Happy 40th Birthday

 

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Sponsored by: Black Eagle Arrows

By: Brian Knightlinger
By: Brian Knightlinger

On May 10th, 2014 I turned 40 years old and my wife had planned a small gathering at a local restaurant. I received all kinds of prank gifts from my friends. There were lots of laughs shared but in the end my wife shared with me and the group that she had booked me a hog hunt at Mountain Meadow Hunting Preserve in Greeneville, West Virginia. I was very excited but I had never hunted on a preserve before and did not know what to expect. Also, I knew nothing about hunting wild hogs, but I had plenty of time to do some research since our hunt was going to take place on June 28th and 29th.

Over the next few days I spent a lot of time checking out the website for Mountain Meadow Hunting Preserve. Their website was wonderfully done with many pictures and explanations on the different kinds of hunts offered. I was really impressed with the amount of acres there were to hunt and also the large variety of animals. Of course, I focused on the hogs and wild boars but noticed and exotic animal section too. I found that on this hunt I could also hunt wild Corsican Rams and Spanish Goats. I kept that in the back of my mind and decided to call the owner and speak to him personally.

I called and spoke with Brandon White, the owner and operator of the preserve. I had many questions about the hunt and he was easily able to answer all of the questions for me. I told him that I wanted to hunt the hogs with my bow and he said that was fine. He also told me he would suggest bringing a rifle as well. He explained to me that the hogs are very smart and are not easy to hunt with a bow. While I had him on the phone, I asked him about the rams and goats. He gave me great information on both species and told me I could hunt either of them if I so chose. He answered all my questions about terrain on the preserve, the lodge and directions to his place. After talking with Brandon, I was convinced that I was going to have a great time.

Friday, June 27th arrived and 9 of us drove to Greeneville, West Virginia. On the way we stopped to eat some dinner and talk about the hunt on the next day. All of us were excited as most of us had never hunted hogs before. A few of us were after hogs with bows, some were using crossbows, some were using rifles, and others were looking to use handguns. We all had high expectations and were excited to arrive at the lodge. After a 6 hour drive, we arrived and met Brandon at the preserve. The view was amazing! Here we were in the middle of the Blue Ridge Mountains of West Virginia, surrounded by mountains on all sides and the lodge was waiting for us.

The Lodge provided a great place to relax after a hard day of hunting
The Lodge provided a great place to relax after a fun day of hunting

As we unloaded our gear and checked out our rooms, red stag and buffalo were walking outside of the lodge. What a cool sight. A pet peacock was getting ready to roost in a nearby tree and he called a few times before he reached his high perch. Once we were all unpacked, Brandon showed us the entire lodge. There were two monstrous rooms upstairs each with two beds and a master bathroom. On the main floor there was a roomy kitchen, dining area, large fireplace in the living room and a master bedroom. In the basement there were two more rooms, each with master bathrooms and a pool table. There were many impressive mounts of animals on display as well.  We decided to head outside and make use of the rocking chairs that lined the large porch in front of the lodge. Brandon said he would be ready to get us out the door in the morning to start our hunts.

In the morning we ate a hearty breakfast of fruit, breakfast sandwiches and burritos that we had brought with us.  At the preserve you have the option of bringing your own food and preparing it yourself or you can pay to have food brought to you. We all chipped in and stocked the fridge with breakfast food, fruit, steaks and Italian sausage. We had more than enough food for our stay. We all prepared for our morning hunt and waited for Brandon to arrive.

Brandon arrived and I met him at the door of the lodge. I told Brandon I was very interested in going after a Corsican Ram first thing. My buddy Mark and I rode with Brandon, in a large UTV, to an area of the preserve where he had many rams, goats and hogs. Brandon filled us in on some large animals he had in this area and we were on our way.

After walking and glassing I saw a large Corsican Ram lying in some rocks. He saw us first and decided to head out away from us. Mark and I continued stalking slowly through the wooded thicket looking for signs of hogs and other rams. We came to a clearing and saw the large Corsican Ram bedded with another ram in the center of the field. Mark and I devised a plan so I could get within bow range. Using the wind and the terrain, I was able to sneak through the woods and get on the opposite side of the field while Mark kept his eyes on the ram. As the ram kept Mark in his sight, I was able to sneak across the field, range the ram at 25 yards, and then signal to Mark to take a few steps. The ram stood up out of his bed and I was ready for the shot. My bow was the Elite E35 and I was shooting a Black Eagle Rampage arrow tipped with a Ramcat broadhead. The shot was a good one and on impact, the ram mule kicked and ran 30 yards before stopping in some rocks where he expired. Mark and I slowly crept toward my ram when I spotted a large hog feeding in the woods not far away. Mark readied his bow and slipped an arrow in to the hog. The hog did not go far and we were fired up. We called Brandon and told him we had animals down.

Author with his Corsican Ram.
Author with his Corsican Ram.

Brandon came and gathered our animals and informed us that others were having success but we were the only ones to harvest our animals with bows. I told him that I was going to look for a hog while Mark was going to look for a goat. With our goals in mind, Mark and I took off looking for some wallows where we knew we would find some hogs. Using my binoculars, I spotted a large hog using a wallow about 100 yards away. We crept quietly to within 50 yards, again using the wind and terrain to our advantage. I sent Mark around to my left and I used some trees to close the distance to 25 yards. The hog saw Mark and turned to face him. That offered me a broadside shot. My pin floated behind his large shoulder and I released another Black Eagle Rampage arrow. The arrow found its mark behind the hogs shoulder and took out his heart. The hog jumped out of the wallow and ran 20 yards before lying down for good. The hog was huge! He was over 400 pounds, with some nice tusks. I had a hard time just lifting his head for pictures.  After calling Brandon to report that I had also killed a hog, he came with a trailer and it took three of us to load Hogzilla.

This large wild hog took three to load up.
This large wild hog took three to load up.

While Mark headed off to find a good goat, I went to help another buddy find a hog. The rest of the day Vern and I spent our time creeping around the preserve in search of hogs. Everyone killed a hog and Mark located and killed a Spanish Goat with his bow.

After everyone returned to the lodge we all walked over to the processing garage where Brandon and his guide Wayne were making quick work of our animals. The processing garage had two large walk in coolers and Brandon and Wayne were easily able to process the hogs so we could load them in cooler the next morning. Our group walked back to the lodge and used the outdoor grill to cook some steaks and Italian sausage. After that we enjoyed the sights and sounds of the animals as they openly roamed the preserve.

Sponsored by: Black Eagle Arrows

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