I had wanted to go wild boar hunting for the past ten years. I had never had anyone mention a good public area or place to go until now. I had finally gotten my chance to hunt wild boar. It was a completely fair chase on an unfenced place, without bait, and it was an absolute blast. The ironic part was that I originally set up the trip at the request of my sister as a surprise birthday present for my brother-in-law.
She decided to tell him early, instead of surprising him a few days before his birthday. Well, as it turned out, he apparently had little interest in shooting a wild hog and said he’d rather not go.
I’d already invited a couple friends that hunt with me here in Virginia and in Pennsylvania, and they decided it sounded like something they would enjoy, so I said, “Heck with it, I still want to go,” and the three of us made plans for the last week in December to travel to Southeast Georgia. We would spend two full days hunting an 800 acre farm set up to accept hunters to pursue wild hogs, deer, and turkey in season.
The wild hogs have no closed season, and in Georgia all that’s needed is a general hunting license (in or out of state). There is a three day license available for such a hunt at a cost of 20 dollars, which we felt was more than reasonable. We also could have made this a combo hunt for deer and hogs at a slightly higher price of 90 dollars. We decided to hunt only the wild hogs, as we could shoot deer at home.
I had been very clear that I wanted a place to hunt that was not fenced and did not use feeders. Normally, I have no issue hunting over bait, but for my first hog hunt, I wanted to go about it the old school way. That’s just my preference. I understand people enjoy different things, but that was the unanimous decision of the three of us for our first ever wild boar hunt. Hell, anybody can shoot fenced in animals in the zoo.
We left at two in the morning, two days after Christmas, loaded down with all our gear, including bows and coolers aplenty, should we get lucky enough to whack anything close to the two hog per day limit. The drive took around 18 hours (including one little miscue in directions), and we were in contact with our host, Barb and Sam Hutchinson, the business owner of the hunting lodge, as we got closer. They assured us that there would be plenty of food waiting for us upon our arrival.
We arrived shortly after dark on the 27th. We were quickly taken to our cabin, which overlooked a 20 acre lake on the grounds of the camp, which was illuminated by the moon. Everything was first-rate, and my worries of being stuck in a dump for two days were completely unwarranted. This place was five star all the way. There was a set of large bathrooms in our cabin, along with six sets of rooms with beds and baths. We were happy to hear only one other hunter would be there during our two day hunt, and the accommodations were just great.
We set a time for Sam to meet us in the morning to take us out to the stands for our morning hunt. Then, we relaxed with a fantastic meal, a beer or two, until it was time to call it a night. We had a 4:30 am breakfast call, so no one wanted to miss that.
The morning was perfect; it was cold with a very light frost, and no wind. Our spirits were high as we loaded into the truck to head out for our morning hunt. We each had a bagged breakfast and coffee to sustain us until after the morning hunt. We sat from six until ten, and even though it was a fine morning for most any type of hunting, we did not see a single hog. A “blonde” fox made its rounds and was passed on by three anxious hog hunters. We each saw plenty of deer and turkeys, just not what we were after.
After our morning hunt, we enjoyed a hearty breakfast of bacon, sausage, grits, eggs, and some of the finest breakfast biscuits on earth. With each of our stomachs stretch to the max, we retired for a short “break” in the cabin until it was time for our afternoon hunt. We used this time to check our eyelids for any holes. Yup, a nice midday siesta; now that’s my kind of hunting.
We were back in our stands around 1:00 pm, and hopes were still sky-high. I watched four does pick their way down a nearby creek. I was amazed at myself, because here I was hunting wild boar now, yet they didn’t seem to satisfy my desire to see game. We all enjoyed the afternoon and the sunset. No arrows were unleashed again, but we all saw deer. All of us, except of course, our additional hunter, who was hunting (you guessed it) deer and hogs. So the only one able to whack a deer was the only one who didn’t see one that afternoon. Such are the fortunes of a big game hunter.
We all enjoyed our sits, though. The weather continued to cooperate with our schedule, granting us a nice, cool, December afternoon devoid of anything but light winds. We had our first dinner in the dining room and immensely enjoyed the fresh fried chicken. My only problem was that I only had one more day to decide if the breakfast biscuits OR the dinner rolls were better.
After dinner, we went back to our comfy cabin and watched some videos of past hunts that had been filmed right there on the farm. One hunt ended by rolling an absolutely monstrous 600 pound boar. Another showed the running of hogs with dogs (also available there), and the demise of said hog at the end of a very sharp bowie knife. It was interesting to watch, but not exactly my cup of tea.
By 10:00 PM, I was exhausted and headed off early to bed, knowing I had to wake up at 4:30 am for another great morning hunt. The second morning was even cooler and quieter than the first. After each of us were dropped off at a new set of stands, we settled in awaiting the first hint of a sunrise, which would come in about an hour.
It turns out, we all had a treat that morning as we heard a hog running and squealing, possibly with wild dogs in pursuit. We had been warned that it was not unusual to see wild dogs running through the woods here, and at times chasing deer or hogs. We were told it was up to us whether to shoot them or not. Anyway, the commotion continued on and off for a good hour or two, and then finally an arrow was released as a hog passed by Al’s stand.
At the appointed time of 10:00 AM, I was picked up by the guide, and promptly asked if I had gotten lucky that morning. With my answer being no, we had hoped one of the others had been luckier. We were at Al’s stand a few minutes later and found that he had indeed gotten off a shot, but he didn’t put much stock in it being a lethal hit, or any hit for that matter.
The guide answered just as I hoped he would, that we needed to follow up and see to know for sure it had truly been a clean miss. With our bows in the UTV now, Al was the only one still “hunting” as we all set off to check for sign of a hit (four hunters and the guide).
As we combed the woods for signs, we all again heard a commotion with a pig and some dogs. Following the noise, we came to the property line, with the noise coming from just a bit farther on. The guide instructed us to remain there while he and Al went to investigate the noises.
As I stood with Chris 2 (both other hunters were named Chris), the Chris who had traveled there with Al and I said he thought he saw a turkey up the trail we were standing on. A few seconds later, after I had said I didn’t see a thing, Chris 2 said, “hell no, that’s a hog.” I still didn’t see a thing, and they turned to face the hog as it approached our position walking down the trail towards us.
All at once, we did spot it about 75 yards away and closing. I turned to see Al and our guide about the same distance away to my right, and quickly whistled to get their attention. When they turned to look, I urgently waved them our way. They began retracing their steps, and I turned to see the hog at some 50 yards and still closing. I waved again, encouraging them to hurry down (after all, Al was the only one with a bow in hand).
Now, I was turning my head back and forth like a loony toon, watching each approach my position; the pig from the front on the trail, and Al and the guide from my right in the woods. In unison, the two Chris’s knelt down and decided to get their bows from the UTV. So, here I was standing, waving, pointing, and telling Al to shoot the damn pig, with Chris 2 kneeling in front, bow now raised and aimed as the pig walked within ten yards.
Al was now a mere 20 feet to my right, and the pig was 30 feet to my front, though Al was claiming not to see it through the brush as I steadily urged him to shoot. He was hearing the same from the guide to his other side. The pig was now 15 feet in front of us, and both Chris’s were aiming and hoping (one hoping Al would whack him with his bow, while the other wanting to whack it himself with his own bow) to resolve this before the pig’s snout met theirs. All of a sudden, Al saw the hog 15 feet from me, and the hog surely went no more than that in front of Chris #2.
The pig flopped on his side and kicked for a second before expiring, and at that moment, we all began laughing and recounting our first wild hog experience. It had truly been remarkable; so much so, that even the guide, who had seen hundreds of kills, thought this one was quite unique.
I’ll have to admit, a comment was made about me looking something like a General (brave, I’m sure) pointing his soldiers to where they should be shooting. It truly must have been a hilarious sight with them kneeling in front of me and Al and the guide standing to my side, all with bows pointing and Chris 1 directing the “battle” with his finger. It did keep us amused the rest of the day anyway, and will provide us years’ worth of stories and remembrances.
We still had one afternoon left to our hunt. We enjoyed yet another great brunch (breakfast biscuits won) and siesta,as well, then we were ready to head out to our stands. We had to planned to be in them by1:30 pm. We had devised something of a plan, figuring to hunt the same area that afternoon after seeing the pig and a good bit of signs there that morning. Everyone selected their stands, and mine was to be a climber that the guide would set in a thickly-vegetated location close to the creek.
I climbed about 20 feet up in an old pine tree that was bare of branches on the bottom two thirds of the tree. The spot offered a great view of the pine flat leading to the winding creek behind me. I was only 200 yards or so from another hunter in our group, but we had completely different views, and both being in elevated stands, we knew we were perfectly safe.
I was just beginning to settle in, and enjoying my surroundings when I heard something off to my left. It was a fat hog moving down the creek bed in my direction. I quickly got up and turned around to face the creek as the hog stopped behind a tree to feed on something lying on the ground. I raised my bow as the pig continued to walk out from behind his tree, and then I fired my bow. The fat hog ran a short distance and then dropped, with a neat hole punched clear through it lungs. The Helix broadhead easily made a clean hole through the dense thick hide of the hog. I sat patiently in my stand as I did not want to mess up anyone else’s hunt with my movement. Because I stayed in my stand until dark, it took a while to locate the blood trail of what I thought had been a solid black hog. We finally found it about 20 minutes later, and the fat hog looked similar to the one that was shot that morning, a spotted hog weighing about the same at 253 pounds. It will surely make great bacon and ham.
After we returned to camp, we enjoyed another stellar dinner, and I almost changed my mind about the dinner rolls, but I really think that the breakfast biscuits were the winner.
All in all, we felt our hunting trip was a huge success. We had harvested two hogs for the three of us in two days. While a great time was had by all, it might not have been the outcome that we all had hoped. It was completely acceptable in the context of only having two full days to hunt. We also realized that we each could have taken a deer, as well, if we had gotten a combo hunting tag. A mistake none of us will make again. Given this was a new hunting experience for all three of us, it was a definite winner. It is one adventure we will surely revisit again in the near future, and this time maybe stay for four days.