After deer season is over, hog hunting is in big demand at Deerfield Plantation, St. George, South Carolina. Like deer hunting, we hunt in stands, typically near the swamps and creeks. With unusually high temperatures expected to climb to the upper 70’s, this February morning starts out cool and comfortable for hog hunting. Getting settled in the stand by 5:45, there was plenty of time to “get quiet” and prepared for the hunt. The fog had rolled in giving a misty view of the woods and food plot. I brought a Thermacell just in case the mosquitos start to act up, thinking they are not aware that it is still winter! Immediately, I noticed evidence of hog activity – my stand overlooks a good size food plot and it was clear that the hogs had been rooting in the field.
As I settled in my stand, the cool breeze is in my face so I am not too worried about giving up my position, since hogs have a great sense of smell and more than likely would be coming from an upwind position. The darkness slowly gives way to dawn, with each minute that goes by, and the view to the woods at the far end of the food plot is more visible. I can see a lot of motion with hogs running back and forth as I ready myself, knowing that first light is the best time to hunt hogs. As I focus on the wood line, I am surprised to see hogs running into the middle of the food plot. The action is very fast as hogs move around a lot. It was a few minutes after 6:30 so my vision was good enough to take a hog and I concentrated on finding the biggest hog. There was one in particular that stopped and looked in my direction. Hogs don’t have great eyesight, but she obviously was alerted to my presence probably with her strong sense of smell. Hogs have a way of bolting as fast as they appear, so I knew I had to take the shot. I did and she dropped there in the middle of the plot. My husband was in a stand in the same swamp area and surely he heard my shot. Luckily, texting worked well in this location, unlike some areas that don’t get any reception, and I told him I got a good-sized hog and was excited about the activity so far. He was not as lucky, only seeing a couple of does.
As time passed by, around 9:30 AM, another big group of hogs appeared abruptly out of the woods and there had to be at least 12 of them. I am not certain, but the wood line was approximately 150 yards – maybe more from my stand. With the scope, everything looks bigger and nearer and I tried to determine which hog I wanted to take. If you have never seen wild hogs, you would be amazed at the coloration. Years back, the very first time I saw hogs, I was deer hunting and all of a sudden, a group of hogs came running down the path and ended up right under my deer stand. I was truly taken aback at the sight. Not ever having seen hogs in the wild, I always thought they would be dirty and unsightly. To my surprise, they were beautiful- I felt like I was in the Wizard of Oz movie when it went from black and white to color- These hogs were shiny and clean and the different colors amazed me. There was a silver-grey, rusty red, white with black spots, brown, and shiny black.
But today, looking through my scope, I saw a hog that looked like it was the color of a banana- truly! I focused on that hog and I took the shot. It went down immediately and all the other hogs took to the woods. Ethically, I always want a clean kill shot and I do that by focusing on the ear. So, now I had a second hog down and I was content with that realizing I had to pay a “trophy fee” for shooting the second hog. My husband texted me again checking on my shot and I brought him up to speed with the “banana” hog I shot and I explained that it was not a big hog and certainly not as big as the one in the food plot.
Since my hunt was over and I would be sitting for a while longer with the guides coming back around 11:00 to pick us up, I relaxed and just enjoyed the nature around me. You never know what you will see, and even if it is just a squirrel, or a Cardinal, being in the woods makes me happy. Nature is truly amazing, and then, nature got a little too close … I saw buzzards flying around the field and it did not take long for one of the birds to land very close to my “banana” hog. I made some loud noises, hoping to scare it off, but it was too far to hear. I didn’t want to shoot my gun and have to explain that shot to my hubby. Of course, it is illegal to kill a buzzard, so that was not an option.
I decided to get out of my stand and go and scare the bird away. As I walked at the edge of the food plot, armed with my rifle and handgun, I could not believe that 2 large hogs with about 20 piglets were running out of the woods onto the food plot. I stopped in my tracks and scoped them to take a better look wondering if one of them may be a boar with tusks. I was shocked they did not bolt immediately sensing my presence as I had to be within 40 or 50 yards of them. I was able to watch them for a minute or two when the hogs noticed me. They hid right behind the trees, but I could see them. They allowed the piglets to eat and I noticed that these two hogs were making their way traversing the edge of the wood line along the side of the food plot, but now directly opposite of my location and looking my way. I knew that these hogs can be very aggressive especially with babies, so I sat motionless with my handgun poised to shoot should they attack. They would not have come that close to my location for no good reason and I was not about to take any chances.
Suddenly, I heard the familiar sound of the guide’s truck pulling up to the stand and they could not help but notice me sitting on the ground on the edge of the food plot. They made their way to me and I knew I had some explaining to do. I told them about the buzzard as we approached my hog, which ended up quite a bit smaller than I had thought- reinforcing again that things do appear much larger through your scope! My first hog weighed in at 155 pounds, and let’s just say that my “banana” hog was more like a suckling pig. Sorry I did not take a photo of this little guy!
I love hog hunting. Not only am I doing something to eliminate them since they are a nuisance animal, but we also find wild hog to be wonderful meat to enjoy. Sows are the best tasting so that’s what we prefer to shoot. Check out this recipe I wrote about a beautiful roast in a previous post. Yum!!! –wild-boar-roast-