Author Topic: Hog Hunting Florida Style  (Read 2643 times)

fightingquaker13

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Hog Hunting Florida Style
« on: April 05, 2009, 05:51:10 pm »
After the post about the Florida gator hunt I felt compelled to post this article in case any of you were still laboring under the delusion that we did anything like normal people in my fair state. Most folks after all when going to kil a large aggressive potentially dangerous animal would use a gun. Tourists! Why bother with that when you can use a spear or a knife?
fightingquaker13 who in the interests of being a complete jerk is including the url of Sunrise River Knives. Drool gentelmen drool www.sunrisecustomknives.com




Down and Dirty in Dixie
 
 
Some opportunities in life are just too good to pass up.

For me, one of those opportunities was the chance to help out at a Florida hog hunt hosted by Slaughter Brothers Wild Hog Hunts, arranged by the United Special Sportsmen Alliance (USSA).

USSA is a nonprofit organization that grants outdoor wishes for disabled and terminally ill children and adults across the USA, and since this hunt was to be held at the low-fenced hunting preserve of a friend of mine, Kenny Banaciski, I knew that I could be there to help out. I did so, and I'm very happy that I did.

Beginnings

The USSA hunt was to begin on Friday morning, and most of the crowd arrived on Thursday evening. Kenny and I had gone to Tallahassee to fetch USSA founder Brigid o'Donogue from the airport, and we found the "Carolina crowd" at the lodge when we returned. This group included two USSA hunters: a bright teenager named Chris, and a thirty-something father of two named Mike. Also present were Chris's parents Mike (a.k.a. Big Mike) and Jackie, and Mike's hunting buddy Bobby, brother to Big Mike.

My Dad was at the lodge to greet them upon their arrival, and when Kenny, Brigid, and I entered, they were settled on the sofas in the living room of the lodge. Any initial awkwardness at meeting these new folks dissipated rapidly, and jokes and laughs came freely. After introductions and handshakes all around, Kenny got right down to business, announcing that it was time for Brigid's night hunt.

Gearing up for a Night Hunt

Brigid had done a tad of hog hunting in Texas before, but never in these swamps south of Perry, Florida. I retrieved my Cordura leggings, long Sunrise River boar hunting knife, and boots, and suited up while Kenny assembled the Cold Steel spear that Brigid was to use on the hunt. Talk was animated and we anticipated one heck of a swamp brawl that night.

Brigid handed me her video camera to check out, since my job would be to back up Kenny and fellow hog hunter Clint Wood, shooting video of the hunt if I was not needed in the fight itself. Kenny has some nice big porkers on his property, and there was no telling whether we would end up neck-deep in black swamp water fighting a tremendous hog.

Heading Out

After familiarizing myself with the camera and getting our gear in order, we headed out into the darkness, and a group of prodigious porkers was soon spotted by Kenny and Clint in the lead vehicle. We hurried to catch up to them as they readied the dogs, and were soon out of the trucks and running into the field where the hogs had been seen.

Dogs on the Trail

The spotlight picked out a huge hog in the pack, and the dogs were released. They raced by some smaller hogs (each weighing more than two hundred pounds apiece) and zeroed in on one truly tremendous swine. The dogs caught up with the big hog at a small cluster of oaks in the field, and I watched through the camera lens as they tried to grab and hold the beast. The huge hog would have none of it, and swiftly rounded the trees, trying to make its escape.

Caught - and Speared!

I began to run again, but I hadn't gone far before the hog began to squeal, a loud bawl that announced that the dogs had caught it well and good. Clint wheelbarrowed the hog, lifting its huge legs easily clear of the ground in a move he'd performed countless times before. Brigid moved in for the kill, and under Kenny's direction she had soon inflicted a fatal wound, and the big hog went down.

Die-Hard Hog

After getting back to its feet for another - very unexpected - heart-thumping fight with the dogs, the big hog was pulled down for the last time. A round of congratulations followed as we checked out the big sow's respectable teeth, then loaded it with some difficulty (that hog was BIG!) and headed back to the lodge to skin it out. The folks there for the USSA hunt now had no doubt that there were some big hogs on the property after seeing that behemoth! It was a proper warm-up, to be sure.


Brigid and the Behemoth
  The pciture didn't copy from the web site but gentlemen picture a BIG ass hog 400 pounds easy hanging next to an attractive woman WHO KILLED IT WITH A FREAKING SPEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!! (I think we've found Tom's perfect woman. After all I'm sure she'd be sympathetic to his fairer sex healing arts theories.  ;D ;D ;D




Friday's Hunt

On Friday morning, Ryan and his parents arrived. Ryan was another young hunter lined up by the USSA. Born without a right hand, he was here to take part in this special opportunity that Kenny had so generously provided for disabled and terminally ill folks.

Even before we could get Ryan to his stand for the morning hunt, a big porker was spotted in the trail ahead, and Ryan had soon put that porker on the ground, his one shot true and on the mark. I have rarely seen a happier hunter than Ryan was after his first big kill! His fat, healthy hog weighed more than two hundred pounds.


A proud Ryan with his first big kill!
Photo copyright 2007 Russ Chastain, all rights reserved

No other hunters connected that morning, although several heard hogs in the brush nearby. After bidding Ryan and his folks farewell, we spent some time together in the air-conditioned lodge getting to know one another better and catching a few catnaps. The evening still-hunt turned up nothing more, either.

Dealing With Disappointment

Mike and Chris, our two remaining USSA hunters, were visibly disappointed that they hadn't made contact with any swine. There had been previous - unsuccessful - hunts at other hunting preserves, and they remained doubtful that they would connect with any hogs here. They didn't know who they were dealing with on this hunt, though, and didn't realize that Kenny, Clint, and I were prepared to do anything it took to get them their hogs.

Saturday Morning

Saturday morning turned up nothing visible at the stands again, so we reconnoitered after an hour or two and gathered the hunters together. As we made our way back towards the lodge in a procession of trucks, two big hogs stepped out into the road ahead - their final mistake. Mike soon put one down with a beautiful shot between its eyes, and Chris dropped his moving broadside hog with a well-placed shoulder shot and a swift finisher as the stubborn sow tried to leave the scene on three legs!


Kenny, Mike, and Chris sharing a laugh after the morning hunt.
Photo copyright 2007 Russ Chastain, all rights reserved

Now that all of the USSA hunters had made their kills, the Carolina crowd was taken on a truck tour of B4 Ranch, enjoying all of the exotic deer and antelope in the high-fenced Ranch preserve. Tensions were broken now that Mike and Chris had nailed their hogs, and the overall feeling was one of satisfaction with their successful hunt. Kenny wasn't done with these folks, though.

After Clint and Kenny took care of skinning and quartering the hogs, we again spent some time in the lodge, laughing and joking and enjoying the delicious breakfast that Jackie had prepared. By 10:30, though, Kenny announced that it was time to run the dogs and show these folks some sure 'nuff down-and-dirty hog hunting!

Heart-Stopping Action!

First to kill on that mid-day hunt was Mike, who popped a nice porker that catch dog Gyp had nabbed, while Kenny and Gyp held it.

Next, Chris followed as I plowed a path through the thick of the swamp to get to a hog caught by old Gyp and Trigger, several other men also fighting their way forward and blasting a route through the thicket by brute force. Chris used the big Sunrise River Boar Hunting knife to slay a big black hog in a swamp brawl that lived up to its name, and soon afterward Bobby did the same. The adrenaline was running hot and heavy on that hunt!

Not long after we emerged from the swamp, Big Mike shot a sizable hog that bay dog Goldie had handled all by herself, the fight ending in the deep black water of a wide ditch. Two truckloads of tired, dirty, sweaty, and thoroughly happy hunters then returned to the lodge for lunch and another round of skinning and quartering.

 
Chris and Mike with their noontime "swamp brawl" hogs.
Photos copyright 2007 Russ Chastain, all rights reserved

Saying Goodbye

It wasn't long before the Carolina crowd had packed their gear and were ready to depart for their long drive home. More than one tear was shed as we parted with these fine folks we'd known for less than two days, and it felt as if we were saying goodbye to old friends rather than new acquaintances.

We had tried our best to make this hunt something special for them, and in fact they had made it special for us. It seems that the feeling was mutual, just as it should be, and although Chris said he blamed me for getting him addicted to hunting hogs with a knife, he did so with his characteristic grin and a proud glint in his eyes that was the best thanks a man could ever ask for.

As our last two USSA hunters drove away with their family and friends, I fought back tears as I considered what had taken place over the past two days. Lives had been touched, hearts had been changed... and a group of fine folks headed home with six hogs in their coolers. If that's not an incredibly successful hunt, I don't know what is.



The Down Range TV Forum

Hog Hunting Florida Style
« on: April 05, 2009, 05:51:10 pm »

Hazcat

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Re: Hog Hunting Florida Style
« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2009, 06:19:24 pm »
FQ,

My son has now taken 2 hogs.  One at 25 yards with one shot from his S&W 629 (DRT!) and one at about 40 yards on the run from a moving swamp buggy using his Puma 44 lever gun!

Next he wants to use our Ishapore with the bayonet and chase the bastard down and stab it!  Gotta love the spunk and endurance of a 15 year old that weighs 120 lbs soaking wet!  ;D
All tipoes and misspelings are copi-righted.  Pleeze do not reuse without ritten persimmons  :D

fightingquaker13

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Re: Hog Hunting Florida Style
« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2009, 06:59:25 pm »
FQ,

My son has now taken 2 hogs.  One at 25 yards with one shot from his S&W 629 (DRT!) and one at about 40 yards on the run from a moving swamp buggy using his Puma 44 lever gun!

Next he wants to use our Ishapore with the bayonet and chase the bastard down and stab it!  Gotta love the spunk and endurance of a 15 year old that weighs 120 lbs soaking wet!  ;D
Just be sure you get him to sixteen Haz.  :)
FQ13

Hazcat

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Re: Hog Hunting Florida Style
« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2009, 07:04:45 pm »
Just be sure you get him to sixteen Haz.  :)
FQ13

I hear ya FQ BUT, I beleieve that (as we grew up) a few cuts and scrapes just toughen ya up. ;)  (Hell, scars are badges of pride.)
All tipoes and misspelings are copi-righted.  Pleeze do not reuse without ritten persimmons  :D

Timothy

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Re: Hog Hunting Florida Style
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2009, 07:32:58 pm »
I hear ya FQ BUT, I beleieve that (as we grew up) a few cuts and scrapes just toughen ya up. ;)  (Hell, scars are badges of pride.)

Good to have a back-up plan though Haz..... ;)

Hazcat

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Re: Hog Hunting Florida Style
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2009, 07:38:56 pm »
Good to have a back-up plan though Haz..... ;)

Well,  Thats why the pointy thing is on the end of an Ishapore (.308 rifle).  ;)
All tipoes and misspelings are copi-righted.  Pleeze do not reuse without ritten persimmons  :D

Timothy

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Re: Hog Hunting Florida Style
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2009, 08:29:00 pm »
Well,  Thats why the pointy thing is on the end of an Ishapore (.308 rifle).  ;)

 ;D ::)

fightingquaker13

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Re: Hog Hunting Florida Style
« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2009, 08:37:56 pm »
Haz this is for you
I want to describe my one and only hog knife hunt which took place when I was just a little older than your boy at seventeen. I lived in Palm Beach but grandad had a few acres north of Lake Okeechobee and I spent most of my weekends out there hunting, fishing, riding etc. I'd started semi-dating this girl from the vast metropolis of Lorida (clever those Floridians in their town names). This bit of info alone should be enough to tell you things are about to get ugly because any time teenage boys and women are mixed, all you need to do is add whiskey, car keys or fire arms  (in this case horses) and you know its going south. Well, Laurie's dad was the manager of a 12,000 acre ranch (young yes, stupid no ;D). And while she and I had gone after spring turkeys, I'd never hunted the hogs on the place which her dad wanted culled. She calls me at home and asks if I can blow off school for a hunt her dad had planned. She told there would be a buggy for the dogs and the rest of us would ride. School was blown off, I show up at my grandads load a new, young and extremely stupid, but fast, horse into the trailer and like a naive city boy threw my granddads blackhawk and .44 mag model 94 into the truck.

Upon my arrival, I was admired for the horse, and derided for the guns. No fire arms allowed I was told except the one the dog guy would be carrying. "Oh-Kay? Aren't we hunting?"
 "Well yeah" relied Laurie's dad, with a smile I didn't like on his face, "the dogs catch them and then you run in stick them, try not to get bit or hurt a dog. Watch us the first couple of times" There was clearly no honorable way out at this point, but I was thinking fond thoughts of very cute girl whose dad was a nice safe rabbi. The hunt itself was a blast. Think of a redneck fox hunt. Drive till you find sign, throw the dogs out and then ride like hell after them through swamps, scrub and what have you. My only problem was that the afore mentioned horse (henceforth known as elmers) had two speeds high and off, and going at a dead run through trees with low limbs had me thrown once when he tripped over a palmetto root and a nice cut over my eye when I wasn't quick enough to duck a low hanging limb. To add insult to injury I swallowed my chew in the process and wound up puking. Again, I was given a smile I didn't like from Mr. Markel.
The dispatching of the hogs itself is not for the faint of heart. The dogs, in this case a nice mix of walkers Florida curs (and yes that is a breed, make of it what you will) and catahoula leopard dogs, will run down and corner the hog. They then try to get it by the nose, tail, leg, ass whatever. At which point our heroes race into what amounts to a snarling, snapping, squealing multi dog fight with a pissed off three hundred pound wild hog thrown into the mx and knife it.
Folks ,I have to say that my ONE experience with this taught me that when you go after a pig this way certain things happen. Victory depends on riski ng death or disfigurement or personal humiliation from falling off your horse. To dispatch your opponent you have brave a dog fight and keep sticking him in the belly unti the squealing stops. Finally everyone involved will wind up bruised, bloody and covered with mud, blood and pig shit. In short folks I learned all I needed to know about politics on a hog hunt Florida style. ;D
fightinquaker13 who now shoots his hogs like a normal person

Hazcat

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Re: Hog Hunting Florida Style
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2009, 08:46:29 pm »
FQ,

We do ours in Okeechobee at Chappys'.  http://www.okeechobee-hunting-fishing.com/

If ya know of a place I can hunt free or needs some culling, let me know!
All tipoes and misspelings are copi-righted.  Pleeze do not reuse without ritten persimmons  :D

fightingquaker13

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Re: Hog Hunting Florida Style
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2009, 08:58:12 pm »
FQ,

We do ours in Okeechobee at Chappys'.  http://www.okeechobee-hunting-fishing.com/

If ya know of a place I can hunt free or needs some culling, let me know!

The Lykes Brothers Ranch has a nice operation and so does the Bluefeild Ranch in that area but they ain't free. I don't have the contacts I used to and am limited WMAs. If you find one up there I'll bring the beer and cook.
FQ13