It’s good to have friends and even better when those friends let you hunt on their land…for free.
We picked this last weekend for a hunt a few months ago before the current heatwave hit. In fact, at the time we picked the dates we were having unseasonably mild weather and temperatures. This weekend was brutally hot, even by Texas standards but the heat didn’t seem to be affecting the hogs at all. Based on the pictures from the game cameras, they were appearing pretty much every night between 11:30 and 1:30 so we were pretty excited despite the triple digit temperatures. I arrived around 10:00 Saturday morning to get set up. By noon I was done in.
There was still plenty to do but triple digit temperatures, manual labor and my old body don’t cooperate for too long at a stretch. I did have the most important stuff done including setting up my blind.
My buddy has a wooden blind set up near his feeder but for a number of reasons I’m limited to a cheap little pop-up I picked up on sale a few years ago. It’s light and easy to set up and move around and…well, it’s paid for at a time when we’re trying to save money. On the downside, being at ground level means I have to be pretty close to the feeder to get a clear shot. It also offers almost no protection from anything other than the sun and wind. The open bottom and thin fabric means that just about any critter that decides to come in for a visit…can.
Central Texas is home to plenty of critters that I’d really rather not come in for a visit. Armadillos carry diseases but generally won’t hurt you. Skunks are more unpleasant still but what really concerns me are the scorpions, rattlesnakes and spiders that thrive in that part of Texas. Pigs too can be a danger.
A few years ago, I shot a sow at around 85 yards. She turned and charged the stand I was hunting from tearing through the camo netting around the base before dropping another twenty or thirty yards behind me. Had I been in a pop-up…anyway, I try not to think about that even though that incident replays in my head every time I climb into a pop-up, especially one that is only about thirty yards from the feeder.
None of which prevented me from heading out just before sunset nor did it diminish my excitement. In fact, the nervousness about critters helped to keep me alert and awake. The second full moon of the month (blue moon) helped out as well. It was so big and bright that I didn’t need to use a light to see what was around me. The light was maybe a little dim for reading but outside of that I was good to go. Had the pigs decided to show up I would probably have been able to take a shot without any additional light. That could be why they decided not to show up…
From 8:30 PM on Saturday night until around 2:30 AM Sunday morning I saw nothing bigger than a mouse (told you critters could join me in that blind) and, to be honest, I dozed off. About an hour later I woke up to the unmistakable sounds of pigs at a buffet.; the crunching of the corn mixed with intermittent grunts, squeals and snorts. Hearing them that close while fighting off the disorientation of being pulled out of a deep sleep was VERY “exciting,” I have to say. Oh, and, to make it worse, the lights were off. The moon was behind some clouds that had rolled in and instead of near daylight it was pitch black.
Between the excitement, the darkness and trying to shake off the fuzziness of waking up I screwed up. Reaching for my rifle I moved to quickly and dropped the binoculars. They banged on every noisy bit of anything on the way down and then my rifle banged on it all again on the way up. That was all it took the hogs were off at a dead run.
Once I was sure they were running away from me and not towards me, I could breath again. At that point, I am quite sure that I uttered a few choice phrases that I am fairly ashamed of and somewhat proud of as well.
I didn’t add any meat to the freezer but it was still a good trip. I learned a lot. We were able to get quite a bit accomplished and I was able to spend some time out away from the city. I got to hear “the world wake up” while watching this sunrise: