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I've always said that God had arrows in mind when he created Florida Hogs…and I'm sticking to my story. Like a pleasant reoccurring winter dream I found myself at treestand level with a bow in hand next to a buggy swamp. The view was like peering through a gray veil into paradise, a bowhunter paradise. Lacy stalactites of Spanish moss hung all around me and just to the north was the corn feeder.
You might think that it is a dirty trick to shoot hogs over a feeder but I differ. These are hogs and considered vermin by the farmers. I believe it's OK to hunt these porkers in any fashion you find appealing. I do enjoy spot and stalk on these critters but today it's over a feeder.
My new friend, Butch Mullet invited Bruce Ryan and I to help him take the wind out of a few of these vermin as they were raining havoc on his newly planted orange trees. Butch knows bowhunting and had just returned from what he described as an arrow-fest at a ranch in Mexico. For a two day hog hunt you really need an experienced guy like Butch to set you up at the right spot to intercept these black swamp oinkers.
New Gear to Field Test
I'm always checking out new gear for companies and this trip had me looking like I had just walked out of Cabelas. I had not taken an animal yet with my new Bear Code and I was using a really neat new bowsight made by a couple of engineers from Michigan.
I really appreciate new stuff when it solves a real problem and the unique TRIAD Bowsight by Kingsway Archery did just that. It has both a front and rear sight ring and you align the two pins in the back with a single pin in the front. Actually it reminds me of the fiber optic sight on my Mossberg 835 Ulti-Mag turkey gun. It is comprised of two incredibly bright green fiber optic dots in the back and one in the front and it aims just like my shotgun.
The Kingsway Triad sight is your ticket to go "Peepless".
The best thing about this system is that I got to cut my peep sight off of the string and throw it away. I wish I could have all the bucks that that peep cost me. Unless something is different where you live, whitetail bucks seem to move at last light and usually just when I can't see through my peep. For this bowhunter, those days are over.
Here is something you need to know about hogs. They have an amazing nose. About 15 years ago I made 2 Quest Production Group hog hunting videos and got to work with an official "Hogologist". He was a Univ. of Georgia grad and had a P.H.D. in feral hogs! Man was he interesting to talk to. He taught me that Florida Hogs could be traced back to accidental releases by the earliest Spanish explorers who landed in Florida in the 1500's. Without barbed wire or metal fencing they got loose and multiplied. The rest is history.
Then he told me about their ability to smell humans. They rival whitetail deer when it comes to their olfactory ability. What makes them especially tough to get close to is that they travel in herds of 6-16 with each one sniffing full time for trouble.
Hi-Tech Scent Solutions
This trip I was also trying out a high tech line of base layers made by an American company called Longworth Industries. Their base layer is called XGO. This Hi-tech fabric wicks 400% better than their nearest competitor but it also has 3 layers of anti-microbial at work at the same time. Two layers of permanent anti-microbials are applied to the fibers when it is manufactured and then another cutting edge anti-microbial is woven in. This final anti-microbial strategy is a system that uses spider web diameter silver thread that is woven into the fibers. I recently saw these silver fibers under a microscope and they are amazing. Silver is a potent mechanical antimicrobial.
It works like this. When you sweat and the base layer in contact with your skin sucks the odor laden sweat away from your body and into the fabric. When the wicking power pulls moisture away from your body it spreads the moisture out among the anti-microbial layers where the odor is zapped. The result is no human odor. I was sold on the principal so I was wearing a top and bottom printed in Realtree camo.
The hogs came in at dusk. They reminded me of 12 grunting black bowling balls rolling down a gutter as they poured directly out of the swamp. I think they knew about my corn feeder.
The hogs came in at dusk. They reminded me of 12 grunting black bowling balls rolling down a gutter as they poured directly out of the swamp. I think they knew about my corn feeder. It was evening and still. The Spanish moss sometimes acts as a wind checker but tonight it was portrait still. As the sun set I noticed that the thermals were dropping like wind sheer at Chicago's O'Hara, straight down.
Florida evenings in winter are a lot like a desert evening. It cools down fast and dense cool air drops. I thought that I would be busted before they settled down. With a dozen hogs swarming around on the sandy leaf covered ground below me it looked hopeless, but no! They didn't smell me and they were there for nearly ten minutes before I had one at 20 and broadside.
A good eater turned and gave me the shot I wanted. But it was about 10 minutes past peep sight time. Today that wasn't going to be an issue as I was "goin' peepless". My new Triad sight lined up on his black shoulder and the arrow went where I had hoped.
Another orange tree saved!
Because Florida has some nasty rattlers that live in those palmettos I prefer to do my tracking in the morning and after just a 50 yard track I had my porker. Which goes to prove my point…"God had arrows in mind when he created Florida Hogs".
My new friend, Butch Mullet invited Bruce Ryan and I to help him take the wind out of a few of these vermin as they were raining havoc on his newly planted orange trees.