Hunt day 2
With 2 hogs already in the cooler, I decide to trade in the rifle for my Mathews bow. I'm outside shooting a few arrows into a target bag while the Mrs. is over at Joe's looking at the new batch of hogs that were recently captured in the area. There is a big red hog in the pen where the boars are kept, and he's mean. All the other boars are all huddled up in the corner of the pen, and Big Red has them absolutely terrified. He sees my wife looking at him and charges at her, smashing his face into the fence separating him from her. He's standing there popping his teeth and pawing at the ground, staring daggers at the both of us. The only thing keeping us from being attacked is some good ol'country engineering, a piece of fencing and wire. My wife flips him the bird and says "I'll be seeing you later". Big Red charges the fence again.
Well, it turns out that Joe took that hog and a few others and dropped them off in the area where we would be hunting that morning while we were having some breakfast. This is a different area with a lot of swamp that the hogs like to hang out during the hot days. Joe drops me off with my bow near a wallow, he will be guiding my wife while I go solo. I creep behind windfall of trees where I see a lot of hog tracks. The wallow is on the top of a small hill in front of me and there's two trails that the hogs are using to go up and down. I can hear them slashing and squealing up there and occasionally see some brown fur.
Suddenly, I hear the sounds of a serious fight going on at the wallow. Squeals, water thrashing and teeth popping tell me that this is not a couple of young 'uns playing around. About a dozen hogs come thundering down the hill. I'm surrounded by hogs but completely oblivious that I'm there in their effort to get away from the combat above. I didn't even have time to draw. Whoever is up in that wallow, they're going at it like a couple of mortal enemies. This goes on for a couple of minutes, and I'm starting to regret being down here with only my bow and knife, and not my trusty Coonan on my hip- I remember the story of Joe's son in law, who was laid open by a hog two years earlier. He almost bled out, and it took hundreds of stitches to close him up. And my wife is wandering around in this area with Joe. His last instructions to me were "If a hog charges you, just put a tree between you and him".
The sound of fighting dies out as quickly as it started, and a big brown boar comes running down the far trail. Of course, he took the far trail so he's too far away and too many trees to get an arrow in him. I'm starting to wonder if he hurt or killed whoever he was fighting with. I hear a sound to my right, and it's Big Red sauntering down the trail closest to me, and his coming directly at me.
All that is separating me from him is a pile of trees that were blown over in the wind. I have an arrow nocked, but not drawn. Red is coming closer and closer, and I have no ready means of killing him, and if I scare him he might charge. All I can do is hold perfectly still and hope I can draw my bow once he passes me. I have no Plan B.
He's chuffing and coming down the trail from the wallow like he owns the place, I'm guessing he won the fight with the big brown boar. The trail passes right in front of the windfall I'm hiding behind. He's 5 feet away, stops, and looks directly at me. I can see fresh cuts where the other boar tore him open. He has a big mohawk running down his back, he has a lot of razorback blood in him. 170 pounds at least.
My bow is in the low ready position, I have my release attached to the bowstring, and I'm just waiting for him to either pass me by, or charge and maybe, just maybe I can get an arrow off before he rips me open. Big Red is looking me directly in the eye, and I'm staring back at him. It reminds me of being in boot camp, with the Drill Sergeants yelling at us new recruits "YOU EYEBALLING ME RECRUIT?! WHAT, DO YOU LIKE ME OR SOMETHING?!! WERE YOU GOING TO ASK ME TO TAKE A SHOWER WITH YOU?". I think the wrong answer here is going to cost me more than a few push-ups.
This goes on for what I think is at least a minute, but is probably only a few seconds. With one last glare, he chuffs and pops his teeth at me and starts walking down the trail. As soon as his head is pointing away from me, I raise my bow and draw... he hears me pulling back and bolts before I can get the pin settled on him. He crests a small hill and disappears, I can hear him breaking through the brush as he narrowly escapes death.
As soon as the swamp settles down, the hog herd starts making its way back to the wallow. I think I understand what's going on here- Big Red wants to be the Big Pig, but the herd doesn't want him. A nice sow is standing on the trail about 15 yards from me, her head is not turned in my direction. I pull back on the bow, settle the 20 yard pin on her shoulder and let it fly.
The arrow hits, and makes that SHWAK sound as the Shwacker broadhead deploys the blades. Well, one of the blades at least. It goes through the sow, and stops with the broadhead sticking about a foot out the opposite side. The hog grunts when it hits her, but doesn't run. This is a new experience for me as I'm usually a rifle guy, and all hogs run when they hear the gunshot. Instead of running, the hog just starts walking down the trail a bit with the arrow sticking out of her and stops about 10 yards away. I have another arrow nocked and at full draw, but the hog is just standing there.
Slightly at first, but getting more noticeable every second, the hog starts gyrating like it's drunk or at some silent rave. It reminds me of ED-209 after Robocop shoots it with the Cobra assault cannon (the original Robocop, not the reboot). After about half a minute, the sow falls over like an AT-AT on Hoth. Just falls over sideways. Hooray, my first bow kill. Too bad it wasn't Big Red.
I link up with Joe and Mrs. 11B. She's on a quest to get the Red hog since it charged at her, and now it's a vendetta. I tell her about my encounter with him near the wallow. Joe says that he wants that hog out of here if he's that mean, otherwise he may tear up the herd he's maintaining or it may attack one of his hunters. We decide that my wife needs to be up in an elevated position rather than being on the ground, for her safety, so we get her in a chair on a 14 foot tripod.
Joe and I will try to find the hog herd or Big Red and flush them towards her. We split up (probably not the smartest thing) to find hogs. I'm creeping through the swamp, trying to stay within sight of Joe as he's making his way on the opposite side of a draw. He disappears from sight, behind a stand of oak. A few seconds later, I hear him shouting like he had fallen or something. I run over there and he's sweating. Turns out that he had stumbled right on top of Big Red- apparently he's not real good at hiding and overconfident when he beds down as he didn't bolt until Joe literally stepped on him. Fortunately, Joe carries a good piece of hickory with him and gave Red a whack on the beak. Red runs off to bed down somewhere else.
We eventually find the hog herd and spook them in my wife's direction. From her position, there is a nice clear area that the hogs will run through, she should be able to get a shot. I eventually hear the sound of her Tikka 308 firing. I'm about 50 yards downhill from her, and once again the hog herd is charging right in my direction, and I'm again surrounded by charging, panicking hogs. The hog she shot is staggering downhill. I'm at full draw and sighted in, but wait to see if the hog is going to go down on it's own or if I need to shank it. The hog takes a couple more steps, loses its footing and rolls down the side of the hill.
We collect the two dead hogs and now the wife wants to switch over to her crossbow, and she wants to shoot Big Red. After lunch we decide to set her up near the wallow that I was at, but behind a fence for her safety. I'm good on hogs, so switch back to my rifle just in case, and will spend the rest of the hunt trying to find and drive Red into a position where the Mrs. can shoot him. I spend the rest of the sunny, humid day trudging through the swamp looking for Red, but couldn't find him. I do have a pretty impressive collection of skeeter bites, covered in mud, sunburned, and I smell like a swamp.
Wouldn't have it any other way.
At the end of the day, we collect everyone and I hear that Red actually did show up. He bebopped down that same trail that I saw him earlier that day. He found a nice puddle of water that was about a yard in front of my wife, on the other side of the fence, where he bedded down. 3 feet away from her, and she couldn't take the shot. It's almost like this hog is teasing everyone to try to take a shot.
Today's take- 2 hogs. 4 hogs total.
The next day is the final day of our hunt... will Big Red meet his demise?