip
This past Tuesday night Robbie Boone and I attended the Lancaster County Cattlemen’s Association monthly Meeting in Lancaster, SC. This meeting consists of a large group of cattle farmers from the area plus a representative from the Clemson Agricultural Extension. We were invited to discuss the rising problem of coyotes in SC and to talk about the 2015 Predator Challenge.
The meeting was held at Jomar’s restaurant and the meeting of course started off with a meal. After the meal was over the leaders of the group turned the program over to Robbie and me for our presentation. Robbie spoke the majority of the time and presented on all kinds of information about coyotes. He spoke about their habits, habitat, breeding cycle, animals they prey on, laws for hunting them, all the way to tactics for hunting them. Robbie did a great job and it was very informational. We also provided the members of the group with a 1-page print out for the rules for both hunting and trapping coyotes. This information came straight from SC DNR’s website and the Cattlemen’s Association Members seemed to find this helpful. After Robbie spoke on the information about coyotes I got up and briefly spoke about the Predator Challenge and what we are trying to do with raising awareness for the sport of predator hunting.
One thing that was interesting (and telling) was that during the presentation and after the meeting it was evident that the Cattlemen’s Association Members were also having issues with coyotes. Several of the members told stories of the increasing rate in which they’re seeing coyotes. Whether plowing fields, running combines, or tending to their cows each member has had an encounter with one or more coyotes. The frequency of these encounters is increasing and they definitely recognized the problem that coyotes pose for them at cattle farmers as well as for hunters.
Overall the meeting went well and the group was very receptive to the presentation. I think now instead of carrying their rifles in their trucks the group members are now going to start carrying them in their tractors and combines and shooting them more often! It was a great event and we hope to do more of these in the future. If you would like for us to come out to your venue just use the Contact Us form to reach out.
Here are some pics from the event…
From balmy temperatures of 70 + to the mid 30’s in one day with wind and rain we thought we might have a shot. The cold temperatures helped push some Giant Canadian geese to the upstate of SC. Our crew loaded up the enclosed trailer once again and headed to one of our hot-spots, a freshly planted wheat field. We carried all of our decoys and layout blinds into the field and Blake strategically placed the decoys to work a North/Northeast wind.
With the cloudy and rainy skies we figured the geese would stay on the roost longer than their normal flight time and that was indeed the case. Around 8:00am we heard a flock of geese at a distance so we hunkered down and Blake started working his Banded Crazy Train. Our camera man Blake Langley was in good position and started filming the geese as they started to give our spread a “look see”.
They started to swing wide and when Blake saw that, he started double clucking and triple clucking and the geese responded immediately. Wings cupped and feed outward was an awesome sight to see and we harvested five birds out of the 1st flock. After some high fiving we got back into position and had a single come in silently, and we just let him do his thing.
We started hearing more geese at the opposite end of the field, so Blake and I both started calling. A flock of around 15 came across but they were heading in a different direction. When we saw them heading somewhere else we started pouring it on ‘em with our calling and they made a wide swing out of the field. We thought we had lost them and then suddenly they broke over the tree line. They already had their wings cupped and it was game on. We managed to harvest six more out of that flock and we got it all on camera.
While laying out in the rain, trying to film and not get the camera’s wet, the crew had an awesome hunt and we can honestly say, “It was raining geese”.
Good Hunting ~Daryl
Team Wrecking Crew
As you know from reading our blog entries, we are putting food plots in at a few different locations with one of those locations being a ?remote food plot?. The location is deemed as ?remote? because it?s in a location that a tractor can?t access?i.e. back deep in the woods. This specific food plot is placed in some planted pines that have recently been ?5th rowed?, that is the lumber guys have removed some rows of the pines and they are now thinned out. To prepare the ground we used Tuffline?s GroundHog MAX and then we came back in and planted some Tecomate Seed Lab Lab Plus.
Since planting the seed, we came back and put out some Milorganite to keep the deer off the food plots for a few weeks while the food plot products grow. We also put out some ?exclusion fences? last week. We?ve had some rain and now the plants are starting to grow as you can see from the images in this blog.
Now that the plants are getting good root systems established and are starting to grow, we went back in and put down some ?Triple-17? fertilizer. We wanted to wait to put the fertilizer down until the plants started to grow, but we didn?t want to let them get too tall before we went back in so as to not damage them. Most of the plants were just a few inches off the ground so we didn?t hurt them. The 17-17-17 fertilizer is made up of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and Potassium which will all help the plants grow even more. It?s kind of like getting some supplements from GNC and taking them for weight lifting in hopes of getting the best results.
There is rain forecasted for the upcoming week, so I?ll be excited to see how the plants continue to grow with the fertilizer now on the ground. Also, I?ve got a game camera out over the plot now, but there are still no animals walking through. Though, keep in mind that this is the intended scenario. The reason we used Milorganite was to temporarily keep them out so the plants will have time to establish. In the coming weeks the Milorganite will start to wear off and hopefully some deer will start to come through.
First and foremost I would like to say that I hope you and yours had a very Merry Christmas! We had a good one and it?s always good to get to see family and be able to give gifts to the special people in our lives.