My first night pig hunt was not as epic as I hoped it would be, but every hunt brings different experiences and gives the guys an excuse to talk crap and shoot guns. I was fortunate to have Jared, a Facebook friend, join me on this hunt. It’s always great to put a face to the name, especially those who enjoy hunting and the outdoors.
Jared and I had spoken via text for much of the week and we decided to meet at the service station off Snake Road and I75. We both departed for our adventure and enjoyed a scenic, but cop filled Seminole Reservation as we drove to Jeb’s Ranch. Other than the alligator which darted in front of Jared’s truck and redefined the definition of a Florida speed bump, the drive was pretty smooth. LOL!
We arrived and geared up. Soon after, Jeb’s crew arrived with a diesel Kubota UTV and dog cages secured to the back. Jeb arrived minutes after in a truck with a few friends and more dog cages secured to the back. After spending a few minutes talking about the hunt and watching the dogs get collared we were on our way. Jared took the seat on the UTV and I sat on the dog cage. I don’t mind the fresh air, but it does get a little tricky keeping my balance while holding a rifle.
We followed the gravel road for a while, glassing for hogs and hoping we’d see some before sunset. Fortunately, we were successful at doing just that, but the wind was not in our favor and the two large groups of hogs started moving away from us before we even got off the trucks. Jared and I quickly moved into position, but the high grass hid the hogs too well. Also, by this time they were at least 200 yards away from us.
The hunt moved on and it got dark shortly after. At approximately 9:15 PM or so the dogs picked up a scent and tracked down a boar close by. We all jumped out of the trucks and had to make a decision who would take the first shot. Only one can go due to the safety of the dogs. Jeb picked a number between 1 and 10 and I chose the number closest to. We quickly moved into the darkness, my green hog light led the way into the oak hammock. The undergrowth was thick with vegetation. The barking got louder and we could hear growling. Weird, I’ve never heard a boar growl. The two dogs were spotted and the grey/black hair of the boar clearly contrasted against the green palmettos. The dogs jumped in and out, taunting the boar as it growled at them. I stood there with my finger indexed waiting for Jeb’s instructions. I few short seconds later he said, “Shoot.” BANG! The 95g Barnes Triple Shock round exited my 6.8 SPC and pieced the hog just in front of his right shoulder. The boar staggered back and forth for a moment and toppled over. Moments later, Jeb pulled out this old boar. He was battle scared and missing his right cutter. We then took a few pics and exited the area. Unfortunately, he was on old boy, and Jeb did not recommend eating this hog’s meat. No bacon…
It’s Jared’s turn! We drove for some time and no luck. The group of hogs we had first spotted moved into a neighboring property, so our luck was running out quick. I felt a bit discouraged and was just so sure we would have better luck. The weather was great, the temperature was nice and the “Super Moonâ€ was illuminating the ranch. Hmmm…
The hunt continued and Jeb entertained himself and us a bit by using his truck to corral a herd of cattle which had strolled into the area. It was reminiscent of movie scenes Iâ€™d seen of bored and drunk high school students somewhere in the Midwest. I must say, it was comical for a while. Mind you, I’m sitting on the dog cages on the UTV. At this point, my feet were dug in and I was holding on pretty tight. This went on for 20 minutes or so. Again, it was funny for a while.
The final event was an old fashioned raccoon hunt. It’s illegal to shoot them out of the trees, but it’s not illegal to climb up after them and throw them off the tree. Yes, believe it or not, one of Jeb’s buddies climbed up an oak and chased after the critter. It took him about 15 minutes or so to finally get him on the ground. The two dogs were waiting and the wrestling match got ugly! 5 to 10 minutes later the coon was set free and the wounded and tired critter moved out. Unfortunate to him, Jared’s crosshairs were on him and he soon put this poor thing out of its misery.
It was almost 12 Midnight and Jeb drove us back to our trucks. It was a successful night, but it would have been nice to have more to celebrate about. That’s hunting for you… Sometimes it’s a matter of luck, not skill that determines success or failure. In the end, hunting with friends and family is the greatest gift the outdoors can provide. A day in the outdoors is the reason I hunt and a kill is just a bonus. I hope to do another night hunt sometime in August or September. There should be acorns on the ground by then. Hopefully, luck will again be on my side. If not, it’s ok, a bad day or night of hunting is still better than my best day at work.
Erik Alexander – in Clewiston, FL.