Monday, December 27, 2010

Lee Flannery's Hog Hunt

My good friend and hunting buddy Lee recently had an excellent couple of hunts from a new blind he just constructed on our hunting lease. Here is Lee's story as told by him.

I took my son and one of his friends to the deer lease in hopes of seeing something exciting that would help them gain the same interest and love of the outdoors as I have come to enjoy through the years and pass along the gift of experiencing first hand in nature, God's wondrous creations. I had spent the last weekend with a good Christian friend of mine who took the time to drive all the way from East Texas with his trailer so we could load a box blind I had built in anticipation of locating it an area where I had seen a great deal of wildlife activity. I thought this would be an ideal spot to keep my son interested with all of the different things we could see. My friend and I arrived a little after 10PM and spent the next 4.5 hours constructing the blind by lantern light and enjoying the fellowship of one anothers company. He had even taken the time to buy us a couple of comfortable office chairs to sit in once the blind was complete. One was equipped with the ability to raise to extreme heights which was perfect for my son to be able to see everything without any additional effort. Good friends are truly a gift from God! We hunted a little from the blind that next morning and evening and the wildlife activity proved to once again be good in the area. We saw plenty of deer and ducks, a bobcat, and had some close encounters with wild hogs but we didn't kill a thing. Fast forward to last Wednesday before Christmas and my son and I, along with his friend, arrived around 4PM and we quickly unloaded our things and hurried out to the field. We were anticipating a full moon tonight and thought we may see deer moving just before sunset. The wind was out of the NE and there was a nice creek running north and south on the property bisecting a wheatfield so we decided to walk due west to the creek and cross the dry bed there hoping not to disturb anything that may be bedded down along the cover lining the banks. We made it across and then headed NW to the blind before we heard a bunch of wild hogs running south through the brush along the east creek bank.. They had evidently spotted us as we walked through the open field and we quickly made our way back to the spot where we had crossed as they came running by. I took a shot at a little one with one of the four bullets I had loaded in the gun and missed. The boys were super excited and said it was already worth the trip even though we hadn't yet made it to the blind. We made our way to the box blind and jumped a bunch of ducks off the pond where our hunting spot was located. The blind was perched atop the dam overlooking the wheatfield out a couple of the windows and the pond and some mesquite trees out the other two. We crawled in and got the windows opened up and the boys settled in. Each had their own designated areas to watch and we spent the next 15 minutes or so chasing down every rock, bush, cactus and tree that appeared to be an animal of some kind to them. Eventually, my son's friend lit up with a little more excitement pointing back in the direction of the creek and I turned to see a different group of about 20 or so wild hogs coming out of the creek walking directly toward us. We took a few pictures and then got ready to shoot something. The boys covered their ears and I placed the crosshairs squarely behind the shoulder of one of the larger sows and slowly squeezed the trigger. She crumbled and pig 1 was down. I shifted another round into the chamber and followed another one as she ran across the wheat field. I squeezed off another round knocking her down as well. Pig 2 was on the ground. I then turned my attention to the others running frantically for cover and fired my final shot missing the last target. I've come to enjoy wild hog meat as much as deer over the years and was excited about the pork we had taken. These pigs cause a significant amount of damage to crops and pasture in the area, but we had rarely seen any during our previous hunting excursions. As the excitement died down, we noticed that pig 1 had disappeared sometime after our attention was diverted from her and pig 2 was up and walking off with some difficulty. She walked out from behind a small brush pile in the wheat field and then staggered backward falling out of view. I began searching through my pack for my extra shells to reload and much to my amazement, they were nowhere to be found. I had left them back at the bunkhouse in our rush to make it into the field and we still had animals running all around us trying to regroup. After about five minutes of watching them, we noticed pig 2 get up and casually walk away as if nothing had ever happened. It was a sick feeling to watch what I knew to be a wounded animal walk away and not be able to dispatch it immediately and end any suffering. I have rarely had occasion to fire more than one shot at an animal and have prided myself in quick kills. This was not something I wanted to repeat again. It is always a good idea to let animals have some time to expire before you start tracking them so we decided there was nothing else we could do but use the remaining light left to walk back and get more bullets and a spotlight to try and find our kills. After making the trip, we picked up where we had seen the 2nd pig fall behind the brush pile. She had left a good sign and began trailing in the dark by flashlight. When the coyotes began howling, the boys felt a little less like hunters and more like the hunted. I could feel them walking closer than ever at that point and the urge to turn on their lights at the slightest sounds was unavoidable. We followed the trail until we had to give up for the night as tiredness and possibly some fear had overcome them. We would pick back up again in the morning. We woke up at 5:30AM and headed back to the blind. After settling in, we waited for the sun to come up and were able to watch a number of ducks come in to the pond. They kept pouring in on us until there were a good 35 or more swimming around and feeding right in front of us. We had widgeon, gadwall, ringnecks, teal and a pied-billed grebe on the water and they provided a great deal of visual stimulation over the next couple of hours. We finally decided to call it a morning in the stand and get back to tracking as my son had a dental appointment and we needed to try and get back by 2PM. We began scouring the area for any sign of a trail on pig 1 but couldn't locate anything. I began walking trails looking for any sign I could possibly find wondering all along if maybe my sights were off. I happened across her by chance about 60 yards in the grass and mesquites. Again the boys excitement escalated and they could barely contain themselves. We took some photos and then headed back to the bunkhouse for the truck. On the way back, we walked the dry creekbed and found the skeletal remains of a young buck. We came up out of the bank and immediately saw a large boar moving along the edge of the trees. He spotted us as I lay down my things and ran into the creek again. I eased over that way slowly and could hear popping back in the brush. I thought he might be just inside waiting to charge but finally figured out it was another large group of them eating pecans along the creek bank. I sighted my crosshairs on one of them and fired, dropping her instantly. Pigs ran everywhere! The boys got out their pocketknives in case anything came their way. Another one ran out into the open and I quickly laid it to rest as well. We returned with the truck and loaded up our exciting hunting experiences then rushed quickly to the processor to have them butchered and return home for the dental appointment. Not quite as much anticipation there. Overall, we had a great time and I know we made some memories in the process.

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