Hunt for a Club-Footed Hog

Those of you who've been on the blog for awhile know reader Judy Black loves sharing her hunting stories. So when she told me she was taking a break from winter in Michigan to go after hogs in southern Texas, I wasn't surprised to find a field report and photos in my inbox a few weeks later. Judy shared her story with me to share with you, so here's her account of her hunt for a club-footed hog. -K.H.

 Sunday morning, I hunted a ground blind and what an awesome morning it was. At 7:00 the feeder went off and the birds flew in for breakfast. A Rio Grande turkey stood at 40 yards, and a five-point buck stood at 50. At eye level I watched the woods wake up -- a totally different view on the ground compared to the view from a tree stand. It was 27 degrees and I wore every piece of clothing I could pile on. Once the sun came up I started taking gear off. By noon, it's short sleeves and sunscreen -- now that's what I'm talking about. 

 I didn't harvest anything that first morning, but Scott [Judy's husband] took a nice hog. The games had begun and I couldn't wait for the afternoon hunt. We ate breakfast, then walked the canals on the property, where we saw 26 javelina, 7 quail, 2 coyotes and countless deer.

 That evening I hunted from a box blind, and the wind was perfect. I sat down and a hog came in like it was on a string. I got my bow and hooked my release on the string, but a chill hit the back of my neck as the wind shifted, and with a grunt the hog was gone. Just before dark a large boar came in then moved off again, growling at me all the while. 

 Monday morning I got dropped off at a ladder stand. Two deer moved in, then a big black hog stood behind some brush. As he moved closer I drew my Mathews. Between the cold and the close quarters I strained -- finally it broke and the hog stood facing me. I held forever but he just would not move for a broadside shot. He ran off into the brush and I was able to let off my bow. Around 7:00 the hog came back out and I drew. He turned, a perfect quarting away shot and I let my arrow fly. Smack as my Muzzy made impact. He turned, ran and disappeared. I saw the brush moving as he crashed deep into it and then there was dead silence. I called Rob [the outfitter owner], and told him I was pretty sure where the hog lay. 

 At 9:00, my "retrievers" came to help, but there was no sign right away and that's always disheartening. I never truly celebrate until I have my hands on the animal. We went to where I saw the brush last move. No hog and no sign. Scott and Rob arrived, and soon Scott yelled, "I got it!" I did a war whoop and pushed my way through the brush. It was a good shot and the Muzzy did its job on his vitals. He'd probably gone 75 yards from where I'd made the shot.

When that hog had come in earlier, I'd noticed it was limping. Now we saw that it had almost a club foot. Anyway, I harvested a good size boar and was so excited as he had pretty good cutters. I thought I'd beat the one Scott had harvested the night before, but little did I know he had another boar in the pick up with very large cutters on it.

 The whole week was in the mid to upper 90's. At night we had campfires and sat reliving the day's hunt, and pointing out constellations in the sky. Every day we hunted morning and afternoon and every time we were covered up in hogs and wildlife. Scott harvested his hog per day limit, and I harvested two. Even though you could take sows, I felt they were seed for next year's hunt. We brought home a small portion of meat, but it's hard when you're flying. We could buy a pig at home for what it would cost to overnight meat. What the ranch hands don't want for their families, a nearby orphanage would take. No waste at all. Heck, I killed a squirrel and they cleaned it to eat. 

 Hogs are not easy to hunt. Most people can't get through the tunnels they make in the brush. But Scott being as thin as he is crawls through and has his hogs by the road when he gets picked up. I laugh because I look in the tunnel and think I'd get as far as my hips and get stuck! That's what the guides and outfitters are for -- or Scott! Happy hunting everyone! -Judy Black