Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Game of Swine

Facing the day did not sound appealing when my alarm went off in the wee hours of the morning Sunday. My body wanted to rest some more and I was OK with that. Suddenly, a thought raced through my mind...pigs were out there and it was time to hunt. Two cups of coffee and a slap to the face later, I packed the car as my friend and Strother Archery rep, Dave Diekmann, pulled up. It was go time!

Early morning hiking is the best. It's quiet and peaceful. It also means that if you are like me, you drank two cups of coffee before you left and a bottle of water in the car, so you need to relieve yourself. Dave joked that we should be ready because you always see animals when you take a leak. Turns out we both should have heeded that advice! I no sooner zipped up and walked back toward the trail when I saw them. PIGS! Dave's eyes were the size of saucers and I am sure mine were huge, too!

We were 50 yards from the open field and there were pigs running right by the opening. One, two, three,...four, five, six... and then nothing. I had an arrow nocked and ready, but there was no movement. We inched closer and closer to the opening in hopes of seeing a straggler. We didn't, so we went on the offensive. We knew they went into some thick brush, so we devised a plan to circle around them and try to cut them off. They were long gone.

Nothing like excitement like that to get your heart racing!! I have been to the particular chunk of public land many times in the past few months and have not seen a pig. I have plenty of trail cam footage, but this was a first. Knowing the pigs moved on to posted property, we headed in to the spot we'd be hunting. Dave set up on the ground and I up in a stand. We sprayed down with scent killing spray and got ready.

For two hours we sat and waited. Birds were chattering and flying all over. It was a beautiful day, but nothing was moving. We had some rain in the three weeks since I was here last and the vegetation was growing rapidly. Some spots were completely covered in greenery whereas they were dirt three weeks prior. It's is truly amazing how fast plants can grow with a bit of moisture. 

Dave is hunkered down in the upper right.

I continued to admire the landscape, the birds, and the far off open field when I saw the coyote. Nose to the ground, he was walking the opposite edge of the field at about 250 yards. I motioned to Dave that a coyote was across the way and to be ready. I figured I give the yote a few squeeks and distress calls to see what he'd do. His head came up, ears perked, and began running toward my stand! He was on a mission and so was I. I motioned to Dave and then got my bow in hand. We waited for a few minutes and didn't see the song dog. I knew he was around, so I stayed still. A few minutes later there he was! Ten yards from me behind a bush. I drew my bow and locked onto me. Busted! As I settled my pin he bolted away from me staying behind a tree. What an encounter!

The red circle is where the coyote stopped when he spotted me.

As things settled back down, I kept a watchful eye to see if anything would appear below the stand. About a half hour later, I saw a lone, dark shape moving exactly where the coyote had been across the field. Even without binoculars I could see the massive body, sagging belly and gait. This was the lone boar I had video of and had been hunting and he was on the move. Seeing as I was up in the treestand, I knew we needed to move fast. I called down to Dave and explained what I had seen. I directed him to the field and told him that he would have the best chance to get out there quickly and to head out to cut the boar off. He took off and I waited in the tree to see if I could see the boar moving. I couldn't see Dave, but waited ten minutes for him to get in front of the boar and I climbed down.

After texting Dave that I was coming out, I walked into the open field and caught movement to my immediate left. Not 75 yards away was that coyote! He matched my steps as I walked out and when I stopped, he stopped. Figuring this would be a great opportunity, I began to walk towards him. Immediately he turned and walked away from me, constantly looking over his shoulder. Then he did something fascinating! He positioned himself between two low-lying saplings and peered at me from between them. As I got closer, he moved to a single low sapling and stopped. So did I. I ranged the tree at 50 yards, but he seemed further and I estimated 52 yards. I drew, anchored, and released only to watch him run back into the woods. the shot felt great and I couldn't figure out what happened. As I walked to where he was, there was my arrow buried in the dirt. The coyote had been at 55 yards and what I had ranged was the small shrub right in front of the sapling. Bummer!! That was exciting and had I ranged it right, there would be a dead song dog.

After a quick text to Dave telling him to stay put, I circled around to where I last saw the boar. Cautiously, with a bit of adrenaline pumping, I slowly walked into the brush looking for a dark mass. Sadly, I could not find him and met up with Dave and he said he hadn't seen anything come out. We knew the beast was in the thick stuff and we needed to find him before he ventured onto private property. Unfortunately, Dave and I had prior obligations and had only a half hour left to hunt. We quickly devised a plan to go in after him and set up, but the half hour disappeared with no sightings.

Our hike out was full of us recalling the events of the morning, plans for a future hunt, and how we would approach it next time. It was a thrilling day and I was stoked to be able to hunt it with Dave. You see, Dave has hunted a lot, but not often with a bow and even though he didn't get to draw back, I am sure he can't wait to get back out there. I know I am eager to get back after that big boar and to get another shot at that coyote.


  1. Only time will tell. You know they're there. You have to make the time to get them while the getting is good.

    Enjoying the story as it unfolds, though... keep at it!

    1. You are so right, Phillip. I need to get in there and get after them. I have one more date in mind before it gets super hot. Can't wait to finally stick something out there!

  2. I am so anticipating that hero shot with you and the boar!