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Depredating Hogs

It seems like everyone I know goes to Texas to hunt hogs early in the year. I have been lucky enough to go on two hog hunts this year, the first to Texas. As I had not been hog hunting in several years, I looked up the regulations and saw that when Depredating Hogs on private land, you don’t need a license. I don’t know that I had seen that before, depredation of hogs. What does that mean? Depredation is the plunder or waste of a property and as hogs often have 4 to 12 babies twice a year once they are old enough to breed at 8-10 months old, that means a ton of hogs doing a proportionate amount of damage. The population of hogs is booming. Hogs are known to eat crops and their rooting can destroy wetlands. To most living in the south, they are a menace. To many hunters, they are an annual trip which is good and bad for the environment. It is good for some level of population control but some landowners keep the populations stable in their area to keep the hunting good. Hogs are very smart and according to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Division, they are very hard to control.

The first hunt I went on this year was in eastern Texas on a piece of land that I found through the Texas Exotic Hunt forum. You paid to hunt, he showed you the feeders, that was the deal. While most people think that hunting feeders is an easy 100% kill opportunity. That isn’t the case. Everyone in that area had feeders and it was wet and lush for an early February hunt. There was sign everywhere and I started to think that maybe it was me scaring away all the hogs. I might have believed it if I was not surrounded by deer, who did not even seem to notice me in my ground blind.

Lucky for me, I booked a hunt with Woods and Water Inc through the Sisterhood of the Outdoors so I had another chance to hunt hogs this year. In Georgia, hogs are also considered a nuisance. I got to hunt with some old friends as well as a whole group of women from different backgrounds. There were 11 of us total.

A few of my friends and I planned to meet in Atlanta and then make the 3-hour drive to the lodge. I woke up on the first day of the hunt around 2 AM MST to get to the airport way ahead of my 5 AM flight as I was checking my rifle. It was a little stressful as the different airports check guns differently and I had to go try to buy more locks for my gun case. Luckily, I just got on my Southwest flight and headed off to Atlanta. When I arrived in Atlanta, I met my lovely companions and we set off to the lodge. We arrived shortly before it was time to set off for the hunt for the evening with just a little time to check our rifles. Mine was shooting perfectly at 100 yards.

After a little electrical taping of the green light I brought my friend for her gun, we were off.

You have to appreciate the charm of the south, the very nice guide was concerned that I had to walk about 50 yards down the hill to my stand. He was very kind as my friend told him that I hunt solo in Colorado, I could handle a little hill.

As the sun set over the swamp/grassland, I could start to hear things splashing in the darkness. I spent several hours believing that the hogs were passing by me, when suddenly in the moonlight, I saw something under the feeder. I aimed, turned the light on, and then promptly turned it off as it was a doe under the feeder. I continued to watch opossums, listen to deer and began to differentiate between the sounds of deer and hogs in the water. It was a great experience to hear the other hunters in my group of 4 shooting at hogs and then having confirmation by text(it was a full moon so the phone light did not give us away). Right around midnight, I was tired and I texted the guide for a pickup as I had been awake for about 20 hours. Immediately after, I heard them coming, rustling and snorting and making a ruckus. Then I could smell them. I waited for them to settle at the feeder, just as they did, I heard the guide up the hill. I made the decision that I was sealing the deal. I aimed, put my gun up a little, turned on the dispersed green light, lowered, aimed behind the ear, and followed through. Shooting a rifle in a medal tripod is quite a ride. I was glad that I didn’t have a larger caliber of rifle than my trusty 6.5 Browning X-Bolt. My phone immediately started vibrating with all of the did you get one texts, after the tripod and I settled down a little, I shined my light down and saw that I had made a perfect shot, my boar was right where I shot him.

I told the guide I shot on and that I was just going to sit for awhile as I was shaking too much to climb down. I am so excited to have harvested my first hog with a rifle. The guides were great, they went down, got the hog and did all the cleaning because it was nearly 4 AM before we got back to the lodge and it was my turn for butchering.

I cannot recommend Woods and Water, Inc enough, contact them at 478-864-9108 or book a trip with us through the Sisterhood of the Outdoors next year. Hunting with the Sisterhood is always a great trip. All the time I hear that there are not many women out there with a passion for hunting that men have, every trip with this group proves them wrong. I have made friends all over the country and it is always great to hunt with other like minded women and hunters in general.

Having the mettle to hunt after dark is a daunting task and I am proud to have been able to rise to it. Every hunt I go on, I learn a new skill and hog hunting is a great way to keep your senses sharp in the off season.

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