My heart is still pounding! This hog hunting adventure is fresh on my mind months later and here is why…
It was another amazing day at Deerfield where my husband and I are members and have had tremendous success with deer, turkey, & quail hunting. This was my first experience hog hunting. We were very excited about this upcoming hog hunt trip as deer hunting comes and goes leaving us with that lull of waiting for turkey season. It was a bitterly cold morning with night temps of 27 degrees. My guide put me in a fantastic stand with the swamp on one side and a food plot on the other. The food plot was 60% torn up already by hogs so there was little doubt they would be in the area. As I settled in my stand, I heard owls screeching in the blackness of the pre-dawn hour. Then, almost immediately I heard the hogs in the swamp snorting, grunting, and squealing so I was very excited with anticipation. When dawn finally broke, I saw movement in the densely treed swamp… rust and a black hog, both about 100 lbs each and probably a dozen piglets were running back and forth quickly. It was so thickly wooded I never felt like I had a clean shot, so I held up thinking I would get a better shot but it never happened. If I had known I would not get a clean shot, I would have taken one. I put that in my head for the next time… take the shot! The morning shoot came to an end around 11 am and I was already thinking about getting back in the stand for the afternoon shoot.
At 2 pm, after a great lunch, we got back in the stands and my guide put me in the same one as in the morning. I set myself up thinking my shot would be towards the swamp, but my swivel chair allowed me to look 360 degrees so I frequently checked every angle for hog activity. For nearly 3 hours it was completely quiet; hogs typically get active in the early morning and late afternoon hours. It was now approaching 5 pm and the window of opportunity approached as the sunset over the swamp.
I waited with great anticipation when from out of nowhere, I heard the most incredible sound in the swamp. It was like a storm was rushing through the woods. It was literally a stampede with vivid sounds of crashing limbs! My heart started beating fast and I knew my opportunity was coming. I set up my shot towards the sound in the swamp, but, I was not at all prepared for what came next…. the breaking of limbs stopped as suddenly as it had started and I was confused as to what had happened; in a split second, I knew why. A mass of hogs was behind me in the food plot in full frenzy. I swung around perfectly so that my gun didn’t bang into the walls of the stand as to not alert them, then I saw the unexpected. There were probably 20 hogs all in a heap digging and grunting at the corn pile, but my hands started to shake when I saw my Hogzilla. It was a massive rust-colored hog that looked like a cow whose legs were cut at the knee. It stood 2 feet higher than all the other hogs and 3 times their size. All the other hogs were black or gray and this one red hog was a monster!
I never knew what a hog frenzy was like, but clearly, this was one. The hogs were all on top of each other making it very difficult to get a clean shot, and they were moving around each other so fast that I was so scared I would not get a shot before they stampeded out of the food plot as fast as they came in. Hogs are nervous creatures and I knew it was now or never… I lined up the shot as best as I could, but one hog kept crowding my field of vision. I know I was shaking, but I saw an opportunity and I shot… Bang!!! My heart sank and I watched in dismay as they all bolted out of the food plot including my Hogzilla! I held out hope that my guide would find a blood trail and track it into the swamp, but that did not happen.
I can clearly say that I am so happy for the opportunity to have experienced this event even though I missed my shot. I keep re-living those moments trying to analyze what happened; I think that I may have shot too low trying to line up the shot, and the fact that my heart was beating out of my chest didn’t help. We are already planning our next hog hunt and it can’t come too soon. I always thought nothing was more exciting than turkey hunting, but this was an amazing hunt.