We've been hunting the lease for about three weeks. We've seen deer, but no hogs. We believed that they were on the site, as we've seen hog sign, particularly their tracks and where they've rooted for food, but no actual animals. They changed this weekend.
I arrived at the lease at about 3:45 on Friday. Steve was there waiting for me. It was just us adults this weekend, as the kids had other priorities. Steve asked me where I wanted to hunt and I told him in the back. He indicated that this wasn't the best place to hunt in the evening, so I suggested I go to the tripod. He agreed. This had been his son's spot and he had seen deer every evening.
I cautiously climbed up into the seat and got situated. It was about 4pm it was a beautiful evening. There was a slight breeze and very comfortable. I practiced getting my rifle into position for a shot so I knew how to lean on the stand for stability and to be able to do it quietly.
About 45 minutes later, it began. I could hear them long before I ever saw them. I describe it as Deliverance meets King Kong. Not quiet the "Suuuuuuuueeeeeeeeeey' of Deliverance, but very clearly pigs. I heard them grunting and oinking very clearly. While they approached in the woods, it sounded like they were knocking over trees as they crashed through the brush. That wounded very much like when Kong approaches the girl in the jungle. Apparently, these hogs weren't too concerned about how much noise they made.
They finally came into view from the right. The stand is situated about 50 yards from the feeder and there is clearing in between. The first hog was a monster. Clearly the alpha. He was enormous and was first to the feeder. Behind him, another 7 or 8 hogs of various sizes. Steve had thrown corn all over, so they were all just eating and walking around. Hogs have poor eyesight, so they couldn't see me, and I was down wind from the feeder, so they couldn't smell me. The only concern I had was that I needed to be silent. Pigs have excellent senses of smell and hearing.
As I lifted my rifle, the large boar apparently heard me. He seemed to get spooked and he ran off in an instant. I thought I had blown it. However, none of the other hogs ran. They just continued to eat and romp around. In hind site, the big boar would have been a great trophy, but not an eater. I'm glad I didn't get a chance to shoot him.
I followed several others in my scope as I tried to control my breathing. As this was the first animal I have ever had in my sights that I could actually shoot, the adrenalin was pumping hard. I couldn't control my breathing or my hands. I was breathing extremely hard and I was shaking - not good to be able to try and shoot accurately. Add to the fact that the pigs would stop moving, and I really didn't have a good shot. The only things I had working for me were the fact that I had plenty of targets and I was only 40-50 yards away.
I started very deep breathing to get myself under control and it was working. I was calming down. At the same time, one of the smaller hogs in the front was not moving as much. I lined up my cross hairs right behind his ear. He lifted his head, stopped moving and I instantly squeezed the trigger.
...To Be Continued