If you keep up with the blog or the SC Hog Removal page you know we’ve been getting calls from local farmers with hog problems. We’ve been staying after these hogs as it seems they can reproduce nearly as fast as we can get them off a farmer’s property. It’s a full-time job to keep them at bay and we are having fun with it.
Big & J Hog AttractantsWe have been using the Big & J hog attractants “Hogs Hammer It” and “Pigs Dig It” in combination with corn and I can tell you that the hogs do like it! When they come in they stay until all the corn is gone and leave the place looking like a tractor had plowed through it. Here again leading up to this hunt we’d put out the corn and attractants and hoped things would line up.
Labor Day WeekendI had to hang around for a day or so this Labor Day weekend and so why not see if the hogs were moving I thought. It was also the first day of deer hunting season in my game zone so I went deer hunting before dark, got some food afterwards and then headed out for hogs.
As it was a holiday weekend some of my hunting partners were unable to go, but at the same time some of my friends were back at home for the holiday. I was able to talk Garth Knight into going hunting with me. I let him know the hogs had been acting oddly lately as far as their feeding schedule so I was not sure what would happen.
A Short Hog Hunt!Garth and I set up overlooking a field that was not far from a swamp. We’d been getting hogs on camera at all hours of the night. Sometimes they would be solo and sometimes they’d be about 15 of them so I didn’t know what to expect. We got there and got setup around 9:15 or so. I was telling Garth about all the lessons we’d learned with night vision technologies, guns, and the way the hogs had been acting lately.
Every few minutes I checked the bottom of the field looking for heat signatures. We’d been there about 45 minutes when I was telling Garth about how the scope can live-stream hunts to the phone. I got up to turn the Wi-Fi on and as I looked through the scope I saw some bright spots coming through the woods. I told him they were on the way! So we finished streaming the video to the phone and just watched as the hogs approached.
I wanted to give the hogs a few minutes to ensure there were no more coming because sometimes there would be large groups trailing the hogs. So we watched the hogs eating the corn for a few minutes. Nothing seemed to be coming behind these hogs so I decided it was time to take action. I asked Garth if he wanted to shoot and he said he’d hold off this time. It took me a little bit to pick out which hog was bigger and I flipped into black hot mode once to see if that would help. Finally, I was able to figure out the hog on the left was the bigger hog and I told Garth to get ready.
A few seconds later, thanks to the Anderson Rifles AM-10 308 Hunter + Pulsar Trail XP 50, the bigger hog was on the ground! Not bad for the first day of deer hunting season right 😉
We met up with Derrick at 5:30 in the morning. I thought that was a little early, but I had forgotten to budget in the time necessary to let Derrick bend our ears a little before heading out. After our ears got warm we headed out.
Derrick and I were hunting out of a tall tower stand overlooking a food plot bordered by a cutover on one side and some woods on the other. The sun reflected off the ice that covered the trees, plants, and underbrush that surrounded us below. We watched the sun rise while we scanned the field below for movement. At a certain point the sun was shining directly in our eyes, the stand was facing east. For about 20 minutes I could only look left and right out of the sides of the stand avoiding the front of the stand where the brightness of the sun shined through. Eventually the sun got high enough to where we could see out of all directions of the stand easily. It felt like it was time for something to happen.
We surveyed the field looking for any movement. I would zoom in with the camera looking around the edges of the field while Derrick looked through his binoculars. Around 8:20 a hawk appeared out in front of us at about 80 yards and perched on a tree branch. The hawk would swoop down as if to catch something and then return to the branch. It did this several times so I decided to turn the camera on to hopefully get the hawk catching something on camera. I turned the camera on and got the hawk flying off and returning to the branch one time. Just a few seconds after the hawk returned Derrick said ?look at those deer?. Sure enough two does had walked out in a shooting lane to our left while this hawk was chasing his breakfast. I rotated the camera over to film the deer as Derrick slid down from his chair into shooting position.
At first we weren?t sure if the does were going to be big enough to validate taking a shot. After looking at them closely we decided that the first one was decent enough size to make a shot. I had the camera in place and Derrick was ready to make the shot. As I looked through the camera I heard Derrick say ?Are you ready? and I whispered back ?yes?. A millisecond after I said yes the deer was laying on the ground. Derrick wasted no time pulling the trigger after hearing that I was ready. The smaller doe scurried off with the loud booming sound of the shot. There was no doubt on this one. Derrick had a made good shot.
We sat in the stand for a bit to let the nerves settle a little and then we got down out of the stand. Getting down out of that tall stand is a process for me because I don?t like being up that high in the first place. I made a point to go slowly and after I got down I filmed Derrick as he got down from the stand as well to show the height of the stand. We went over to the deer and loaded her up. Derrick says that he aimed at the base of her neck. I?m not so sure about that, but whatever the case is?he hit the deer at the base of the neck. The doe weighed 113lbs and we had another good morning in the woods.
Derrick came through again and I got my fair share of entertainment.
Do you remember the blog entry ? A long, cold winter ? that I wrote back in the middle of December? The gist of the blog entry was that nature gives signals about the upcoming winter. I had talked with a gentlemen about the large amount of acorns that were present this past deer hunting season and he told me that was a sign that we were going to have a long and cold winter. So I went and researched and it turns out there are many different signs that outdoorsman say can predict an upcoming difficult winter.
Well, so far, I would say that the gentlemen?s prediction is right on track. We?ve had more snow than I can remember in a while. It has definitely been colder, (and rekindled ardent conversation on global warming all on the news!), snow has reached parts of the coast that haven?t seen snow in a long time, and the groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of winter. It does seem that nature?s forecast of a long cold winter was accurate.
Here in Rock Hill we got 3 ? 3.5 inches of snow and Pageland got 4 ? 5 inches.
If you?ve got any neat pics from the snow in your location, send them to me and I?ll post them to this blog.
This past week Adam and Will were fired up about turkey hunting. They had been going turkey hunting with some soon-to-be mentioned hunters earlier in the week and I believe the boys are starting to get ?turkey fever? if there is such a thing. They had been sitting with some experienced hunters and watched them call in some birds and I believe it got to them. Their enthusiasm mixed with my recent luck of being in on a successful hunt made a combination for three rookies wanting to go turkey hunting. We decided that we?d go about mid-week.
As the end of the week approached, Adam and Will had been making turkey calling, decoy setting up, and game-planning plans for our hunt. On the Friday night before hand I had to go to a shower (which was a very enjoyable one for me). I got a bunch of grilling stuff! While I was at the shower, Adam and Will were at home practicing their calls, watching instructional videos, reading up on the web on exactly how to call correctly and the best positioning of decoys. Will had also gone and watched where the turkeys went to roost the night before. By the time the shower was over I was exhausted and ready for bed. We agreed to meet at my place early the following morning in order to get set up before daylight. Will was to be the hunter, Adam was to be the caller, and I was going to document the whole thing.
Will arrived to my house first and he showed me the decoys he bought + he was striking the slate call showing me how it sounded. Will said that Adam had practiced with the diaphragm and was bringing it with him. As we waited in the drive way on Adam, we loaded some stuff up. Adam arrived shortly thereafter and we all piled into the truck. As we sat in the truck, Adam told us that he?d forgotten the diaphragm call at his house as he rushed to leave his house. He also told us that he stayed up until 1am researching and getting ready to be the caller for the hunt. We could tell he was excited?like I say, these boys have caught turkey fever. Even though Adam forgot the diaphragm, we thought we?d be ok because we still had the slate call and figured that would be good enough.
We got to the field really early and got all our stuff out of the truck. We headed down to the field and I led the way because I had the bright light on my head. As we walked in the dark, we heard a gobble in the trees really loudly which meant they were really close. We were excited that they were already up and gobbling so early. We had to walk about 350 yards to get to our location. About 3/4?s the way in Adam noticed a ?shed? antler on the ground. We stopped and looked at it for a moment. It was a pretty nice shed?about an 8 point. After pausing for a moment, we continued to our location. We set up in a section of woods that is really like an island of woods out in the middle of a field. Will put the decoys out and then all of a sudden Adam says ?Where is the slate stick?? and we all stopped and thought for a moment and in one instant a sense of worry took us over. Will told Adam that he?d handed it to him back at the truck. Adam remembered and somehow, in between the truck and the island of woods, Adam had dropped/lost the slate striker. The immediate panic mode set in and we searched the ground for the striker. The growth in the field was wet from the early morning dew and the more we walked the wetter our pants legs and boots got. It was not a good situation. We literally had turkeys gobbling at us from the not-too-distant trees as the sun was just starting to come up? and we were looking all around for the striker. Adam thought he may have dropped the striker at the shed rack where we paused for a moment, so we turned around and went back and couldn?t find it there either. We were running out of time. We needed to get situated. We were posed with the situation of hearing turkeys gobble at us, the sun coming up, decoys on hand, but no way of making any sound to get any turkey?s attention. What would you do in this situation? Well, what we did was grab the shed rack and used it as the slate striker. It was not the best scenario in the world, but it was our only hope. I mean hey, you have to get creative in scenarios like this!
We made our way back to the edge of the woods and sat down. Believe it or not, the turkeys actually responded to the antler-against-the-slate combination a few times throughout the morning. In the video below (if you turn the volume up real loud) you will hear one response that a turkey made to the antler/slate call. I told the boys that Bruce Puette said you didn?t have to be a great caller to get a turkey, but somehow I thought we were pushing the limits with our shed antler stunt we were currently pulling. We knew the odds were against us, but we remained hopeful as we continued to get random responses from gobblers across the way.
We had one hen fly in the field really early. She flew down into the very middle of the field and slowly but surely she worked her way towards us. She remained solo the whole time. Eventually she went on past us, but it was fine with us as, by this time, the antler call didn?t seem to be working like we wanted. Though, we could still hear turkeys gobbling off in the distance in the trees across from us. We decided to move closer to the other side and set up at the big oak in the middle of the field. Since we were going to move we wanted to look for the slate striker for a second. We looked for a few minutes and couldn?t find anything, so we pushed on ahead to the big oak tree in the middle of the field. We sat there for a while, and nothing seemed to happen. We ended up moving one more time and we heard the turkey gobbling a lot, but in the end nothing happened.
Since I like to draw positives from any situation, I?m chalking this hunt up to a lesson learned?and that lesson is: Be sure your slate call striker/diaphragm/any necessary hunting gear is secured in a bag before you leave to go hunting! Initially Adam was upset because he dropped the striker, but in the end he was a good sport about it and even gave an interview about what happened that you?ll see at the end of the below video.
I post this blog because we aren?t professionals and don?t claim to be, but we sure do like to hunt! Instead of not mentioning it or being ?ultra-cool?, I like to keep it real and therefore I posted the blog to let you know how our hunt went. We?re not above messing up and it will probably happen again. I?m sure you may have ended up on a frustrating hunt or two in your day and, well, today was one of those days for us. I don?t guess our chances at getting a turkey were too high this morning, but sometimes in life you have to be able to look at a situation, smile, and not take yourself too seriously. Sure the boys practiced calling all night and sure we woke up early only to scratch a slate with a piece of an antler, but I mean look at the bright side?at least we were able to wake up and to go out and hunt somewhere. That?s a blessing in itself! I try to learn my lessons and be able to laugh about it. So feel free to give us a hard time when you see us, there probably will be more material like this to come and we?ll keep on learning our lessons! Every once in a while a not-so-perfect hunt happens and today was that day for us, but we still went to Bojangles afterwards!
After the showing we had yesterday, we all felt like we couldn?t do any worse if we went back out again today. Though, after we hunted yesterday, Adam went and bought a new slate and a diaphragm call. He was pumped up about practicing calling birds in and I think he even went hunting yesterday afternoon just to see if he could get one to talk back to him. Adam is pretty driven and when he gets something in his mind to do, then he usually works at it until he gets it done. I have no doubt that he?ll be a good turkey caller before too long and his efforts today yielded some pretty impressive results. Keep in mind that this was his first time turkey calling without a deer antler.
We all met early again over at my place and headed out. We didn?t drop the striker for the slate on the way in this time so already it was a success in comparison to yesterday?s hunt. This morning we didn?t hear many turkeys gobbling from the trees in the dark like we did yesterday. We got set up and had our two decoys out in front of us. We sat and waited and could hear one turkey gobbling way off in the distance to our left. He was very talkative, but remained at a distance and didn?t seem to get any closer as a response to Adam?s calling.
In time, the sun had risen and was up really high and we still hadn?t seen a turkey. We were a little frustrated at the lack of action, especially since we actually brought the slate striker today! We talked a little in between ourselves and even thought about leaving. Then Adam looked at us and said ?Hey, patience kills turkeys? (referencing to a quote that Mr. Puette told me only a week earlier). I said, yep ? you?re right and we decided to stay in another hour just to see what would happen.
We sat and sat and the temperature started to warm up some. Due to their positioning, Will and Adam couldn?t see as well as I could. I had a better perspective so I was constantly scanning the tree line looking for any movement. After a while, I saw something directly across the field from us that looked like the shape of a turkey, but it was so far away that I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me much like they do when deer hunting. I ?whisper-yelled? at the guys and said ?Throw me the binoculars? and they reached to get the binoculars, but before they could grab them I saw the turkey move. I repeated ?there he is, there he is, can you see him?? and they immediately perked up. I could clearly see the turkey, but it took a few minutes before he came into Adam and Will?s view. Adam was randomly hitting the slate call and I told him to talk to the bird. He started slowly ?purring? at the bird and instantly the turkey puffed his feathers up. I whisper-yelled again ?Can you see him? and by this time they had him clearly in their line of sight. We were all excited and the bird was headed our way.
Adam kept lightly striking the slate call ever so often as the gobbler slowly strutted his stuff across the field. It was awesome. He would walk for a bit, then puff his feathers up and walk some, then like deflate and then puff up again. It was like a cycle that he went through and he did this 3 ? 4 times within the minutes that he strutted across the field. There was no doubt that this turkey was hearing what Adam was doing and responding to it. Even once the turkey stopped and gobbled real loudly in response (and you can hear it on the video if you turn the volume up). We were all glued to our seats as this big boy was strutting in the field like he owned it. The bird was coming closer and closer.
As the turkey got closer I noticed that I started getting some shakes going on ? the same kind of rush you get when a big buck walks out in front of you. My heart began to beat more as the turkey responded and kept drawing in closer to us. It was neat to watch this bird come out from about 200 yards away and come directly towards us. I really thought that we were going to get some great footage of a kill shot.
Finally, the turkey got close enough to us and he stopped and perked his head up. He saw our decoys and when he saw the decoys his whole demeanor changed. The turkey came up from the other side of a small hill. It wasn?t until he topped the crest of the hill that he could see the decoys. As soon as he saw the decoys he started walking differently. He seemed to be more in a hurry and then he went hard to the left and was seemingly pacing back and forth for a minute or so. He did this twice and then made a b-line for the trees. As rookie hunters we really have no clue why the turkey did this, but our current theory is that when this turkey saw the decoys he felt that the male decoy was larger than him and got intimidated and immediately fled the scene. The turkey we were calling had a beard, but it wasn?t a huge one. This is what makes us believe this notion.
After the turkey went back into the woods we were all just sitting there deconstructing what had just taken place before us. We were all pumped and excited and we all felt that same rush. It was a pretty intense few minutes for some novice turkey hunters. Again, we sat for a little while and then two more birds came from the corner. I spotted them and then we went back into stealth mode in the woods. Though, these two birds were just feeding and were hens. They came out in the field and worked their way past us. This was fine with us and we tried to give them time to leave, but we were ready to go. We got up and I interviewed Adam and during the interview Will saw the hens working back down. We paused the video to try to get closer and call them in, but had no luck.
All in all I think it was a much better hunt than yesterdays. To see the turkey blow his feathers up like that and come across the crest of that hill was a neat scene for me and one I won?t forget. I hope to see that again in my life! We headed back to the truck and yet again to Bojangles. I don?t know if it?s a good thing to tell the wife-to-be, but I think I may have caught turkey fever!
You'll best see this video if you blow it up to full screen and watch in 720p, but give it time to load
This past weekend was a good weekend to be in the woods. A cold front with some rain came through, a lot of the leaves are off the trees, and the bucks were out chasing does in our neck of the woods. I don?t know about everyone else, but cold weather, good visibility, a little rain, and the rut gets me excited to hunt!
Friday I was able to get a climbing stand out on the ridge top that I?ve frequently written about on this blog. Saturday morning I trekked it up to the ridge and got in the climber (and yes I fell on the way up the hill). It was a good cold and crisp morning and I had left earlier than normal in order to drive the truck out, unload the 4-wheeler, drive to the section of the woods where I park, get off, trek up the ridge, then climb up a tree in the climber. This whole process took me about 25 minutes. I left earlier to factor in time for all of these necessary routines. Though, reading what I just typed does sound like a good bit of work, but it didn?t seem like it to me. I guess that?s because I was excited at all the sign that I?ve seen on the specific ridge.
By nature, I?m not a climbing stand kind of hunter. Those things make me nervous and I?m never going to get really high up in a tree. However, I think climbing the tree in the morning darkness kind of impaired my awareness of how high up the tree I was. When it started getting light, I started realizing how high I was and then started not to like it too much! I just don?t see how some of you guys can climb 25 feet up a tree and enjoy it. I wish I could do that, but I?m just flat out too chicken to do it. Anyway, I?m up a tree in a climbing stand big enough to hold a fatty like myself and about 20 minutes after daylight I heard some movement coming down the ridge across the way. I saw brown heading down and in about 10 minutes a doe and her 2 fawns (the spots were gone) came strolling through. The doe wasn?t big enough to satisfy me and by satisfy me I mean that I don?t want to drag a doe through that stiff terrain back to the 4-wheeler unless it?s a good one. If I?m going to pull the trigger in there, it?s got to be a good one. Yes, I?ve got some lazy tendencies Also, I?m not a big fan of pulling the trigger on a doe when she?s still got fawns with her.
She walked around for a few minutes when she saw me hanging off the side of the tree. She stared and stomped and stomped. It was funny. She knew I wasn?t supposed to be there, but she couldn?t exactly figure it out. It was almost like she was doing the ?Cha Cha Slide? because she would stomp with her right foot, then stomp with her left foot. She also did the same repeated head-up/head-down movement seeing if I was going to move. Here again I wasn?t going to shoot, but I was going to try to get some video of them. I watched the fawns for a while when the mama was stomping just to see how they react to that. They definitely knew it meant something was wrong because they locked down and were frozen until about 2 minutes later when the mama bounded off waving her white flag at me. They followed her out so I was not able to get any video of them. When she got behind me the fawns were off to my side and I think she saw me move to turn the camera on.
I was texting Adam and Will inquiring as to whether they were seeing deer or not and Adam had some action going on at his place. So with us in two different cities and the Solunar Forecast saying it was a good day to hunt, we definitely felt like the deer were moving. Over the course of the morning hunt I heard several gun shots in the surrounding area. The more and more I pay attention to it, the more I think there is a little something to the Solunar Calendar. The only exception that I think it may have is if there is a storm or some weather that comes in that would alter a deer?s natural instinct to move on a certain day/time. Thus, the Solunar Calendar can?t predict the weather and the deer?s reaction to the weather, but more so will give you times when they would move given normal conditions. Though, this may be obvious to you.
An hour and a half later I hear more movement across the ridge again. I looked over and all I saw was a lot of deer legs moving down the ridge. 4 ? 5 good sized does where in a group heading down the hill. They went down and I was hoping they would come up on the side where I was, but in the end they exited out another side. About 5 minutes later is when something happened that I?ve always wanted to see/hear happen in the woods. I heard more movement on the ridge again. This time there was a small buck coming through with his head down and he was grunting as he ran. I?d never heard one grunt out in the woods before and so it was neat to hear and see. He was definitely trailing the does and he went down the same path they did and exited without me seeing him as well. So Saturday morning was a good one to experience and I got to see a lot of deer. Still no shot, but I enjoyed just being out there and seeing all that happen in nature. I?ll remember that morning for some time to come.
Saturday evening I went hunting near my house and overlooked another valley, but this time I sat on the ground at the base of an oak tree. I went in early because it was a really nice looking day to be out in the woods. I sat in there for 3 hours and didn?t see a thing except a lot of squirrels, but I did enjoy being out there again. The stillness and quiet of the woods gives me time to ponder things?but I still don?t have them figured out yet so I?ll just continue to ponder. On the way out I tripped over another log and fell again. That made 2 falls in 2 days. Talk about a goof troop! The previous morning fall was a just fall because of the steepness of the hill and slickness of the leaves. Though, this fall was unwarranted. I think I had too many layers of pants on which prevented how high I could get my leg up. My brain calculated that I could make it, but the actual cankle didn?t make it over. Fall #2. Fail.
Saturday evening Adam and I went and visited Evans Deer Processing (it?s in Pageland) to check it out. Todd has a nice place down there so if you are looking for a processor in Pageland around the state line, consider Evan?s Deer Processing. After this visit we went over to Wilbur?s house to get some Thermacells & Wildlife Energy Drinks. Why am I writing about this to you?because you should know that Thermacell & Wildlife Energy Drink are sponsoring every competition on the site & they sent us their products which will be given to the competition winners. So we have branded the competitions on the site with their logos & noted that the winner now gets more prizes! It?s getting better all the time!
Sunday morning my dad and I went hunting in a different section of the hunting land. On the way in we saw some new scrapes and here again we sat for 2 hours and didn?t see anything. I think the temperature dropped throughout the morning because it seemed way colder when we left than it didn?t when we arrived. Though, this could simply be my interpretation or misinterpretation because I was warm when I arrived and maybe it took me that long to get cold again, but I do know that it was cold when we left.
Sunday afternoon I went back behind the house again and sat down at the base of a different tree. I was in some very thick woods this time. I had seen some good fresh rubs and wanted to just check them out one time. I always like sitting in a different part of the woods every now and then to get different scenery. The change in scenery can come back to get you though if you try to walk out in the night! It?s easy to get turned around, but if you have an IPhone, the GPS feature can really come in handy There was a light drizzle going on during the second part of the day and I thought it would be a good day to hunt! I sat there for a long time and didn?t see anything. Then right when it was getting dark I had a small doe slip through the edge on me. I only saw her for two steps and with a flicker of her tail she was gone. The darkness came and I headed out and went to the house. To top off the weekend hunts, when I pulled out into the road to head home there were 2 deer standing in the field in complete darkness in the pouring rain. Go figure!
Overall the weekend was a good one. I saw a lot of deer, had some good relaxing time in the woods, and we secured some sponsors for the competitions. Oh and the Eagles won again against Strom Thurmond so now it?s back to our 4th round foe Abbeville who we seem to always meet deep in the playoffs. Man this post got long on me.
We were recently approached for assistance by a South Carolina farmer with hog problems. He’d heard we had a night vision setup and that we could potentially help him with hog control. It took us a while to get a hog on the ground and this blog is the lead up to accomplishing the goal.
Hunting Coyotes Leads to Hunting Hogs
If you’ve been keeping up with the blog here then you’ll know that we recently upgraded to a night vision setup to better hunt coyotes. One of the locations where we hunt coyotes is near a farm and recently the farmer told us that hogs were really giving him problems. They were rooting up his land so much that he’s also hired a guy to trap the hogs. Nobody on our team is a hog expert but we wanted to do our best to help and we were up for learning!
The trapper was regularly catching hogs in the pen and we figured we’d put out a game camera to get a feel for what was going on. In 3 days we had 600 pictures and there was a large pack of hogs that were coming in all throughout the night starting shortly after sundown. It was hard to tell exactly how many, but we guessed 10-15. We got a pattern for when they were coming and we threw out a little corn and planned a date to try out first hog hunt.
The First Hunt
Gavin and I were excited to try and get a hog. Neither of us had shot a hog before because we don’t have them around our hunting leases. It would be a first for us and that helped make it a good challenge. I guess I should also add here that our first hog hunt also occurred during the same time frame where we were having issues sighting in the thermal scope!
On our way to the farm we talked about waiting until the whole group got there so we could have better chances for multiple hogs and we could pick out the biggest one. They were coming out in groups, per the recon from the game camera. We had a plan and were ready to rock.
We arrived to the farm around 9 and got setup. We’d been there about 35 minutes when we started to see some heat signatures coming through the woods. At first it was one big hog, walking solo and I was whispering to Gavin “Shoot that big rascal!” but Gavin held off. I was all excited and Gavin was actually doing what we’d discussed on the way over there… and I was glad he did. Just a few minutes later the woods lit up. It was a sight to see. 12 hogs all came from the same direction and headed out to the corn. Having never seen a hog before I didn’t really know what to expect. The first thing I noticed was how quickly they moved around. I figured they’d be slow, sluggish, and hold still for long periods of time, but that was not the case. They can move pretty quickly. Once the whole group got out there Gavin picked one out and shot. The whole group scattered and he shot again. We went down and walked and looked for blood… nothing anywhere to be found. We’d missed. Another trip to the shooting range was to come.
More Trips to the Farm
After missing the hog we were again frustrated. We re-sighted the gun in and waited until the next weekend. All the while we’re putting out corn and the farmer is filling us in on when the hogs are back. On the next weekend that we could line things up we headed back. This time as we approached the field we saw the hogs entering the field from a different location. It was about to be the quickest hunt ever. Just when we started looking in the scope we heard coyotes howling very close to us. We stood there trying to figure out what to do. As we watched the hogs in the monocular the coyotes continued to howl and to our amazement the hogs turned around and exited the field. Looking back on it we think the hogs left to protect their young ones. They had 3 little hogs with them and leaving was probably the best bet for them with the coyotes howling like crazy on the edge of the field. After this happened we stayed there for a while and waited. We felt sure the hogs would return. They didn’t. So, we broke out the coyote call and stared calling coyotes. That’s the night I shot 2 coyotes on video as seen in this video.
Shooting the coyotes proved that the scope was indeed zero’d in and we had more confidence. The next weekend came around and we returned yet again. This time the hogs were there when we arrived! We got into position and it was Gavin’s turn on the gun again. He put the dot on the hog and let the hammer drop. We both could see in the monocular and scope that when he shot the hog he was aiming at jumped up in the air. We knew he’d hit it! We went down and found blood. We trailed blood for 2 hours through some very thick briars and ultimately the blood trail stopped and we never found the hog. Frustrating again, but we were inching closer.
Going From 223 to 300 Black Out
We reviewed the footage and it was evident that Gavin made a good shot. With this we discussed and researched and decided to make some changes. We worked with the team at Reel Determined Outdoors to change out the upper on the Anderson Rifles AR=15 from a 223 to a 300 black out. This is a unique capability of the AR that gives hunters flexibility. In this scenario, it allowed us to shoot a bigger bullet, one that most hog hunters use.
The next weekend we went back and stayed out there for 3 hours and never saw a hog, but did hear a bunch of coyotes and I missed a coyote! This time we knew the scope was dialed in, I’d just made a bad shot.
Interested in our setup?
We shoot an Anderson Arms AR-15 with RF-85 technology. (You never have to oil the gun). On top of the gun we have a Pulsar Thermal Scope + video recorder. Any Anderson gun and any Pulsar Thermal Scope will be great setup for you too!
We upgraded! Since the blog entry we've upgraded to the Anderson Arms AM-10 308 ( a bigger bullet). You can read about the new setup here.
The Hunt We Finally Got It Done
You may be reading and wondering “How many weekends is it going to take for things to line up for these guys?” … and that’s exactly what we were wondering too. Our luck would be changing soon though.
The farmer reached out to us about mid-week and said “The hogs are back big time”. He’d seen more and more evidence of the hogs rooting and they had wiped out all the corn that we had out. (Side note: trying to keep a pack of hogs fed with corn gets expensive quickly!) So we planned our hunt.
Again this time the hogs were out in the field as soon as we got to the field. Gavin and I quietly got into position. The whole time we could hear the hogs grunting and snorting down near the pen. From the look of the monocular it seemed like one hog was actually trapped in the pen, but we’d later see that it wasn’t.
It was Gavin’s “redemption hog” turn on the gun. I’ve got him trained not to be shooting anything until I’ve got video rolling too 😉 Anyways, we were in position, gun was sighted in very nicely, video was rolling and I gave Gavin the greenlight. We were whispering to each other about which one he was going to shoot. I was watching in the monocular while Gavin was in the scope. Gavin asked me if I was ready and I said yes… then there was a long pause. Gavin giggled… he said “I didn’t take the safety off!” Yes it sounds crazy, but we were so worked up and ready to get it done that our hearts were beating and we were both breathing heavy! Then he said “Aight, I’m shooting the big one” and moments later the first shot rang out. As they ran off Gavin continued to unload on the big boy, which we’d also discussed on the way to the farm. At the shot there was no sign of hitting the hog. It did not jump, flinch, or move awkwardly. With the 223 we tried for head shots, but with the 300 black out we put it on the shoulder. Gavin and I talked as we tried to calm down. He said he felt he made a good shot.
Minutes later we went down to the area where the hogs were. No blood. What! He made a good shoot, the gun was sighted in, we’d upgraded to a bigger bullet… why did it not work out! We were already making plans to go back, yet again, to the shooting range. We decided to walk over in the direction where the hogs ran. There was no blood anywhere to be found. We scanned in the thermal looking for heat signatures in the field and didn’t see anything. The only thing we saw were a few wet spots that looked like slobber or something in the dirt, but it definitely wasn’t blood. We were growing frustrated as you can imagine.
This farm is in an area with lots of hills. As you can see in the video the hogs were just behind a small hill when we shot. As we talked and walked the edge of the field you could just tell there was a vibe of frustration, an energy of we-didn’t-get-it-done-yet-again going on. Then Gavin said “What is that?” And I said “What?” He pulled out the thermal scope and said “That’s the freaking hog right there!” and I looked and man it was huge laying right there on the edge of the field. What happened was the hog did not bleed at all and ran about 60 yards around a corner and laid down on the edge of the woods just behind a hill of dirt. This is why we could not see it in the thermal. Instantly we got all excited and the vibe changed from one of dejection and frustration to one of celebration and excitement! We’d finally accomplished the goal and got a hog on the ground. And yes the 300 blackout really put it on the hog. We high-fived and drug the hog out to take some pics. When we grabbed the hog to drag it and take pics we had to re-grip the legs because it was so big. I’ve drug a lot of deer in my life and this thing was heavier than any deer I’ve ever drug. I’m guessing it went around 220 lbs. It was a healthy female hog and yes it stunk!
After multiple attempts at getting a hog we finally succeeded and it felt good to get in the end zone for once! We finally had proof to the farmer that we could help him out. We’ve finally got things dialed in and set up and guess what… the farmer has already let us know that the hogs are back again so we will be heading back out sooner than later.
Do you have problems with hogs or know a farmer who does?
We are now ready to help! Just reach out to us here on the website via the Contact Us form or contact Gavin Jackson at 843.517.9920.
We mount hogs...fullmoon taxidermy..478-973-2618....we use the real teeth.