I had the experience two spring seasons ago of a hog and turkey combo hunt. And I never thought for a moment that it would happen again. But it did.
One Saturday morning last season, I cranked up the Trooper and headed for my ground blind. I parked about 300 yards from the blind and walked quickly because daylight was breaking much sooner than I expected. I wasn’t too concerned since most of the turkeys I’d seen over those past couple weekends had been well after sunrise.
I arrived at my blind around about 10 minutes till 7 a.m., and put out the hen decoy I had stored in my blind. I had seen a tom the previous weekend walking the edge of the creek, about 80 to 90 yards beyond my feeder. I couldn’t call him in, so I thought the decoy might help—if I was lucky enough to see him again.
I then spread a coffee can full of corn around the back side of my feeder to slow down any turkeys that might show up before my feeder went off at 8 a.m. I settled into my ground blind, loaded my old 12-gauge pump, and was shocked to see a hen running behind my feeder. She heard the noise I made from chambering a round.
As I looked to see if she was still there, three more hens came running to the feeder and the corn that I had just spread on the ground. I think the decoy put them at ease, but they didn’t stay but a minute or two. I looked in the direction the hens had come from, hoping to catch a glimpse of a trailing tom. In just a matter of seconds, there he was in full strut, moving towards my feeder and my decoy.
The tom was still about 60 or 70 yards away, and I hoped that he would continue on his path, get within 40 yards, and give me a clear shot. When the tom realized his four hens were gone, he came out of strut and began walking quite smartly from my right to left at about 50 or 60 yards, not what I was hoping for. I hit my box call with a few purrs to try and bring him closer, but I think his instincts kept him from it. I could see that he was the mature tom I’d seen the week before—big, about 18-plus pounds, long spurs, and a thick 9-inch-plus beard. It was now or never.
I picked a small clearing through the mesquite trees and waited for him to pass through it. The sound of my 12-gauge, 3-inch mag. No. 6 shot was deafening. But it found its way and dropped him just over 50 yards. My watch read 7 a.m. I was thrilled. I had a tom on the ground and hadn’t been in my blind five minutes. I quickly scrambled from my blind and retrieved the tom, still flapping like a chicken with his head cut off. I dispatched him quickly, got back in my ground blind, and called my brother Mike to tell him the story. After a nice long chat and congratulations from my twin brother, I sat back to relax and take in the moment. About 7:55, five minutes prior to my feeder going off, I spotted movement about 100 yards just up from the creek. With my naked eye, it looked like a calf. I picked up my binocular, and much to my surprise and excitement, it was a hog!
I quickly got my .243, flipped the caps open on my scope, and put in my earplugs. I watched the hog, and then another behind it, disappear off to my right in the thick cover. I strained to try and pick them up through my right window, but couldn’t find them. When I swung around to the front window, there were over 30 hogs in front of me: a bunch of sows and young boars, along with two or three litters of piglets. They were all scrambling to get the corn I had thrown on the ground earlier.
I kept trying to pick out a boar and avoid the sows and piglets. I had decided I would try and make a head shot, once I got a boar clear from the pack. Because they were constantly moving, aiming was difficult, but I took a shot and shot too quickly, missing the boar’s head. I bolted another round as they scattered out of sight. As I was about to kick myself for missing the opportunity, another boar ran right in front of me and I shot him as he passed by. He stumbled and ran straight away, stopping about 60 yards out. I could see that I had hit him slightly back in the mid section. I quickly chambered another round and placed one just behind his ear. Down he went. I was in hog heaven. I’d been in my blind for about an hour and had bagged a nice tom as well as a young boar. What more could you ask for?