Deer expedition turns swine surprise
By ERNIE MARTIN
Hook & Trigger
When I first got married, my father-in-law was an avid outdoorsman. His son, my brother-in-law, is still a very accomplished outdoorsman himself. The following story is true, and happened to me and my brother-in-law. It was a hunting trip that I will never forget. Let me set the stage for y’all.
It was the winter of 1987. My wife and I had gone to visit her family in southern Mississippi and my brother-in-law, Kevin, had invited me on a deer-hunting trip planned for the next day. It was a 45-minute drive with an 11-foot wooden boat called a “Batty.” Batty had a 20 horsepower motor in tow.
Kevin had scouted the Black Creek Swamp the evening before and found plenty of signs that the rut was in full swing. We launched the boat about 30 minutes before daybreak and eased down the creek using our Q-beams to light the way. We tied up the boat and began the nearly 1-mile walk to the outer edge of the swamp. Kevin had dropped me off on the edge of a stand of water oaks that were being used by the deer. He went another 400 yards and set up next to a small slough.
The sun had not yet cleared the horizon when I heard what sounded like two bucks fighting. It was on the opposite side of a thicket from me, but they were working toward an opening. Just about the time I started to get a glimpse of two bucks, I heard Kevin shoot. The bucks broke up the fight and retreated deeper into the swamp.
I waited and watched for nearly half an hour before I made my way to Kevin’s stand. When I arrived at his spot, I saw that he was still in his tree. I started to ease back, thinking he was still looking at deer, when he whistled to stop me. It was at this point that I looked at him with a confused facial expression in which his visual reply was to put his two hands on top of his head to let me know that he had shot a big buck – or so I thought.
Once Kevin reached the ground, the story of him seeing this big buck and where he shot him unfolded. We then began to look for the animal. When we crossed a feeder creek on a log, the edge of the swamp was behind us. The sage brush and pine tree forest was nearly 100 yards deep before we would be stopped by a fence where private land started.
I should have known something was amiss...
I should have known something was amiss when I didn’t find a blood trail or any deer tracks. I walked back to the spot in the swamp and started over. There were several “holes” in the mud, but they didn’t look like deer tracks. That’s when I spotted a blood splatter. When I examined the holes again, they lined up like tracks. I looked at Kevin and he had this big grin on his face. His next words to me were, “It’s a big ol’ hog.” He then pointed into the chest-deep sage brush in front of us. It had been nearly 3 hours since he shot the hog. We split up and started making our way through the sage.
The events that occurred next are forever burned into my brain because of how scared and excited I became as I stepped on a stick that made a cracking noise that disturbed the wounded giant! The hog grunted, squealed and began to run straight toward the fence and away from me. I was frozen and all I could see was the top of this hog’s back in chest-deep sage brush!
The next sound I heard was that of a huge wild boar running into an old, wooden fence post, turning it into splinters. It sounded like something had exploded. The hog turned straight back toward me and the safety of the swamp. I went into survival mode by yelling for Kevin. The closer the hog got, the louder I yelled. I was also raising my gun in preparation of defending myself against the monster.
The hog broke out of the brush about 25 feet from me and he angled away, at that point I shot him. I never took my eyes off the big ol’ pig to see that Kevin had gotten close enough to him so that he could shoot him also. I shot and not even a full second later Kevin shot. He was 10 feet to my right side and 5 feet behind me when he shot. I never saw him coming or heard him shoot. I was so focused on the monster that I didn’t realized he was there until the hog took a 15-foot holly tree out when he crashed to the ground.
Once the excitement had lessened, we quickly realized that the only way to get this Hogzilla back to the boat was to field dress it and start dragging. What took a mere 25 minutes to walk at the beginning of the hunt took over 3 hours with the boar in tow. We ate our lunches and I told Kevin that I was tired. He responded in kind and we relaxed in the boat. After we both fell asleep from exhaustion, I suddenly awoke, realizing that it was getting dark. I woke Kevin up and we started trying to figure out how we were going to get us, our gear, and this beast to the truck.
It would take us two trips to the boat launch. Kevin, myself and the hog slowly made our way to the boat launch in a boat that was at full capacity. Kevin nailed two boards to the top of his dog box in his truck and we rolled the hog out of the boat and up on the dog box. The hog was so long and so fat that his body hung off each side of the truck. We had a full load! We of course arrived back at my in-law’s house late that night with some worried faces waiting for us, but boy did we have a story to tell!
This was a hog hunt for the ages and no, thank you, I don’t want to ever do it again. I can check that experience off my list.
Until next time, good luck and God bless.