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Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
I was once accused of writing a four page story about walking down a road. I checked that old thread and it was actually 7. I've got a bit to say here for folks with a little patience to enjoy it.

In this thread I will put in all my field notes and some select pictures from my trip to Wild Things last week. A few other TG regulars were in camp too, I bet they have their parts of the story to add as well.
Thom
 
Posted by 4dogs (Member # 19996) on :
 
[coffee]
 
Posted by DanielB89 (Member # 37294) on :
 
tuned in.. [campfire] [coffee]
 
Posted by Izzy (Member # 10828) on :
 
Walking down a road is not a simple thing to convey in one post especially when that road runs through hog heaven.
 
Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
Day 0
It's no secret that I help out Andrew Harper with some of his technology needs. The website sits on my server, and I do a bit of work with his trail cameras, etc. A lot had been happening around the property since I was last there in September so I setup a "zero day" to do a bunch of chores around camp.

I woke up and enjoyed a pot of coffee while sorting through six thousand trail camera pictures. There are lots of great shots, maybe I'll add a "best of" at the end of this thread if there is interest. I reset all the settings on the cameras, refreshed batteries and memory cards and loaded them up for deployment.

My first stop was Wild Fire where I had left my ground blind for Bud and Todd a few months ago. Bud had a shot from here, and Todd killed a nice pig just down the lane a bit. Oh yeah, their story is out HERE in case anyone missed it. The spot looked great, but the blind was in 6" of water from the storms the week before. I pulled the blind down and figured I'd find someplace to dry it out later.

There was a spot up by the highway I wanted to put one camera so I headed up to the pines about noon. I was walking down the trail looking for a good tree when I heard a little commotion off to my right. Mind you I'm wearing a red t shirt, blue jeans, and sneakers. I don't even have my bow as the hunt hasn't started yet! Since I wasn't encumbered by having a deadly weapon, I shot a little shaky video with my cell phone. If this technology all works right, you should be able to see it in this video: YOUTUBE.

Yeah that little dude was only about 10 yards, I know it looks much farther. Also another one was between us, you can see some of that grass shaking. Anyhow, at this point I was pretty much walking on clouds. I'd been within range of 4 hogs within an hour of stepping out of camp, and at high noon at that!

I went back for the blind and I headed out to Dave's Field. Man, I've been tracking a BIG hog out here for some time. He'd only come out just after dark regardless of moon phase. When I got there I saw a great spot to dry out the blind so I set that up. I also put up a camera on the feeder, then I spread a little hog candy around some mud as he seemed to like it so well last time. Some big tracks were in there, I just might have a chance. Here is one of the pictures where his back legs are in one set of tire tracks and his nose is in the front.
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After that I headed back to camp as the rest of my to-do's were there. Now take a look at this picture
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Just a nice little feeder picture right? Now look at it after I moved the camera to the other side of the feeder!
 -

Yep! Charlie and I had a funny thought last summer; he had a damaged feeder and I had a camera with a short in it. He fixed up the feeder and put it right across the pond in camp, and I hung the camera on the only tree that would work for it. Well, on my "zero day" I got out a post hole digger and I setup the camera facing the direction I had originally wanted it facing. More on this later in the week
[bigsmyl]

This pretty much concluded the notes from the day, and I tell you a day of chores on the property is better than just about any day off in recent memory! I sat back and spent the evening catching up with Andrew while he prepared for the arrival of the rest of the hunters.

I gotta get back to the office for a bit, but I'll post Day 1 as soon as I can.
Thom
 
Posted by Rick Butler (Member # 7393) on :
 
Ok, I'm ready to go back NOW!
 
Posted by Sockrsblur (Member # 35720) on :
 
I'm always in for the seven page version of a four page story about anything involving a hunt with a bow...

[campfire]
 
Posted by Flingblade (Member # 21996) on :
 
[coffee]
 
Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
Day 1
I slept in until 6am on Monday, and started the day with a nice hot shower in the bunkhouse. My last several hunts have started in the dark and cold, this was a very nice change! I enjoyed quite a bit of coffee while chatting with Andrew, and then we shared a breakfast of bacon and sausage with eggs.

It was just before 9am when I had all my gear on and was heading down Craig's Trail, 43 degrees and clear. I was heading straight back to the island of tall grass in the pines where I’d shot video the day before! I don’t quite get back there when I see a black hog off the side of the trail to my right. I love it when a plan starts coming together!

I’m in nice squishy ground so I slowly spin and raise my bow hand. In that hand is my 85# Northern Mist Whisper. Knowing there are a few really big hogs on the property I didn’t want to be outgunned! Since it’s on the heavy side I know I can’t dilly dally too long at anchor, I need my shot to be in my window. Well this nice little hog is heading straight for a nice window, it would be about a 12 yard shot without me having to do anything but wait. As her vitals enter the window I can now make out the line of her belly and she’s nursing. I ease the tension off the string and watch, sure enough there were three tiny little piglets. Dang.

I check the wind again and it’s still perfect. I haven’t even pointed my toes back down the trail yet and I hear another one getting on it’s feet about 10 more yards up the way. I’ve got a big tree in the way so I start working around it. Sure enough it’s another sow and her piglet is pretty small, probably weaned, but I’m not 100% so I let this one go on about it’s way. The two of them cross my trail and cause a nice little boar to jump up just in front of them. I couldn’t line up a shot and he moved out through some briars that the wind would not let me pursue. Wow! 20 minutes into the day and I’d seen 7 pigs and passed shots on two of them. As they all moved off I waited a few minutes to make sure I wasn’t missing any that were still bedded, then I moved up to collect a camera I’d left here the previous afternoon. As I approached the camera I saw another bit of plume grass start shaking, it just might have been the same pig I got on video the night before! I danced around in front of the camera trying to work a window. The bow came up, then went back down. The tension built on the string, and then was brought to rest again. I came to full anchor anticipating a step the he didn’t make and had to let it down again. All total I drew on this bugger 4 times before he finally was cooperative enough to let me loose at 15 yards. Now something here happened I just don’t understand. I shot and nothing happened. No “whack”, no squeal, no mayhem, no nothing. The pig looked towards me for a moment, and trotted off. I was befuddled.

To really frustrate me later, I was so happy I had that encounter over a camera set to go off once per minute, I pulled the memory card to find I was just out of it’s motion detection range. No pictures of this little peekaboo game! This is where I should have had a really cool picture of me bending that longbow facing straight into some tall grass.

I went over to look for my arrow, but the joys of shooting into phragmites, I lost it. I scraped up a bit of grass but couldn’t find it. I didn’t want to tear the place up to bad, so I slipped out before I mucked up the scent too much. I had an illuminated nock on that arrow so I figured if I came back right at dark and stood where I took my shot I’d have a chance of seeing it. I look at my watch, 9:21.

I picked up the camera and went to the blind in the pines, I sat there for 3 hours and nothing happened. I’d heard this was a good spot in the last minutes of light, maybe that rumor is true. Back at camp I met up with Andrew and Charlie and told them the story above. We enjoyed some lunch and I picked Charlie’s brain a while. Afterwards Andrew and I took a tour of the property to look at feeders and rooting activity. I tell you, this week would be all about learning to read rooting activity.

It was almost 4:30 when we got back from our recon mission, I quickly repacked my gear and headed back for my arrow. I got back to grass island and see another nice meat hog standing broadside in the trail at 20 yards. I go sideways stepping into the pines for a bit, when I get to about 15 yards with a big window I prepare to shoot. Given the events causing me to pass in the morning I keep my eyes peeled. Sure enough, three piglets followed her, probably about 20 pounds. These were clearly bigger than the first 3 piglets this morning, but still not big enough that I could shoot this sow. With 4 hogs between me and my arrow, I decide to use this as stalking practice and I work around them staying downwind.

As I get around the island to where I should start looking for my arrow, there is a leg sticking out of the brush! It’s not a hog… What is that ?!?!? Coyote? Kinda looks like a coyote…. Nope it’s just a funny shadow with a whitetail deer in it at 30 yards with a good wind. I think to myself “hey, I’ve got a tag for one of them!” As I get to almost 20 yards and its head comes up. It is a tall tined, perfectly symmetrical 6 point! As soon as it's head goes down to eat I take one more step with a cruch and he takes off. Close, but this wasn't to be my first spot-and-stalk buck. I guess I’m still in the hunt for that one.

With the deer gone I head back to my shot location from the morning and I find my nock glowing inside some grass. It turns out I went cleanly just over it’s back, I have to guess some minor deflection between me and the pig. There was still enough light left in the day, so I snuck past those hogs again on the way out. I headed back to the blind in the pines, and I crept in there to see that there was nothing on the feeder. With my binos I could see the corn feeder had gone off and the P&Y squirrels hadn’t finished it yet.

Since getting in the blind would mean crossing an open field, and because I believed this food already had eyes on it, I stuck inside the plume grass and watched the darkness descend on the field. About five minutes later I heard a squeal of a pig very close. It was too dark to go chasing into the thicket at that point, but I did hear a few more squeals and a few grunts on the way out. I walked out by moonlight and scared up a hawk on the way. There was also an owl calling close and loud. What a beautiful night in the woods.

I got back to camp and Andrew had cooked enough pork tenderloin for four hungry men. About then we got the message that the other two guys had gotten stuck in traffic and wouldn’t be in til midnight. With that, Andrew and I ate way too much dinner while I recalled the evening events.

While I was walking out of the pines, here was the scene at my blind over on Dave’s Field:
 -

You can bet there will be more to that story later!
Thom
 
Posted by Terry Green (Member # 3) on :
 
I'll be chiming in late...hope not too late...as I have a Christmas Parade tonight, St Championship at the Dome tomorrow, and Santa pics Saturday.

It was a great trip in many ways, with even greater guys.

[campfire]
 
Posted by Jake Scott (Member # 39713) on :
 
I wanted to go in this hunt very much. Can't wait to hear the tales.

Jake
 
Posted by Mike Vines (Member # 7379) on :
 
This is a story to sit back and enjoy. Take your time Thom, we are all looking forward to it.
 
Posted by SAVIOUR68 (Member # 35651) on :
 
I feel a new TG documentary coming on [bigsmyl]
 
Posted by Joeabowhunter (Member # 35320) on :
 
[campfire] [coffee]
 
Posted by wooddamon1 (Member # 26099) on :
 
[campfire]
 
Posted by Cyclic-Rivers (Member # 21222) on :
 
Sounding Great already, I'll check back for sure.
 
Posted by smokin joe (Member # 15756) on :
 
It was a great hunt with lots if game seen, terrific food, comfortable accommodations, wonderful countryside, and seriously good hunters. I'll chime in soon. I can't wait to go back.
 
Posted by Bud B. (Member # 24907) on :
 
Man I wanted to go, but two hunts in just two months apart couldn't be swung with Christmas so close.

Looking forward to the rest of the stories [Wink]
 
Posted by Red Beastmaster (Member # 820) on :
 
"Man I wanted to go, but two hunts in just two months apart couldn't be swung with Christmas so close."


We went to Ray's Hog Heaven 3 times in less than a year. We just loved the place. When I talked about going back a few months later my wife gave me "THE LOOK". [Smile]

Our gang will be headed down in March for our 8th trip.
 
Posted by Terry Green (Member # 3) on :
 
I'll throw this in before I leave....

On this trip I did something I've done before, ...

Used a certain flash light to find blood....during daytime.

[campfire]
 
Posted by Pointer (Member # 11915) on :
 
I'm there last week of January with the same crew I had last year.. Been thinking about nothing else for days..
 
Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
Glad you fellas found the thread, and thanks all for the comments this far! Terry I hope that trip to the Dome was a memorable one!

I guess I'm up to day 2 then, let me pour a cup of coffee here.
Thom
 
Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
Day 2
When I woke up I found that Terry and Keith had arrived sometime in the night. I thought to myself “these guys must be good hunters!” They had unloaded all their gear, unpacked hunting gear, setup bows and quivers, and apparently dispatched a beverage or two in the process. Sneaky guys, all that and I didn’t hear a thing.

I started walking towards the lodge at 6:30 and was hit by the smell of bacon as I stepped out of the bunkhouse door. There is no better smell in hog camp that frying pork! I opened the door to the lodge and the aroma of fresh dark coffee was added in the air. Man life is good in camp! I gave Harry the wonder dog a good pat while having coffee with Andrew and discussing hunting plans for the morning. A short time later the guys came over and we all did some hand shaking and breakfast eating before breaking out the big maps.

I told them about all the places and times I’d seen pigs in the last two days, and where I saw the best rooting activity. Terry and Keith decided they’d go down in the swamp, I had decided to check a new section of the property Charlie recommended that was a nice mix of thicket and hardwoods. Here are some details for those of you that know the property a bit. The guys went down the right turkey foot, but hung to each left turn to come out in Swamp Field (aka the one behind #7 road.) I used the main trail to check out Thing One and Thing Two, broke through the timber to check an old logging deck with plume grass, then I cruised the pines between Blue Lake and the picnic area on the East side of the road. I gotta say I was REALLY disappointed that I didn’t see a single hog in two hours of going, and even worse I saw almost no rooting activity. I’d have to talk to Charlie later!

There is an old logging deck near the middle of the property, although the last one had no sign, this one had a lot of thick cover all around it. I decided I’d enter the section from the SE side and work towards Wild Fire whichever way the wind would let me. I stopped long enough for some trail mix and a little jerky, then gave a final check of the wind. Wind forced me to go about 100 yards towards the swamp and then enter the river cane diagonally. It would limit how I could hunt it, but it should pretty much put me straight into the best part of it. I took 10 or 15 quiet steps off the logging road and stopped and glassed. I like to take a few minutes to take a knee and go into sneaky mode. About 5 minutes into my sneak I see a black tail wagging out of some short grass. Now this isn’t my first dance, I freeze. Finding hogs can be tough, but finding the little one that is going to bust you is really hard! I slowly lift my 6x binoculars and get a really good look at this hog. It’s nice sized, probably just over a hundred pounds, all black, and moving off at an angle. It’s a very favorable direction to the wind, and it’s eating way more than walking so it shouldn’t be hard to close about 20 yards for a shot… Now where is the squealer? There they are, 3 more the exact same size. Two black and one brown with black spots. One of those spots almost looks like a target on it’s ribs. I like the idea of that shot, and with that the cat and mouse begins again.

I would catch up a couple quiet steps, they would move a few more away. We moved down a little hill together but I wasn’t catching up as fast as I’d like. At one point I loose track of them a little so I lift my binos to scan some palmettos and between me and there I see some black hair! It seems I’ve stumbled up on a bedded hog at about 15 yards. GREAT! I’d love to shoot one where it lays, but which end is which? I can see about 20” of the top of it’s back and that is all. The hairs are all horizontal and I can’t make out anything muscle wise to help me know which side to approach from. I figure wind is just a little better from the left so I start to circle that way around a hog I’m guessing is about the same size as the other four. As I’m sidestepping behind a tree my movement catches his attention. I have one foot hovering over a dry branch when I hear something and look up to find him on his feet staring at me. Now something occurs to me “where did that giant boar come from?” It has a little black line on the top of it’s back, but the rest of it is tan/red/brown. I’m sure I couldn’t have put my arms around it’s chest, it’s a BIG hog. As I drop my foot and spin to draw it begins to trot and I am left to simply watch it trot out of range without releasing an arrow. Had I been a swing-draw guy it would have been a great shot. Too bad that long anchor release is the way I shoot.

With my heart still racing I walked over and put my 68” longbow in it’s bed for a picture:
 -

I took a few minutes to collect myself and promptly kicked out two does downwind when I started moving again. Wind was shifting and it was getting closer to time for lunch so I headed back via Blue Lake to visit the statue and spot some gators. Might not have been the most action packed morning, but it was sure good to be among them three days in a row.

Back in camp I caught up with Andrew and Charlie. Charlie let me know I’d gone into Thing Two from the wrong side to see the rooting and offered me another route for future use. Terry and Keith got back to camp and we started going over where we’d seen what kinds of activity. Out in the swamp the pigs were bypassing feeders for Chestnut Oaks. They’d found several trees dropping and they all looked like minefields with all the rooting. I confirmed the Water Oaks were barely being touched, last year they held the heaviest activity. We were about done comparing notes when Joe arrived in camp! We had some good handshakes, stories, and a bit of lunch and we all broke back out of camp for an afternoon hunt.

I took Joe right back to where I’d seen pigs in the morning. None of them blew out and I suspected there were a bunch more in there. We went in a bit late in the afternoon and worked the wind for a few hours. We found tons of activity, but in the river cane it was focused on rotting logs and branches. A few more pieces to the puzzle. We finished up and headed back to camp without jumping any hogs. Sometimes it’s just the way it goes.

On the way back to camp I stopped and picked up a few memory cards. I dropped a little more hog candy at Dave’s Field which had been hit hard in the last 24 hours as the pack in the picture above shows. I also put up a LED light for the monster nocturnal hog, I knew if I was going to get after him it would probably be a late night deal. I also put a few more stakes down on the blind and put a seat in there. Speaking of that big dude, back at camp I found just one misty picture of the guy. At 2:30 in the morning!
 -

A few guys had to cancel at the last minute, so for us this year our camp was full and we all had boots on the ground. The great thing about this time of year is that it’s dark at 6pm and that leaves lots of hours for fires and stories. We did really well on those that night, and we had some awesome steaks to boot! We shared all our gathered info from the day and made a plan for the next morning before our discussions wandered on to many many tales of hunts gone by. Entertainment of this caliber is priceless!

While we were at our fire, creatures were lurking in the swamp…
 -
Thom
 
Posted by smokin joe (Member # 15756) on :
 
Thom is doing a great job telling the story so far. For those of you who have not been to Andrew's place yet. Here is a photo of a very big old cyprus tree near Hog Lake on the property. I am standing next to it for scale.

 -
 
Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
There are some monster trees down there! I love how the swamp looks when there is high water and a big moon near dusk. The sounds of the swamp in the warmer weather is indescribable too!

Last year we started off the thread with a group picture of everyone in camp. I usually travel with an older, but good quality, digital camera with a timer and a cheap tripod. It's awesome to be able to get nice group photos. I did have that setup with me on this trip, but one of our trail cameras captured this picture and we all decided it captured the real spirit of this hunt.

 -

From left to right: Thom, Terry, Andrew holding Harry, Joe, and Keith.

Not exactly chronological to the story, that picture was taken a little further into the week. More on that soon. Here comes day 3...
Thom
 
Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
Day 3
If there was one low point in the week of hunting for me, it was day 3... Days like this is how we earn the good days.

Now I can't say the day itself was bad. Andrew had some business early in the morning in Columbia so I got to play camp host for a bit of the day. I got up early and cooked up some sausage and eggs for everyone and enjoyed a pot of coffee while the guys were getting themselves ready for the day.

We had decided that a section of the right turkey foot was holding good sign of hogs hitting feeders right at sunrise and it would be a good bet. We looked at the map and created a nice line between 3 stands. Terry would take the one highest up on the hill, I would take the lowest point in the palmettos, and Joe would go all the way back to White Oak for those who know where that is. We went out and were in place before sunrise and sat patiently without any of us seeing or hearing a single hog. Did I mention this was a rough day?

At 11am Terry and I met at the truck and chatted. I had a camera to pick up at Mulberry so we walked out there and retrieved it. We had a great talk on the way and looked at a bunch of sign. Upon return we saw Joe had just arrived and we headed back to camp to regroup to make an afternoon plan over lunch.

You might have noticed I hadn't named a spot for Keith. Poor guy got hit with a killer headache that morning and decided to try to sleep through it. When we got back to camp we found Keith was back to 100% and making coffee. Now Keith and coffee is a whole different story that someone needs to post sometime. As a passionate coffee drinker and an engineer I'm heartily impressed with his coffee ritual!

Andrew wasn't back to camp yet but he left a HUGE boston butt for us to enjoy. Charlie rolled into camp from doing some work on the other end of the property. I pulled that butt out of the oven and put out some awesome local BBQ sauces and we all enjoyed a fantastic lunch while catching up Keith and Charlie on our dismal hunting report from the morning.

Morning stories turned into afternoon planning, and the discussion started sounding pretty depressing. We had gathered a lot of info about their current timetable and preferred food sources, but we couldn't come up with a plan to give us really good odds. We needed more info.

We decided the best way to maximize our chances for the remaining days was to pay some dues and spend a few hours scouting hard. Terry and I made a long list of spots and chores, loaded up stands, sticks, and cameras and headed off into the property. Keith and Joe took their bows into a section that looked good on the map that nobody had been into.

Terry and I put out cameras, setup two stands in the swamp, looked at lots of oaks and acorns, evaluated a lot of trails between food and bedding areas. We found this track where I had the encounter with the big boar the day before.
 -

As if the day wasn't disappointing enough, we went to Dave's Field hoping to be motivated by aggressive rooting and great pictures. The hog candy was still on the ground and only 7 pictures were on the camera. The green LED light and leaving my dirty hunting shirt in the blind the night before was apparently too much for the hogs. I again left that shirt in there and left the light set to a low glow. I did put out a little more hog candy in hopes the sweet smell of it might bring them back. Not good.

I snapped this picture on the way back to camp, just looked nice to me.
 -

Back at camp Andrew had some delicious chicken baked and ready to serve along with some great veggies, etc. Reports from Joe and Keith were equally unimpressive.

Yes, day 3 was a bad day. Now the only exciting part of the night was when we pulled the camera from Terry's stand in the morning and found it had snapped 150 pictures in <20 hours. With a 1 minute delay and single shot settings, this was a lot of activity. There were a bunch of daytime does in there, and as Terry suspected from the muddy trails there were a few different big boars hitting this feeder. Mud stains across all kinds of plants and earth showed there had been a fight the night before. Looking at the camera we believe these were our two contenders, the actual fight was off camera so we never get to see them at the same time.

 -

 -

At least that is something to get you excited after a day like this!
Thom
 
Posted by Izzy (Member # 10828) on :
 
Someone needs to kill that beast hog! He's awesome. Ive seen a couple that size down there but they were big red sows and were moving too quick to shoot. Enjoying the tale.
 
Posted by smokin joe (Member # 15756) on :
 
The sign we saw indicated that some of the hogs have big feet.

 -
 
Posted by SheltonCreeker (Member # 31787) on :
 
Good stuff. Looking forward to the rest!
 
Posted by Cyclic-Rivers (Member # 21222) on :
 
Love the Tales. Keep them up. [campfire]
 
Posted by Pointer (Member # 11915) on :
 
What Izzy said about the hog X2

Did anyone get a chance at that beast Thom?
 
Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
I tipped my hand a little before closing out the old thread. I didn't get the pig that has haunted my dreams the past few months, but I'm going to try again in April with the Camp hAmbush crew!

I think I've left plenty of hints that this story is about to get much more interesting. Time to get back to writing the next installment!
Thom

PS if any of you guys get a shot at that big boar between now and April I hope you take it!
 
Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
Day 4
I woke up on day 4 thankful that day 3 was 100% DONE!

We all got up early again and headed to the lodge. Andrew had doubled down on the breakfast pork with bacon and sausage, and the coffee was good and strong. Maybe I should note for folks that haven't been to the new camp that there is one pot for guys like me, and there is a pot of "normal" coffee, not that I ever care to know what's in it. With our gathered intelligence from the day before we decide we need to be on the feeders at magic hour, and then relocate to the chestnut acorns as soon as general rooting time begins. Joe headed for White Oak to be up there prior to the sun cresting, he would then cut into a small group of oaks that were bringing in the hogs. In the meantime Terry would work some exceptional country towards Joe. I would take Keith in as far as the stands at Hog Lake. He would sit there the first hour and then work the winds through the bedding area to the East while keeping an ear to the oaks to his side. I would break out to the hardwood flat at the very tip of the peninsula. There was no doubt there were hogs there, the question was if I could make something happen or not.

Strange how the swamps look so different every time I go back in there off the roads and trails. Sometimes leaves are out, sometimes they are down. Sometimes there is grass and grapes, other times there are none. I tried to keep to the path I knew but it looked so different I quickly lost it. I went to the river and put my left shoulder to it as I traveled with the wind on my right cheek. I was going super slow as I knew I was going right into the heart of some hogs bedroom and it was probably going to come down to who-sees-who-first. Since I was in super sneaky mode, I was lured by a very nice looking log overlooking the Savannah River. It was pretty much a perfect place to sit and relax for a few minutes and catch up on my field notes from the day before. I like to turn short hand into loose paragraphs while still in the field, and this was a beautiful place to do it! I sat typing with my bow on the ground...

Ever get that feeling like you're being watched? I look over my shoulder and there is a good looking whitetail staring straight at me. He's close, seems he'd still be in range of my longbow if he was twice as far. His ears are up and he's on alert, no reason to try to make something happen. I glare at him for a second like he's bothering me and I return to typing on my phone. Now he stomps for my attention. I raise my eyes as if to say "yeah I see you, and I don't care. Please leave" and I return to typing. His rack a very tall and fairly wide for a 6 point, it also had great symmetry and was nearly white. I continued play acting my disgust with his stomping for a few more seconds before he thinks it better to double back the way he came. I paced it out at 13 steps to his prints, but he was uphill so he seemed closer. I considered for a few minutes how I knew he was there. I hadn't consciously heard him, or saw any peripheral movement. I wonder quite a bit if it was a feeling like this that brought that huge boar to his feet two days prior?

I worked the perimeter or the hardwoods for the next couple hours. It was a thick briar overlooking an open (and heavily rooted) white oak flat. I found tons of fresh beds, but I didn't catch any movement or sound of them. Some of the scat was extremely fresh. Invigorated I worked a long circle back to Stiles Field and met up with Keith there. He had worked from Hog Lake back to their on the opposite side of the logging road without seeing a hog. I asked him if he'd mind riding along with me to do a few chores. He didn't seem to be in a big rush to get back to camp so we picked up some memory cards and went back to the old camp. I told Keith it was time to suit up, we were going to go change our luck! I ran the plan past him quickly and I showed him a trail head and we took off down it towards the grass island I'd been resting since day 1. As we approached we could see the grass shaking. We knew this was a nursery so we'd need to be careful of those wet sows. We were praying for a satellite boar, or a small group of young meat pigs.

The first pig came out at 10 yards and was a great looking shiny black hog. We sat and watched. We slipped closer a step at a time. I hoped Keith would have a shot, but it looked like it would be mine. I had a good window and couldn't see a litter in tow. As I started to lift to shoot I saw Keith out of the corner of my eye. He was giving me the thumbs down. They weren't right behind her heels, but she was a young mother too. Three piglets were with her.

 -

Keith points over his shoulder and there is another group. This time at least we see the piglets first and don't get our hopes up. I snapped a picture while Keith scanned the grasses for any more movement. Without detecting any we snuck back to camp for some burgers at least being able to say we'd seen hogs! Lunch was good and the guys came up with afternoon hunting plans.

I watched the guys depart to their afternoon hunt and I pulled out a tripod seat and went to the practice range to shoot some 3D from a seated position. I was shooting dead on, so I prepared my gear for the first night sit and laid down for an hour nap. Waking up rested I did an extra shower and some extra descenting procedures before loading up and heading to Dave's Field.

 -

I settled in and everything looked great. I even took my big camera and set it up on the tripod in video mode just in case they came back in tonight. I sat and waited, and darkness came without anything happening. I saw my LED light turn on as the photo sensor realized it was night. Just a little after 6pm. About 45 minutes later I heard a deer blow and take off, not a good sign!

I waited and waited for the distant sound of rooting and squeals, but they did not come. I had told Andrew I'd only stay until 9pm on my first night out as I didn't want anyone staying up late to confirm my safe return. As it was drawing close to time to pack up I heard a big SNORT!!! The pack of hogs that was just a few feet from my blind trampled through the darkness back to a safe distance. I listened as they discussed things among themselves in hog speak and decided it would be really cool to flip on my video camera to record the sounds of them carrying on! When I pressed the power button on the camera the display on the back of the camera light up like the sun! OK, maybe not the sun but it did turn my popup blind into a Chinese lantern and sent the hogs running! Dang, several lessons learned. Hopefully those lessons aren't going to be the difference between back straps and tag soup!

Back in camp the guys were just finishing their spaghetti and dessert. Stories were traded and I caught up on all the one's I'd missed earlier in the evening. Most guys were ready to crash but there were a few big logs still on the fire down by the lake so Terry and I decided to watch them burn down for a little bit. Now it's a little after 10pm and we are just sitting there like hunters do; watching the fire, and talking about where the game might be hiding. Then Terry gets all sort of serious and says in a loud whisper "Did you hear that????"....

 -

From across the pond there is some noise coming in, lots of it, and it starts getting LOUD! Shortly thereafter some really ugly sounds start off the bushes and we've got some hog fighting in camp!!! I gotta tell you that was a beautiful racket!!! You can't quite make out the two of us over by the porch light in the picture. Too awesome!

Hogs seen, lessons learned, and we got front row seats for the main event. It was a good day!!! I thought to myself, maybe tomorrow....
Thom
 
Posted by Pokerdaddy (Member # 24679) on :
 
Thom, thank you for this amazing write-up. You truly have a gift for placing the reader right there with you. Reading your recap, I'm ready to pack up and head back down!
 
Posted by Guru (Member # 616) on :
 
Good stuff fellas....
 
Posted by Charlie Lamb (Member # 8) on :
 
[thumbsup]
 
Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
quote:
Originally posted by Charlie Lamb:
[thumbsup]

Well there is high praise! Thanks guys!

I think day 5 is probably the part of the story most of you have been waiting for. Looking like I should get that posted later today.
Thom
 
Posted by Flingblade (Member # 21996) on :
 
Good stuff so far Thom but I think it's time to Paul Harvey this thing and give us "the rest of the story". Good to hear there were lots of sightings!
 
Posted by SheltonCreeker (Member # 31787) on :
 
Enjoying this thread. Only been once. That is a special place. All this talk of hogs makes me want to go back!
 
Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
I think you're right Gary! Photos are cropped and uploaded, time to write the end.
Thom
 
Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
Day 5
I was laying in my bunk thinking about all the things that went wrong the night before and what I could do different tonight. I made a few mental notes just a few minutes before alarms started going off. We all enjoyed some breakfast before spreading to the winds. Joe was back off to White Oak, Terry and Keith were off to the pines. I let everyone get out and then I loaded up to walk out of camp.

I hunted the 35 acre field between the camp and the boat ramp. I found a nice hog skull in there and took it back to camp. I checked a few other spots near Rattlesnake Field and a few spots in between with some acorn rooting. I was still back in camp early enough to invite Andrew to come to Dave’s Field for my reset of batteries, memory cards, and to put out a little more hog candy.
 -

We did that little chore to prepare for the night and went back to camp. The other guys were back and not bloody so we all headed to town for some good BBQ at Lester’s. After a trip to town the guys returned to the woods. Since they were all up in the pines, Andrew and I went to the swamp to pickup tree stands, place cameras, and do a couple other little chores. We were back in camp at 4pm and I was showered/changed and on my way to my blind at 4:30. I guess I was motivated! Apparently it was a pretty short trip to my spot too:
 -

I settled in and relaxed, I thought this could be a long sit as the cameras on this spot had slowed down steadily over the course of the past few days. At 6:06 three does came in and started eating the plain corn spread by the feeder. It was a lot of fun watching them trying not to touch or eat any of the hog candy that was down there. Once it was fully dark I started moving around a lot in the blind. I wanted to know how much movement I would be granted if any hogs came in later. I’m all but waving my arms inside the blind with the closest deer at 5 yards and it doesn’t notice me. This is good. I’m also impressed that either my scent isn’t carrying, or leaving that hunting shirt in here for a few days got them used to the idea that I belonged here. Even when I burp and reminisce on my recent trip to Lester’s it doesn’t spook them out! This is good.

At 6:36 something comes into my blind. I kept my phone next to my toe so I could use it as a low power flashlight for such occasions…. But whatever it is, it’s sitting ON my phone. I wait and it scurries up into my SafariTuff quiver. Now I grab my phone and shine it up in there to see what it is! It’s just a mouse but I scare the scat out of it and it comes running back down towards my hand! Apparently this situation is a little too much for the little dude and he’s high tailing it out of dodge. As it tries to get under the wall of the blind it ends up running up it! In a split second he fell off and went out as planned, but the sound of it’s nails on the nylon was enough to send the three deer off like a shot!

I got out my other flashlight and I put my cell phone in my boot, I also got out one extra broadhead to dispatch said mouse should it return. It had only been a minute but I already was missing the company of those deer.

We’ve got a lot of pictures coming up here, next part will take a few different posts.
Thom
 
Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
Day 5 continued
At 7:35 I can hear the sounds that hogs make. The sounds are close and they are getting closer. I ready myself and decide I’ll shoot from my knees instead of seated. I make all needed adjustments silently while I wait. I also move my backup arrow to be even handier in case it might be needed.
I catch my first glimpse of them at 7:40:
 -

More come into view at 7:41:
 -

Also at 7:41 a fog comes in, this is a BIG problem with my light situation:
 -

Nothing to do but sit and wait, I can hear more of them have come in but I can’t see for a shot:
 -

7:45 the fog begins to lift, but I still can’t make out a clean shot:
 -

By 7:46 I’m confident in what I can see but they are stacked up 2, 3, and 4 deep! Knowing the penetration I get out of these TuffHeads with this 85# longbow I don’t dare shoot. Still waiting….
 -

Patience is a really good thing to have on days like this.
Thom
 
Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
 -
Thom
 
Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
Once everything was absolutely perfect I drew back on a nice hog and loosed my arrow.

The bow was dead silent, the smallest sound of an arrow passing through a ribcage could be heard, and the arrow came to rest in the clay behind the animal. For a split second nothing happened. Even the animal that I shot didn't flinch. Then in unison they all scattered back about 30 yards.

I watched as three of them started to come back in, and then held on the perimeter at about 20 yards facing straight at me. I thought I saw the one that I hit move to my right. Just about 15 yards past the feeder I thought I could hear a little thrashing in that direction. I head it a few times, but not loud.

I waited a few minutes and nothing more happened. I exited the blind at 8pm on the button and went back to camp to get some helpers.
Thom
 
Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
While I was getting the boys and my blood trailing kit:
 -

Little buggers did come back in as soon as I left.
Thom
 
Posted by smokin joe (Member # 15756) on :
 
All of you folks out there are going to like the rest of this story.
[bigsmyl]
 
Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
Everyone was pretty excited to come help so we loaded up and headed back to the spot.

As soon as we got there Keith and I heard a pig run off to the West. It sounded like one critter and it came out of the place I'd thought I heard the noises a little earlier.
 -

We looked at the arrow, the blood trail going to the pool where the animal had been resting. It was in fact only about 15 yards from where the arrow was buried in the mud. Had we given it just a little more time the story would have ended here.
 -

Instead we decided to pull back and pursue in the morning. Blood was a good color and we believed this should be a short job in the morning. Tempature was pretty good for it and weather report suggested very little chance of rain.

In the morning we all shared a big breakfast and everyone wanted to participate in the recovery. We went out at 8am and got to work. We were all surprised that once that pig took to it's feet it dropped very little blood. I found the first droplets about 30 yards up it's trail and we picked up a tiny spec every six feet or so. I was really happy I brought a mist bottle filled with hydrogen peroxide, it confirmed blood we almost wrote off and disproved red spots growing on grass blades. I was mightily impressed with the tracking skills of my camp mates.

A bit up the way we found her.
 -

She was not the monster boar I planned to hunt for the last few months, but she is the perfect size for eating and a wonderful blessing to my household.
Thom
 
Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
I tell you what Joe, I've really been liking the way this story ends!

I liked it the night after I got back:
 -

And then two nights later:
 -

And two days after that I was told I could come pick up the 43#s of sausage that she yeilded. I tried one last weekend and it was even better than my last sow off the property.

A little side note, on this last trip I donated a digital meat scale to the camp that will go up to 880 pounds. I knew if I shot that really big boar I'd really want to know how much it weighed. Once we found her, everyone tried to guess her weight. Guesses ranged from 65 to 85 pounds, then put her on the scale and it read out 101.6 pounds. I can't believe the amount of meat on this little hog!

It will be interesting to see how other groups fair with their guessing in the future! Oh, and if someone brings in one of those big boys, what they weigh in at!

With that I'll quiet down and let my hunting partners weigh in any stories or pictures they want to add to tale. Thanks to everyone for their patience as I got this all typed out.
Thom
 
Posted by tippit (Member # 1030) on :
 
Congrats Thom! Those big boys are fun to hunt kinda like lone wolfs...but that 75-100# hog is best for the table. Got this guy right next to y'all @ Bacon Strip a couple of years back...wish I'd had a scale then. I'll be trying a new lease this year near Charleston...but may need to show up at Wild Things just to see the old neighborhood...tippit

 -

 -
 
Posted by smokin joe (Member # 15756) on :
 
Thom:
Man, that meat looks really good.
Yum.
 
Posted by smokin joe (Member # 15756) on :
 
Thom's shot was a darned good shot. It took out both lungs, put a slice in the heart. punctured the diaphragm and cut open the top of the stomach. Part of the lung tissue came out of the exit wound and plugged it up.

Even with all of that damage, the blood trail was very sparse and difficult. When Thom says that there were tiny spots every six feet or so, he really means it. Some of the spots were almost microscopic and often six feet stretched into ten or twelve feet. And, when we found the hog there was not a blood pool under her.

When Thom and Charlie opened her up there was a lot of blood inside her body cavity.

That is the second thin blood trail I have been on this season. In both cases the exit wound was plugged up from the inside.

The lesson here is that we should always do our best to follow up a thin blood trail.

We all did a lot of patting Thom on the back. And in honor of his success we let him fill his plate first at supper that night.
 
Posted by Terry Green (Member # 3) on :
 
I'm going to jump in right quick and say we did have to battle the full moon, and we did stay after them a lot during the day including mid day....

And I've never seen more 'BIG' tracks on the property than I've ever seen....in several different areas as well, ...not just the same hog. [nono]
 
Posted by Cyclic-Rivers (Member # 21222) on :
 
Congrats Thom. Looking forward to more tales from camp.
 
Posted by SheltonCreeker (Member # 31787) on :
 
Congrats, Thom. I enjoyed the read very much. That meat looks great and I'm glad you ended up with as much sausage as you did. Great eating in your future!
 
Posted by Pointer (Member # 11915) on :
 
So you shot the hog in the dark at 8pm..thats impressive Thom. When we were there last January, Andrew wasn't wild about us hunting at night so we didn't. Glad to see he's OK with it now..looking forward to giving that a try if we have no luck during the day next month
 
Posted by Flingblade (Member # 21996) on :
 
A tip of my Stetson to you good sir. Just flat out can't kill 'em any better than that! Great pics and story, thanks for sharing.
 
Posted by Red Beastmaster (Member # 820) on :
 
Way cool story Thom!

All your hard work paid off. Congratulations!
 
Posted by Terry Green (Member # 3) on :
 
Got some pics to post.....hopefully get them tonight....along with comments.

Yes....the blood trailing was a highlight in itself as everyone involved was a major contributor. ....including my flashlight I used in daylight to pick up blood ahead on thin blades of grass. It's amazing what a really good bright light can do. It can also help you focus on an area better when your eyes get tired.
 
Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
Thanks guys, it was fun to tell! Beauty of a hog there tippit!

As for hunting hogs under a light, Andrew still isn't hot on the idea. I made arrangements well ahead of my hunt, and there were still some special terms I needed to agree to abide by. I wouldn't just show up thinking it's cool these days.

For whatever it's worth, 6 out of 7 times I drew my bow on hogs that week it was between 9:21am and 1:20pm. I'd hate to leave anyone with the wrong idea about that.

I'm looking forward to seeing what pictures you guys took, hopefully you got some good ones!
Thom
 
Posted by Terry Green (Member # 3) on :
 
Had a Christmas Chorus Concert tonight....that I'd forgot about. I'll try and post more tomorrow.

[campfire]
 
Posted by FerretWYO (Member # 13052) on :
 
So cool wish I could have joined in.
 
Posted by Terry Green (Member # 3) on :
 
Hard to believe how fast time goes by....

This little pine(right foreground) is the one I marked to get to when I killed 'Bride of Horsetail' and 'O'l Hop Along' 30 seconds later back in 2006...

 -

Now, 8 years later.....

 -
 
Posted by Terry Green (Member # 3) on :
 
I had a blast....like I said...great food, great property, great guys in camp, and a really great setting at Camp. And like Thom said, another highlight was listening to hog fights from the fire. I heard them two nights, and wish the other guys would have been there, but as usuall I was the last to bed. Thom got his stalk on the 1st night, but I went across the bridge with no bow the last night and got close to the fighting and the LOUD popping of hogs eating hickory nuts.....sounded like they were breaking jaw breakers on an amplifier.

I had some run ins on several occasions, but never saw a hog. Too thick to see them but could see the vegetation moving. I had to abandon on 3 occasions after hearing little tiny squeals from the little ones.

I also busted on out of a bed in thick cane as I was trying to hunt 'passive aggressive' on all occasions after day 2.

There are some HUGE hogs on the property, not all pics were shown I don't believe as there was 3 different bruisers on one feeder that Joe and I sat, but they all appeared on camera after dark...WELL after dark. Full moon and smart old boars. Harder to kill than a 10 point buck.

I'm still trying to find time to share a few pics of my own....hopefully I'll get to them this week as work has me covered up.

Lord willing...I'll be back next year.
 
Posted by Cyclic-Rivers (Member # 21222) on :
 
[campfire]

Terry, Its amazing how properties change from year to year.
 
Posted by Terry Green (Member # 3) on :
 
I think Keith is going to chime in tonight...forgot his password [Big Grin]
 
Posted by smokin joe (Member # 15756) on :
 
Here is a trail camera photo of one of the bruisers that Terry and I both tried to get a shot at. He would come in to the Gumbo Wallow after dark. We sat at that stand a few nights until it was too dark to take an ethical shot, then we would see a trail camera picture of him taken after we left. The moon phase was full, and I suspect that a few sits during a new moon might have gotten one of us a shot.

Here he is:
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Posted by smokin joe (Member # 15756) on :
 
And he wasn't the only wide-body boar visiting the Gumbo Wallow. Here are two more:
 -

 -
 
Posted by smokin joe (Member # 15756) on :
 
There was another spot I hunted called The White Oak, after an old white oak tree that fell over there a few years ago. That location is at the end of a road so it seems secluded. It has a wallow and a corn feeder. The corn feeder is set to go off at 7 AM each morning. One morning I got there at 7:26 AM. The corn was all gone. There was mud splashed up on all of the trees around the wallow, and the water in the wallow was loaded with fresh mud and as thick and brown as a chocolate milkshake. I couldn't have been more than a few minutes behind the hogs.

So, I decided with then and there that I would be at that stand an hour before the feeder was set to go off the next morning.

I was up early, wolfed down some coffee and breakfast and I headed out. I got to the stand on time and settled in. The feeder went off at exactly 7 AM. Within a minute there were six squirrels climbing down six separate tree trunks to hit the corn. They had no idea I was there. Then about 40 yards away I saw two black backs moving above a thick patch of palmetto fronds. I thought "right on time" and I got ready for the shot I was sure would present itself.

Another black back, then another -- and the fronds rustle a bit.

Then, in the middle of the moving palmetto fronds a head sticks up -- a turkey head. It took me a few seconds to figure out what was going on because my first thought was "what is a turkey doing walking around with hog?" Then I knew that the black backs I saw were the turkey backs as the flock walked around in the palmettos.

I let the turkeys pass and sat another couple of hours, but no hogs that morning.
 
Posted by hogless (Member # 1035) on :
 
Me and my son Martin went there last year in march and we had a blast Andrew runs a first class operation.I look forward to returning one day.
 
Posted by SKITCH (Member # 36382) on :
 
Just read this one. Great story. Thanks for putting it together!
Did anyone ever get one of those bigguns?
 
Posted by sticksnstones (Member # 24842) on :
 
There have been several around/over 200 pounds killed this year, and I got one of the really big ones about a month ago.
 -

The one behind me is a very respectable boar, and that guy got an even bigger boar two days earlier on that hunt.

About a week after I killed this one Charlie said he saw one about the same size rooting up Blue Lake Field. Apparently there are more still out there!

HERE is the whole story if you missed it and are looking for something to read
Thom
 
Posted by SKITCH (Member # 36382) on :
 
Thank you Thom! I'm in Seattle area now but wife works for airline and flying is free!! Yippee. I'm gonna try to get down there....hopefully with a Trad Gang group.
 
Posted by beaunaro (Member # 19888) on :
 
Wow!

You guys really have some good hog hunting there.

I have to take time to book a hunt myself.

Looks great.
 


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