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.
The below blog entry is a guest blog entry posted by Andy Hahn
When friends work together toward a common goal we can accomplish amazing things. I have severely limited mobility because of ALS, but my good buddy Ron Wagner always finds the time and energy to help me enjoy the outdoors. In April 2009 we were hunting at Bang?s Paradise Valley Hunting Club in Ehrhardt, South Carolina, when I told Ron I wanted to take a hog with my Horton Hunter HD 175 crossbow. Our timing was perfect because another guest at the lodge was Matt Miller of Covington, Virginia, who works as a pro-staffer for Horton Crossbows. Although he was at Bang?s to pursue turkeys, he gave up his own hunting time and volunteered to help us that morning. Another friend, Matt Lindler (editor for National Wild Turkey Federation publications), joined us to take photos. Our guide, Tom Collins, mapped out a game plan in the dirt like a sandlot quarterback.
?There?s a game trail here...Set up the blind on this side of it. The hogs bed down in the swamp here. I?ll give you guys 20 minutes, then I?ll come in from this end to push the hogs your way.?
Matt M had the pop-up blind open by the time Ron had wheeled me through 50 yards of mud and deadfalls. Ron quickly assembled my BE-Adaptive gun support and stood by to aim the crossbow with my scope camera/monitor system. Tom tromped through the swamp and his plan worked?sort of. Several hogs went past us, but they ran by too quickly for a shot. Then Tom called on the radio to tell us he saw two hogs hiding in a brushpile. Knowing that hogs tend to sit tight when burrowed into cover, he asked, ?Can you guys get Andy over here?? If the hogs hunker down, we?ll go after ?em; we call this method ?squat ?n stalk hunting.? Ron grunted my wheelchair through 150 yards of palmetto scrub, over logs and around fallen branches while Matts L and M carried the crossbow and other gear. One of my tires went flat from a thorn we picked up somewhere along the way. When Ron apologized, I told him flat, muddy wheelchair tires are much better than clean ones that never go outside.
When we found Tom, he pointed at a nasty brushpile and said, ?One of the hogs is right there.? Where??? Oh...There! All I could see was a dark spot through a 10-inch-diameter opening in the tangled branches. Ron affirmed he could thread the needle at a range of 20 yards and send a bolt through the narrow gap. I trust my point man, so we set up for the shot.
Studying the image on my scope cam, we held a powwow with Matt M to determine where to aim. We estimated where the ribs would be, but the shadows made it a tough call. I squeezed the cable release and the bolt disappeared in the brush. We saw the hog?s rear legs twitch, but we couldn?t see the bolt. Had we hit it?
Our second bolt deflected off a branch and careened away harmlessly. The third one stuck the pig but we couldn?t tell exactly where. We had no more bolts, so somebody would have to walk up and check things out. Matt L stood to our right, with his pistol drawn. Tom stood 20 yards to our left, holding his .44 mag revolver. Matt M, carrying Ron?s 9mm pistol, went behind the brushpile.
?I see tusks on that boar,? he warned.
Then he jammed a 7-foot branch in the pile to flush the hogs. I said, ?Somebody yell PULL! When the pig runs we?ll have pulled pork.? A 130-pound sow stepped out, looking for a victim. She paused, chose Tom and charged directly at him. He tried to sidestep but the hog veered to keep him in her path. POW! Tom fired at a range of 3 feet and closing fast. He hit it between the eyes and had to jump aside as the hog, dead on its feet, tumbled under him. The other hog, which turned out to be a 135-pound boar, never moved. We discovered that the first broadhead had penetrated the skull just behind the right ear for an instant kill. (I guess we can call that shot a ?no brainer.?) Our third shot had struck the hip of the already immobilized hog.
Back at the lodge I almost fell off my wheelchair when Ron asked, ?Hey Bang, do you think Jeremy [of Three Mile Creek Taxidermy] can mount that boar with the arrow stuck in its head?? When we returned to Bang?s later that year, we found that Jeremy had indeed prepared the mount to meet Ron?s request.
Here?s how it looks: Our Squat ?N Stalk Arrowhead Hog.
The following blog is a guest blog submitted by Andy Belk...
After a year of discussing a hog hunt, my buddy Michael Rodgers of Latta,SC and I were finally able to put together a June hog hunt. Michael recently purchased a two man boat so we decided to turn the afternoon into a combo fish/hunt. The crappie cooperated with us catching a nice mess of crappie in less than two hours. Afterwards, we loaded the boat and headed to the stands. The videos tells the story of the hog hunt. Truly, a great day to be in the outdoors, a rare day when everything comes together.
Thanks for the the submission Andy!