I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a cold Minnesota January weekend than to go hunting in a more southerly state. After all, our whitetail season was over and spring turkey was yet many months away.
The adventure begins at BowSafari, a bowhunting only ranch in Coalgate , Oklahoma . The ranch has 1,250 acres fully stocked with exotic game and wild hogs.
I chose the exotic package, hoping not only to arrow a wild hog but also an exotic like an axis or fallow, blackbuck or Aoudad. I never connected on an exotic, although I had seen plenty.
The first afternoon found me in a tree 20 yards off the road. Every afternoon around 3 p.m. , the corn truck drops its feed in a 2-foot swath in the center of the road. The animals hiding in the woods can hear the sound of the corn trailer’s chinking metal, as the truck makes its 8-mile route through the ranch property.
I had plenty of hogs running left and right past my stand. It was a real chore trying to pick out just one to shoot at, as they were often moving very fast. You could hear them coming too… like a herd of vacuum cleaners, racing each other to see who would get to that next corn kernel first!
When I had one picked out and drew on it, another would come and stand right next to it. Or it was also either too small, or it was a wet sow (which is a no-no to shoot at), or it was moving too fast, or, or, or….
I was at full draw on a hog directly in front of me, when another group of hogs came from the left. I slowly swung that direction to take a look-see. Dang! Coming in too fast! I swung back to the group in front of me. Now I hear more from the right! I swing to the right and try to find a good hog to put a pin on. Mercy! There was yet more coming from behind me out of the creek bottom! I felt as though I was doing pirouettes on stand, all the while at full draw. I couldn’t keep from laughing! This was Hog Heaven!
I never did lose an arrow that evening, but I had faith that tomorrow would be the end of life for one unsuspecting hog.
On day two, I was set up in a ladder stand in another location, just 12 yards from the corn road.
A group of about 7 or 8 hogs came out of the woods and soon were coming my way.
I took the one at the front of the pack. This black hog resembled a javalina, with its long white whiskers around its face. The whole bunch came my way, scarfing down corn kernels just as quick as they could.
I was at full draw before the hog had even made it directly in front of me broadside. My pin was waiting for a shoulder to put it behind, which it did when it walked into my lane. The ensuing THWACK to the vitals made my hog squeal, which in turn made the rest of the bunch run off, while my hog was very slowly sauntering TOWARD me. It looked like it was inebriated, clumsily bumping into a tree, not more than 7 feet from me. This is where it fell down.I had another arrow nocked in case it got a second wind and decided to take off running. Didn't need to use it though. It tried getting up, and flip-flopped on its back to the ground, just FOUR FEET from my stand! Then it lay still. I kept looking at it, thinking about how hard it's supposed to be to kill a hog with so much fat, and that 5 other hunters that week never retrieved the hogs they had shot. At this time I smiled SO big and pumped my fist into the air several times shouting, "YES! YES! YES!!" to myself of course, for I had to still keep quiet, as I was yet hoping for an exotic to cross my trail.
This is where the hog laid to rest, between the tree (upper left) and my treestand (lower right)
It couldn't get any better than that! Could it?
Well of course it could!
An exotic deer never did materialize that day, so while sitting in my stand, I tried to locate where my arrow may have landed. I looked to the road 12 yards in front of me and there lay the bloody arrow, right at the very point of impact. No need to search for a broadhead-tipped arrow in the dark now!
My Cheshire Cat grin spoke volumes.
Couldn’t get much better than that! What a hunt!
I showed Calvin, the manager of the ranch, my hog. He in turn phoned Alvin, the meat processor they like to refer their clients to, and told him over his cell phone how much the pig weighed.
"Oh about 520 pounds," Calvin says with a big smile on his face. All of us that were gathered around the bed of the truck where my hog lay laughed. I asked Calvin, “Can I tell people that too?!” After all, my hog wasn’t much more than 80 pounds. It didn’t matter to me, as this was my very first hog and was a giant in my eyes.
I took the hog to the processors and Alvin began working on the hog late that evening until who knows when, burning the midnight oil. He was told I needed mine packaged and hard froze by noon the next day, so I could fly home with it safely. It was indeed rock solid by noon the next day.
I put my hog, in all of its small frozen wrapped packages, inside my bow case. It rode home in the belly of the plane. When I returned home, I told my kids the hog was in my bow case. They were quite mystified as to how that could be. They opened it up and pulled out the packages and smiled. We’d be having pork for tomorrow’s dinner.
I’m excited just thinking about going back to BowSafari some day. And when I do, exotics beware!
For more information on BowSafari Ranch, see http://www.bowsafari.com/home.cfm
Shoot straight, shoot often, and may all your arrows fly true.
© September 2006