My Hawg Wild Ranch experience 11/17/2011

BigDanSBigDanS Senior MemberPosts: 6,788 Senior Member
Results… and the story.
We drove 150 miles north to camp from Miami and arrived about 1:30 pm. After sorting out our beds and sleeping arrangements and unpacking, we were briefed by our guide Brian Kelley, an affable and chatty local guy, who knew his land and animals. We were on 27,000 acres of managed property full of game, covered in trails and scrub palmetto, and it had a bunch of tree stands and blinds setup. We were told to be in the stands by 4 pm, so we gathered ourselves and were seated and ready by 3:45, knowing that hard darkness was about 6:15 pm.

Our guide discussed choice of weapons with us, and he told us he carried a .300 win mag with him because when he shot something he didn't want it to run off into the scrub, he wanted it dead right there. I had brought my 30 06, my SKS and my Glock 20, while my two buds had brought a Marlin 30 30 and a Weatherby Vanguard 30 06. Brian indicated that most tree stand shots would be under 75 yards. We also had three other hunters joining the group later. Although I felt like I might be under gunned, I took my SKS and my Glock 20 as a side arm, loaded with Winchester Sliver tips.

I had a field of view around my stand about 80 yards, with three clear lanes and two obscured, sitting in tall pines all around and a large pond off in the distance about 200 yards surrounded by palmetto scrub. There was a feeder about 30 yards to my two o’clock. I settled in with my back pack and SKS, loaded with five 123 gr Sellier and Bellot soft points.

Immediately after I was dropped off a raccoon popped out and was eating corn right under the feeder. Even though the little raccoon guys are bold eaters, I took it as a good sign that the pigs in the area might consider the area safer. There was a light breeze and the temps were in the high 70’s. Sitting there in my field camo I was hot, but not too uncomfortable.

The raccoon was eating for about half an hour and finally was either full or scared off, I wasn’t sure, but it was very quiet, with nothing but the sounds of bugs whizzing by and the occasional tree creaking. I was wearing my Peltor Tactical 6-5 electronic ear muffs turned up to high and I could hear almost perfectly. I fiddled with my eye protection, and went from grey to yellow lenses and just decided to go with clear because the light was muted in the shade.

It had started out bright and sunny, but became overcast and that took the edge off the heat. More importantly, we were told that the pigs came out earlier when it was cloudy or even rainy because they were mostly nocturnal.

I had been in the stand for just an hour when I heard something crashing through the brush off to my left about 100 yards out to my seven o’clock. In a partially obscured lane I watched what looked like three or four small shapes move through slowly. Since the feeder was off to my right I figured they would circle around. I took my SKS off safe and prepared for taking a shot.

They were moving slowly for what seemed like forever, but in five minutes they came past the shooting lane opening at my eleven o’clock but did not present a real shot. The main shooting lane was at my three o’clock, and a couple minutes later they started to turn the corner on that lane, heading towards the feeder.

I counted five of them. I quickly identified three males and the largest of the group was a spotted sow that I focused on and I didn’t try to sex the fifth. I had my gun at the ready and figured they were about 50 yards away, all about 60 to 80 pounds. Not big, but very good eating sized, so I commit to attempting to take one.

Suddenly, one of the boars starts a brief skirmish with another. It’s brief but intense and as I had my gun at the ready I was startled and surprised by it. Now I am worried they are going to spook and run. I wanted a closer shot because I am using my Tech sights TS200 rear and Williams Fire sight front. I had been shooting three inch groups in practice at 50 yards and I wanted a clean kill. I line up on the sow and I am surprised how small the target appears, but I determine a center mass hit will be best.

She turns her right side to me slightly quartered and count to three, take a deep breath and squeeze off the shot. Immediately she jumps and the group scatters into palmetto scrub behind them. Not a squeal, not a grunt, just off. I guess I missed high and sit in the stand. It’s 4:50 pm. Already it’s clear to me that I should have waited for them to get closer, and that it would be my last chance that night of getting off a shot. I hear five or six shots from my bud’s in the distance, and I sit there a bit disappointed with myself for the next two hours.

Darkness comes at 6:30 and Brian doesn’t make it back till 7 pm. It was too dark to really sight anything from about 5:50 pm, so I got out my 180 lumen G3 light and start to look around. Around 6:30 pm at 50 yards there is a 50 lb boar feeding in the lane at the end. As skittish as I am told they are, I figure he would dash, but he just stood there and fed. It is not legal to use a light and a gun to take pigs in Florida. I tried using my light and my SKS but I could not line up a shot. I decided to pull my G20 with night sights and practice lining up the sights while holding the light out in my left. I had a really clear shot picture, but at 50 yards, even with the 10mm, and a light, plus it’s just not legal, I put everything away.

Brian shows up at 7:00 pm in the mule to take me back with my other two buds and they have three pigs in the back. I tell my story and I pace off where I took the shot. It turns out to be 60 – 65 yards, and we find a one inch by three inch blood spot, bright red in our lights. It’s 20 yards to the scrub they ran into and not another blood sign. Brian explains to us that the hog hair is so thick that sometimes it takes a bit for blood to trail out.

The scrub palmetto is thick, and the four of us get into it looking for a blood trail. After about 5 minutes we find it, and trail a large set of blood spots about 25 yards through the scrub to the next opening, and there she is, about 60 – 70 pounds, done. My shot entered just behind the right shoulder and exited mid, left side, with about a 1 inch exit wound.

That night there were six hunters and we took a 120 lb boar, my 60 lb sow and two 30 lb piggies. It was a fun hunt, and I can recommend Hawg Wild Ranch and Brian Kelley.


D
"A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:

Replies

  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,243 Senior Member
    Pics.

    Good write up Dan. Glad you had a good time and tagged one.
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,788 Senior Member
    Best I can do will be pics from the stand, and bags of processed meat... as part of our guide's services, he took our kills, and dressed them out into hams shoulders and backstraps. It was SERIOUSLY easy.

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • Ernie BishopErnie Bishop Senior Member Posts: 6,978 Senior Member
    Congrats on your hawg
    Ernie

    "The Un-Tactical"
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,788 Senior Member
    The lane off to my six o'clock. Notice the firesight front on the SKS.



    The main shooting lane at my three o'clock. The feeder is about 30 yards. I took my sow at the end of this lane just past the scrub.



    The lanes at eleven o'clock and three o'clock with my pack in the foreground



    My raccoon friend eating... I had to stop taking pictures because the camera made a "bong" sound when it loaded up and I couldn't find where to turn it off.



    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • NNNN Senior Member Posts: 23,887 Senior Member
    Nice hunting story, congrats.
    A Veteran is someone that served in the Military, it does not matter where they served.
  • BuffcoBuffco Senior Member Posts: 6,243 Senior Member
    Now THAT looks familiar. With all the photos of far-away places posted here (Colorado, Texas) it's nice to see some southeast lowland palmetto scrubs being represented. :tooth:
  • LinefinderLinefinder Moderator Posts: 4,422 Senior Member
    Buffco wrote: »
    Now THAT looks familiar. With all the photos of far-away places posted here (Colorado, Texas) it's nice to see some southeast lowland palmetto scrubs being represented. :tooth:

    Colorado's not that far. In fact, it's right here under my feet.

    Mike
    Decisions have consequences, not everything in life gets an automatic mulligan.
    KSU Firefighter
  • orchidmanorchidman Senior Member Posts: 7,697 Senior Member
    Cool story. Congratulations on a successful hunt Dan.

    I love that scenery.
    Pardon my ignorance but is that natural undergrowth for that area. Reason I ask is a friend of mine landscaped his whole section ( 2 1/2 acres) like that about 20yrs ago but the NZ bush/weeds took it over in very short time and he lost his enthusiasm about the same time his wife walked out....( she was the one that wanted it and used to nag him something terrible every weekend about doing the gardening- it cost him an arm and a leg to do it)

    Alec.
    Still enjoying the trip of a lifetime and making the best of what I have.....
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,046 Senior Member
    I'm not Dan, but...

    That is natural undergrowth. It's called "saw palmetto." So named because the stems have saw teeth along them.
    87674820_XS.jpg?h=468&w=646&keep_ratio=1

    It grows in pretty thick clumps and makes movement tough. It also tends to have palmetto worms associated with it. Other folks call them Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnakes.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 21,802 Senior Member
    Yep Bream, I've seen that stuff all the way down here in the river bottom. It's not near as thick as over your way YET! But our worms are called Salt Grass Worms because we have a lot more salt grass than that stuff.

    Edited to Add: Salt Grass is home to rats and rabbits and rattle snakes love both. The problem is you can't see the snakes til you step on one and That ain't good.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
  • woodsrunnerwoodsrunner Senior Member Posts: 2,725 Senior Member
    Two species of it, Alec. It's native and can get so thick that you have extreme difficulty getting through it. The snakes really won't bother you if you'll leave 'em alone. What WILL hurt you is a ground nesting vesper called YELLOWJACKETS:angry:. Get tangled up in palmetto on a hot day in July and accidently step into a yellowjacket nest and you'll find out what "hurt-locker" means! Just ask Linefinder.....I guarantee you that in his survey work he's stepped into a yellowjacket nest more than once! Right Linefinder?
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,788 Senior Member
    Fortunately for us, those scrub palmetto in the above pictures are NOT saw palmetto. I have a species like saw palmetto in my yard on four stands of palms, about 30 trees and it is the worst stuff to deal with, gloves only.

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • Diver43Diver43 Senior Member Posts: 8,525 Senior Member
    Great read Dan. Congratulations on your first pig.
    That area looks a whole lot like Chappys in Moore Haven.
    Logistics cannot win a war, but its absence or inadequacy can cause defeat. FM100-5
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,046 Senior Member
    BigDanS wrote: »
    Fortunately for us, those scrub palmetto in the above pictures are NOT saw palmetto. I have a species like saw palmetto in my yard on four stands of palms, about 30 trees and it is the worst stuff to deal with, gloves only.

    D

    very luckily. A bit north of you, that would be saw palmetto, and you really don't want to go through that stuff.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • bisleybisley Senior Member Posts: 10,549 Senior Member
    Good report and a very interesting looking area. Congratulations on making your shot and putting meat on the table.

    I guess I'll have to wait to find out how well a G20 works on hogs.
  • cowdencmcowdencm New Member Posts: 1 New Member
    i was going to go there in feb they good on prices and do theyfeed youor what
  • Dr. dbDr. db Senior Member Posts: 1,541 Senior Member
    Two things
    1. Saw palmetto, yellow jackets, rattlers all reasons I prefer Colorado to Texas where I grew up. BTW you forgot the copperheads and cottonmouths.
    2. Given the feral hog problem it would seem that some regulations about spotlight hunting should be relaxed.
  • breamfisherbreamfisher Senior Member Posts: 13,046 Senior Member
    Dunno who you're talking to, but there's no copperheads in peninsular FL. Also, spotlight hunting creates a bit of an enforcement issue regarding poaching deer.
    Overkill is underrated.
  • BigDanSBigDanS Senior Member Posts: 6,788 Senior Member
    Their accomodations are a doublewide trailer that can sleep up to eight, but four comfortably. Bring your own food. They supply overnight bedding, linens, towels and TP... you bring the rest and clean up after yourself. $40 per night per person.

    D
    "A patriot is mocked, scorned and hated; yet when his cause succeeds, all men will join him, for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." Mark Twain
    Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.... now who's bringing the hot wings? :jester:
  • snake284snake284 Senior Member Posts: 21,802 Senior Member
    Dunno who you're talking to, but there's no copperheads in peninsular FL. Also, spotlight hunting creates a bit of an enforcement issue regarding poaching deer.

    Bream, I'm not positive about how it is nowadays, but in years past if you called the local game warden and informed him what you were going to be doing he would leave you alone. He may check you out after your hunt to insure you were on the up and up, but he won't screw up your hunt or bust you. They want you to kill hogs and certain varmints so I think this still applys.
    Daddy, what's an enabler?
    Son that's somebody with nothing to do with his time but keep me in trouble with mom.
Sign In or Register to comment.
Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Guns & Ammo stories delivered right to your inbox every week.