Olaf and I left the house at eleven in the evening. It was a cold, late winter, Virginia night, and we were on our way to Georgia for our third hog hunting adventure. We enjoyed a very relaxing and speedy drive clear through the night. Though the further south we went, the more temperatures seemed to stay the same.
We met Olaf’s buddy from college, big Joe, your classic educated but somewhat slow southern redneck, just outside of the south side of Atlanta. We shared a morning meal and all pigged out (pun intended) at the Golden Corral, for what would turn out to be a breakfast/lunch combo for Olaf and me. We managed to remain awake for the next two hours or so. Once we got within 25 miles of our final destination, we were so excited that we all but counted down every mile. The GPS took us easily to our destination, and soon we turned off the dirt road leading to the camp. We turned and grinned at each other when we had to slow to let deer pass in front of us on our way to the cabin.
The other hunters in camp and their guide were gone and out for their morning hunt, and Olaf found a note on the deck saying, “Make yourselves at home, and be back at around eleven.” We quickly unloaded and chose our bunks in our private room. The three of us stretched out on hammocks on the back deck and the next thing I remember, I was woken up from a lazy sleep. Olaf, woke up first and had been looking for me, was holding a drink in his gloved hand, watching a doe feed some 200 yards away. Yup, this looked darn good!
We did not feel the need for lunch, as we were still full from our earlier stop, and our host and guide, Vinny and his other hunters, Bo and Max, showed up around 2:30. By that time, Olaf had pointed out the outstanding deer mounts above the seating in the den, and we all gave enough “ooo’s” and “aaah’s” for 10 hunters. We enjoyed our drinks as introductions were made.
Apparently, Bo had seen some hogs that very afternoon. He took a shot at one at about 50 yards, and the entire herd bolted and ran straight towards him. He picked out another likely target, and let a second arrow fly, and soon both he and Vinny had the small hog under control. Suffice it to say, that Bo was good-natured about the experience and more than happy to hear the rest of us say how much we looked forward to a wonderful pig-pickin dinner planned for the next night.
We finally made it to bed that evening with visions of big boars crowding our thoughts. Early the next morning, Vinny asked if we might follow them to our designated hunting areas to avoid crowding one vehicle, and we were fine with that. Olaf, Joe and I were off to our stands by flashlight, clutching hand-drawn directions, and were finally in place well before sunrise for our initial sit. It was a 34 degree March morning in South Georgia. Who would have thought it would be this cold in Georgia? I always love sitting in the woods as the sun begins to brighten the new day, and that cold morning was no different. I had made my way as quietly as possible to the stand, imagining I had already missed it in the dark. Once I found the stand, I put on my two additional layers, fired up my hand warmers, and climbed the ladder to my seat. The foot warmers already in place and my extra clothes carried in my pack proved to be just the ticket for a very comfortable sit. The highlight was seeing, after dawn broke, a doe at about 30 yards and wondering why she was not moving about. Then I realized that she was bedded! I had snuck in, climbed up into my stand, and was able to keep from spooking that doe bedded nearby.
We sat, enjoying the sun’s warmth that finally came some two hours later, and only when I was wondering when she would finally get up, did she do so. She headed into the thickets, feeding. As if on cue, she left just in time for me to climb down and go pick up Olaf, and Joe. My first sit had not provided any hogs, but had shown game was likely abundant in the area.
When we returned to the lodge a big breakfast was enjoyed by all, and we used part of the downtime at noon to enjoy a little rest in preparation for the afternoon’s sit. We left around 2:00 pm, and the day had warmed into the 50’s and was bright with light winds. I decided to walk slowly to another stand location. On the way, I thought I heard a hog rooting, but it turned out to be an armadillo instead. I snuck up to within five feet of it before it scurried off with its peculiar little gait.
My afternoon stand was in a thick area where I strained to see anything more than 60 yards away. I was located where hardwoods transitioned into the typical Georgia pines, and my hopes stayed high until sun set and beyond. Olaf, Joe and I met and headed back to camp for the evening and the aforementioned big pork dinner. All of us remained hog-less thus far. When we went to bed that night, our spirits were still high and our bellies were full.
The next morning found the ground wet from some night rain, and most of the heavy clouds were still around as we headed back to our hunting areas. Walking was very quiet and I chose the first location where I had sat the previous day, as it offered a longer view of the expansive open field. Two hours into my sit, with no game spotted, I decided to move further into the woods and still hunt along a network trails that meandered through the woods and the property. Shortly after setting out on foot, a light rain began and made my walking even quieter. I kicked out a lone deer after turning onto another trail, and perhaps 15 minutes later, as my watch was telling me it was just about time to head back out, I saw a stand in the distance.
I walked to the stand and noticed two things of great interest. One was that a large hog had just been there, rooting about fifteen yards in front of the stand. The second being that it was apparent no one had sat there for some time, because of the leaves and branches lying across the seat of the ladder-type stand.
Bingo! I’d found my afternoon spot, but now had to walk much faster to get back and meet the guys by our appointed time. We drove back to the cabin, encouraged by the signs we had seen that morning. Olaf found that the corn spread by the feeder the previous night in his area had been eaten, and was anxious to get back out and see if they might stop by a little earlier that afternoon.
By lunchtime, it was raining hard, but by mid-afternoon the skies brightened, and the rain finally let up a bit. Olaf, Joe and I were traveling down the now muddy dirt roads on our way to our afternoon’s stands when the rain stopped. I climbed into my newly found ladder stand at about 3:00 pm, after clearing the debris away. We had decided to meet around 6:15 pm at the truck, so that gave me right around three hours to sit. I sat back, relaxed, and listened to the sounds of the nearby marsh, knowing our best chance for seeing something would likely be right at dark.
At around five, the slight breeze died and the woods became very quiet. I heard a single hog grunt at perhaps 5:45 and noted it was still very light. We had miscalculated our departure times! I continued to sit and check my watch, deciding Olaf would feel the same way. I wasn’t going to leave until it was too dark to shoot.
At 6:15 pm, I could still plainly see through my peep site. I texted everyone and told them just to sit tight for an hour. Just a few minutes later, I heard something making noise to my right and I focused my attention in that direction. I heard more noise and then saw some movement; it was a hog, and a nice size one. He was walking slowly towards me from about the two o’clock position. I had hoped he might head over to where he had rooted around before.
He decided to make a left turn and walked the edge of the swamp off my right shoulder at maybe 45 to 50 yards. As he passed behind two good-sized oak trees, I made my move, standing, turning right and drawing back on my bow. As he passed behind yet another tree, I set my pin on the hog’s neck as he came out the right side, just behind his right ear. The pin settled and I squeezed the release. He immediately ran about 20 yards before falling to the ground, thrashing and chomping his jaws as the sound of snorting echoed through the woods. It had been over 20 minutes since sunset, although there was still enough light to see.
I texted everyone and let them know what had transpired, and I sat calming myself for thirty minutes and then climbed down from my stand. I approached slowly. Just before prodding him with my bow, I stopped and whistled. There was no reaction. Then, I picked up a small stick and tossed it, hitting him in the ribs. I figured that he was completely spent. If not, he would be when we got back in 30 minutes or so to get him out. I tried to pull him out into a clearing and could not move him so marked the area before meeting the guys back at the truck.
I walked as fast as I dared in the dark back to my truck, knowing Olaf and Joe would surely wonder what had caused me to scream like a girl with excitement. It turns out Olaf had seen several hogs during his sit, but could not get a clear shot at any of them. I called Vinny saying we needed his help and his UTV to haul out a hog out I’d shot.
Vinny arrived in about 20 minutes. I wasn’t sure what to tell him about the size of the hog, except to say that the three of us might not be able to get him into the bed of the UTV. He gave me a stupid look, and we drove slowly down old logging roads to where my hog lay. We got Vinny’s UTV to within 10 yards of the hog and walked over, carrying some nylon ratchet straps to use for dragging him. Long story short, we broke two straps and it took us a good 30 minutes to get him out of the brush and drag him the 10 yards, and then another ten minutes to get him onto the tailgate.
We stood at the tailgate marveling at the sheer size of the hog, and we were all glad Vinny had a cooler with a couple of cold ones, now that the “hunt” part was complete. Vinny warned me that the meat of such a large boar might not be edible, and the owner promised to show up the next morning to help with the camping duties. It was almost nine at night when we finally got back to camp.
We enjoyed a late celebration dinner and rolled into our bunks early enough to be out at daybreak one more time on our three day hunt. The morning passed quickly, with no hogs sighted, and we returned to camp to begin our skinning chore. It took longer to hang the old boar than it did to drag him to the truck, and the camp owner, Willie Walters, then showed us just how impressive it could be to watch a skilled skinner and caper!
The head and cape alone were well over 100 lbs. and Olaf was kind enough to help me carry it to my truck. Vinny and Willie agreed that only one other hog they had seen taken was bigger, and it weighed over 500 pounds. There was no scale big enough to weigh my boar at the camp, so we settled for an educated guess of about 450 pounds.
It was what it was. I was pleased to have seen such an animal, and to have been lucky enough to harvest him. We finished our chores at camp and headed for lunch. That Russian Bore now has a special place on the wall in my office, and I can’t but smile every time I walk past him and think about that hunt.