I walked along a path made by wide metal boats propelled from the blowing air of massive fans. The soggy ground pulled at the soles of my boots forcing a sucking sound with every step.
I thought it was a disadvantage to have all that noise following me everywhere I walked until a curious sow crashed through the river cane and reeds to greet me.
I slowly nocked an arrow onto my recurve but the pig stared me down at 15 yards facing me. With massive shoulders and heavy bone there definitely was no shot. The pig realized I wasn’t another pig foraging along the road during the early morning hours and bolted into the thick swamp and dissapeared in a second.That was the first wild boar I ever saw on public land and my heart was pounding.
My recent trip to Florida was a run-of-the mill family vacation to Florida where my wife, son and I would meet “the in-laws” and hang out on the beach, make sand castles and drink beer every night as the sun went down over the ocean. But I’ve never been very good at sitting on the beach (or anywhere else for that matter) and I have an incessant need to hunt.
So naturally I booked a hunt with a well known outfitter; Switchgrass Outfitters, run by a husband and wife team. They offer Eco-tours to view alligators and when the season is open to hunt them. They offer hog hunts with dogs and also have a few feeders placed strategically in the swamps with just enough corn spread out to keep the hogs in the area.
After a day of trying to stalk through the entanglements of foreign trees and vines, I built a blind with palmetto leaves and sat between a grassy “open” area where I could here pigs feeding and the feeder.
Just before dark a pig walked into the clearing and fed its way towards me. The palm trees that shaded me from the heat earlier in the day now made it darker than I wanted but the pig was at 30 yards and closing.
Finally it turned broad side at 20 yards and my bow came to full draw. I had no idea how pig this hog was but it looked good to me as the arrow flew through its ribs. The pig spun several times and then ran into the swamp.
I waited by the Saint Johns River for Seth to come to me with his air boat well after dark. I was amazed when he told me to get in and we travelled across land all the way to the blind I had built. A distance of 400 yards or more.
The pig had gone into really thick grass and after several minutes on our hands and knees trailing the animal Seth decided to get a couple dogs for retrieval. In Florida you have to get the pig out quickly because alligators may smell the blood and get to it first. When I heard this I was reminded about Montana and the concern we have in some areas about grizzly bears. I’m not sure if I would rather meet a grizzly bear at my deer carcass or an alligator at my pig!
When we returned the dogs quickly found the pig and my hunt was over. I found out that I was the first hunter in all the years Seth has hunted and guided hunts to take one with a traditional bow.
Today is Easter Sunday and I have an Easter ham ready for the table that was taken on public land in Florida. I shot it on April Fools day, but this is no joke!
Happy Easter Everyone!
For more information about Switch Grass Outfitters visit: www.switchgrassoutfitters.com