The following morning, I donned some lightweight camouflage, doused my face and cap with mosquito repellent (after all, we were hunting in a swamp, in Florida, in July!), grabbed my Hoyt Maxxis and headed out with guide Jimmy Roseman in search of hogs.
For the sake of my storytelling, I’d like to tell you we walked 10 miles that morning and worked our collective rear end off to find some pigs. But the truth of the matter is, we hadn’t been gone from camp 10 minutes or driven more than a few miles down the vast network of sandy ranch roads when Jimmy spotted a lone pig feeding several hundred yards in front of us. He quickly pulled his pickup to the shoulder, we slipped out of the cab as silently as possible and the stalk was on.
Now, for those unversed in the ways of hog hunting, you need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your quarry. Pigs can’t see very well, their hearing is only average and — unlike other animals such as deer and turkeys — don’t tend to pay a whole lot of attention to what’s happening around them when they are relaxed and feeding. That said, the great equalizer is a hog’s nose, which simply cannot be beaten. As long as you can keep the wind in your favor, keep noise to a minimum and pick your spots to move, slipping within bow range of wild hogs is entirely possible. But let one of those porkers get so much as one whiff of your scent and it’s game over! You know you’re busted when you hear a telltale grunt, followed immediately by a mad rush of pigs headed to the next county.
But, as luck would have it on this morning, the wind was in our favor, the hogs were busy rooting for breakfast among the palmettos, and plenty of lush foliage between them and us shielded our approach. Only a few minutes after leaving the truck, the first hog showed itself, obliviously feeding its way in our direction at a distance of perhaps 30 yards. Drawing my bow, taking careful aim and squeezing my release, I watched as the shaft skewered the boar in the mid-section. It was at that moment that I fully appreciated the meaning of “squealing like a stuck pig,” and Jimmy and I were literally forced to jump aside as the mortally wounded boar sprinted directly toward us and off into the bush!
Despite all the commotion, we could tell by the sounds emanating from the palmettos that the main group of hogs was still preoccupied with feeding. So, I quickly nocked another arrow and we continued our slow approach. It wasn’t long before we spotted another lone hog feeding on the opposite side of the ranch road from where the main group was located. Slipping through the brush to the road opening where I could get a clear shot, I sent another shaft on its way, watching it hit home and following the pig’s progress as it scampered off away from the main group.