After spending nearly fourteen hours traveling to southeastern Oklahoma by car for my first wild hog hunt, I was more than a little pumped as I wheeled up to the boar-embellished front gate at the entrance to Shiloh Ranch, owned by Matt & Cheryl Napper.
I'd finally arrived at the 3rd Annual All-Women's Hog Hunt and I couldn't wait to be in the woods. Cheryl Napper quickly greeted me at the gate and made me feel completely at home with her warmth and hospitality. I threw my bags into the cabin and proceeded to meet the other hunters. There were five in all: Barb from Kentucky, Claudia from Texas, Donna from Missouri, Eve from California and myself from Wisconsin.
It was a fine group of experienced hunters, three of whom had hunted with Shiloh previously. We eagerly shot our bows in anticipation of the afternoon hunt, then surveyed the ranch map for stand locations. After claiming our respective "hot spots" (of which we were each confident) we headed out. It was a warm spring afternoon in the mid-60's with a slight northwest wind.
Twenty minutes and a mile or so later, I arrived at Stand #2 labeled on Shiloh Ranch's map as "TheHuntress". Attaching my bow to the pull rope, I eagerly climbed up the 13-foot ladder stand and attached my safety belt. I reeled up my bow, nocked an arrow, and thirstily drank from my water bottle. I'd left Wisconsin in 30-degree weather and wasn't accustomed to Oklahoma's March warmth and sunshine! The wind began to quiet, as did my thoughts, and I relaxed and became rejuvenated by my surroundings. I'd had a four-month reprieve from hunting and my spirits soared as I listened to the birds and inhaled the moist spring air. The corn feeder and waterhole lay just ten yards in front of me, and despite a few small scrub oak trees, I had clear shooting. I could detect the oilrigs drumming rhythmically in the distance, but turned my attention to a pileated woodpecker sounding off from the east. I watched intently as several tufted titmice and cardinals vied for corn pieces below. Forty-five minutes later, I was unexpectedly catapulted from my reverie as the feeder sprayed a thin layer of corn upon the dirt. Breathing deeply with hand over my racing heart, I quietly chuckled over my "wake-up" call. Seconds later, I heard a distinct but distant crunch in the fallen leaves behind me. The momentum and sound seemed to increase exponentially as I turned to peer around the tree and observed a hefty black hog making a beeline for the feeder. I readied my PSE bow, already confident my 3-blade Innerloc XT's would do the job. The boar slowed and hesitated just seven yards north of my tree, then moved forward to the water. I had a perfect "rear-view" as he drank, offering no shot whatsoever, so I took the opportunity to look him over. He had nice white tusks, maybe two inches in length, protruding from his snout and an unmistakable waddle that dangled from his chin. I guessed him to be 180-200 lbs. No doubt about it, I wanted this hog!
Moments later, with thirst quenched, he turned to the corn and moved sideways on the dirt, offering a perfect quartering away shot. My eyes focused on his heart and although I was aware a broadside, double lung shot was the highest-percentage shot on hogs, I couldn't resist this shot opportunity. I drew back my bow undetected and methodically placed my 10-yard pin on his chest. I calmly released and watched my arrow hit its mark. Immediately upon impact he hurled himself forward and spun around twice snorting and grunting in earnest. The burly boar then spun off to the south running, but quickly slowed to a walk just 30 yards out. I watched him walk off until I lost sight of him in the heavy brush at 50 yards. Seconds later I heard a loud thrashing in the brush, then silence. It was 5 PM. I'd been on my stand for just one hour!
Scanning the ground below I easily spotted the blood, surmising I'd gotten full penetration on the hog. After a short wait I marked the blood trail into the thick cover and returned to camp to get Matt & Cheryl Napper and the four-wheelers. My shot had been a good one, and while I knew my hog was down, I didn't want to go in after him quite yet.
Returning just after dark, we easily followed the blood trail and quickly located my downed hog just 60 yards south of my treestand. I had made a perfect heart shot on my first wild boar...a dandy one indeed!
Friday night proved to be lucky for Claudia also, as she reported in with news of another downed hog just after dark.
Saturday morning meant "sleeping-in" and hot coffee for Claudia and I, while to the remaining hunters it brought a beautiful blue-skied, turkey-gobbling morning. No hogs were shot, but it was a perfect morning nonetheless. All of us headed out early Saturday afternoon eager to take advantage of the nice weather. While we all encountered a flurry of activity around our stands throughout the afternoon and into the evening, it was Donna who connected with a great shot and recovered her hog quickly. Celebrations ensued Saturday evening while we all enjoyed spending the last night together around the campfire.
Sunday morning dawned with just two early risers, both Barb and Eve, who where still eager and optimistic, so characteristic of two who love to bowhunt. Although they hunted hard, neither one went home with fresh pork for dinner. It was good incentive to return again next year!
Perfect weather and great company made for an unforgettable hunt. Thank you Matt & Cheryl Napper of Shiloh Ranch and all the women hunters whom I shared the weekend with for a wonderful and successful first hog hunting experience in Oklahoma.
© March 2003