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  1. #1
    Expert roscott's Avatar

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    Georgia Hog Hunt Write-up

    A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough have the opportunity to hunt hogs in Georgia with some good friends and family. I drove down with my dad (clay319) and my buddy Bob (americanbob) for a 3 day hog hunt. We were near Americus, GA, and truly out in the boonies. We had the good fortune of knowing a friend of a friend with access to 800 acres of swampland down south, so we were headed to a free hunt, but with extremely few instructions. We were pretty much told to "bring guns and waterproof boots" and we'll have a great time.

    My dad and I had hunted hogs once before in Texas, but it was done with dogs and knives (THAT is an absolute hoot!) so we didn't really know what to expect. Since all of us are pretty solid gun fanatics, we did as you might expect- we brought it all. I personally brought my .44 mag Redhawk revolver, a Remington 700 AAC-SD, and a suppressed 300BLK 9" AR15 pistol. (Turns out, I was still unprepared. More on that later.) The other guys brought plenty of guns as well, the most interesting was probably americanbob's .308 FR8 frankengun, with a fixed 4x scope and bayonet to match. (Unfortunately he didn't get the chance to bayonet any hogs, but he still won the award for coolest gun.)

    Upon arrival, night had already set in, but our host asked if we wanted to go for a little walk. We obliged, and what followed was a 3 mile ruck in the dark through the swamp, blindly stumbling through the mud. (I was vividly reminded of basic training...) We did jump a group of hogs, but no one had a shot in the thick swamp. We returned to our trucks, and our host then put each of us in a tree stand near feeders, which he uses for deer hunting. We had considered that we might hunt at night, so we all mounted flashlights on our rifles accordingly. I had brought a Gen 1 night vision monocular, and one of the guys had managed to get ahold of some real Gen 3 military NODs, so we were eager to give it a try.

    30 minutes into our stand hunt, I heard a noise near the feeder. I raised up the monocular, and could just barely make out the outline of a pig rooting around the feeder. I took a deep breath and flipped on the flashlight, ready to blast away! -and discovered that my Inforce WML, while throwing a really nice bright light, barely reached the feeder 80 yards away! On the plus side, hogs seem completely unconcerned about flashlights. This one didn't so much as glance in my direction. What started then was a strange back-and-forth between the NV and the red dot, as I tried desperately to make out my target. Finally the pig moved a bit closer, and I could make out his outline in the dim light. Not a perfect shot, but pigs are considered vermin down there, and any shot is considered a good shot. I squeezed the trigger, and the 300BLK made a funny pffft noise through the suppressor. I could actually hear the thump of the round strike home, but the pig lit out into the bushes, seemingly moving at full speed.

    When I got out of the stand, I checked for blood, and did not find any, although I knew I had scored a hit. Our host later said this was fairly common, and frequently hogs won't bleed for the first 50 yards or so. No one else saw anything that night, so we called it and went to our hotel for the night, ready for an early morning.
    -End of day one-
    Quote Originally Posted by theweakerbrother View Post
    Freedom is dangerous and I prefer it that way.

  2. #2
    Expert roscott's Avatar

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    -Start of day 2-

    We woke up well before dawn, accustomed to deer hunting and hoping to be in the stands before dawn. We drove to the property, and our guide put each of us in a stand overlooking a feeder filled with corn. Apparently these feeders are periodically filled year-round, in the hopes of getting deer accustomed to coming to the area to eat. I'm not sure if Georgia allows hunters to bait during deer season, but feeding them during the off season couldn't hurt, and it certainly helped lure in the hogs for us. After a couple hours however, the hogs hadn't shown, so our host retrieved myself and my brother-in-law Nate from our stands, and we went off into the swamp. Nate was carrying a RRA 16" AR10 in .308, and I was carrying my suppressed Spike's 300BLK again.

    It was raining pretty hard, which helped mask our movement through the swamp. After just a few minutes, our host pointed out a very large black boar moving through the swamp about 200 yards off. We didn't have a shot, but we hadn't spooked him yet, so we attempted to close in. We moved in about 50 yards, and before we could get another glimpse at the big one, I spotted another black boar, still good sized, about 100 yards away. (A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, right?) I sighted in, placing the red dot on the front of the shoulder, and squeezed the trigger. Then things got really interesting. While a 110gr Barnes VOR-TX ammo is supersonic and still cracks pretty loudly, the suppressor distorts the rifle's report, making it difficult to determine where the shot comes from. The boar shrieked at the shot, and began running perpendicular to our position.

    While deer hunting requires perfect precision, hog hunting can truly turn into a run-and-gun situation. Nate heard the pig, and quickly got his .308 into action, banging away rounds at the big hog. While the report from his 16" .308 was nearly deafening, I could hear the big 168 gr rounds thumping into the hog, and I kept firing every time I could get a clear shot. When we lost sight in the thick swamp, we took off running in the direction of the pig. 100 yards deeper into the jungle, I spotted what I thought was the same pig. Apparently it was another similar sized black boar, but that didn't stop me. The 300BLK went pfft pfft pfft, and we were back in the chase. Nate put a couple rounds in as well, and we saw the hog stumble from our shots.

    I found myself in a rather comical position just after that. In my eagerness to get closer to the hog and get more rounds into it, I needed to get on the other side of a thick tangle of briars and vines. I thought by ducking and running quickly I could bust through them and head off the boar, which was only a few yards on the other side. I ducked and ran quickly, but the vines didn't bust at all. Instead, I found myself trapped, with my hat ridiculously smashed over my face, and totally unable to defend myself. I was just beginning to panic, seeing visions of the boar turning back to tear me apart while I was pathetically trapped in the jungle, when Nate called out, "We got him!"

    He wasn't a massive hog, but we sure were having a great time! Our host estimated him around 150 lbs.
    Last edited by roscott; 02-20-2018 at 23:24.
    Quote Originally Posted by theweakerbrother View Post
    Freedom is dangerous and I prefer it that way.

  3. #3
    Expert roscott's Avatar

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    That evening we went back to the stands, hoping to catch some pigs coming in to the feeders as the sun went down. We discussed who would go to which feeder, and I picked the feeder farthest to the south. That would turn out to be a good choice.

    I had been sitting for only 30 minutes or so, when a nice sow came wandering in to the feeder. The wind was not in my favor, and I saw her suddenly recoil when she picked up my scent. She continued on, albeit with much more caution. Finally she stopped, sniffing the air about 60 yards from my stand. I had read that you should take the broadside neck shot on hogs whenever possible, but since I only had a head shot, I figured I should take it before she spooked. I squeezed the trigger, and heard the round thump home. (It sounds just like the internet said it would- like someone thumping a tire with a baseball bat!) To my amazement, the sow ran off squealing into the woods! I had read that headshots could easily glance off a pig's thick skull, but I was truly surprised to see it happen in reality!

    Determined to follow up my shot before I lost the daylight, I climbed down from the stand and began tracking where the pig had run. I could see where her hooves had torn up the soft soil as she ran, but I couldn't find any blood, once again. I crept down the trail, hoping I would come upon her laying up under a bush. 200 yards down the trail, I heard exactly what I hoped to hear, the snorting of a hog. Except I could hear several of them! I rounded the corner in the trail, sighting down the rifle, but hesitated when I saw it. I had shot a sow, and she had led me back to her herd! (Do you call a group of hogs a herd? A flock? A gaggle?) Anyway, I hesitated for a moment, seeing that the pigs were all small, but remembering what a menace these animals are to the farmers in the area, I cut loose. The hogs squealed and ran in every direction, and I was suddenly standing in the middle of a shooting gallery! I ended up taking 5 out of the estimated 7, which wasn't too bad. I never did locate the larger sow that I shot, but here is a picture of one of the smaller pigs.

    Last edited by roscott; 02-20-2018 at 23:44.
    Quote Originally Posted by theweakerbrother View Post
    Freedom is dangerous and I prefer it that way.

  4. #4
    Expert roscott's Avatar

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    I returned to the stand and shot a couple more pigs that night, but did not recover any of them. By this point, my fellow hunters were texting me wildly, hearing all my shooting and accusing me of stealing all the fun. Fortunately they got into some hogs shortly afterward. Nate dropped several nice hogs with his .308 DRT, and americanbob tagged one with his 5.56 AR15. We weren't able to recover Bob's pig, and we were starting to wonder about calibers for hog hunting.

    -End of Day 2-

    -Start of Day 3-

    We spent another morning sitting in the stands. I was just starting to get impatient, wondering when the hogs would arrive, when I heard a noise behind me. I had seen a few deer use that trail earlier, so I assumed it would probably be another deer. When I turned around however, I spotted a big black and white pig moving through the trees. I didn't have a shot, but since I had decided to sit on the ground that morning, I got up and began following the pig. A few notes on stalking hogs: 1. They seem to be much easier to stalk than deer, provided the wind is in your favor. While deer use sight and sound to detect danger, pigs seem to rely primarily on scent. Being downwind is very important. 2. Even if you lose sight of them, you can generally find them again. They don't stay still when eating like deer, but rather root around, and make quite a bit of noise. If you stop and listen, you can usually hear them and resume the stalk.

    Eventually, I came close enough for a clear shot. The pig was about 100 yards away, and I started lining it up. Just as I was about to pull the trigger, I saw something dark move through the woods. Good heavens, it was Hogzilla. Our experienced host had estimated our first pig at 150 lbs, and the black and white pig was a definite size up. This new boar was easily twice the size of the black and white pig, so he was truly massive. He had a large ridge of dirty ruffled fur running over his big shoulders, and could easily be identified as a big boar. At about 100 yards, I lined up the red dot just forward of the shoulder, (I was wishing for some magnification to really place my shot precisely!) and pulled the trigger. The giant lit out straight away from me (unfortunately) right into the swamp.

    After a few minutes I rallied the troops to help me hunt for my wounded hogzilla. It was raining again, and the going was pretty soggy.

    Last edited by roscott; 02-20-2018 at 23:17.
    Quote Originally Posted by theweakerbrother View Post
    Freedom is dangerous and I prefer it that way.

  5. #5
    Expert roscott's Avatar

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    (Not sure why the above picture is sideways, but there's Bob with his FR8)

    We pushed into the swamp, and the going got thicker and thicker. Twice we jumped the monster hog, and could hear him thundering away from us. His hooves sounded like a horse running as the thundered against the ground, and once we could hear him crashing through the water ahead of us. In a way, we hoped our repeated intrusions into his personal space would antagonize him enough to charge us, and we would have one intense moment of truth, where we would discover if our hunting skills were enough to keep us out of the hospital. On the other hand, we hoped exactly that wouldn't happen.

    Either way, we eventually lost him in the swamp. Maybe that 300BLK round will be enough to end his reign. Maybe not, and he'll be waiting for us next year.

    We didn't see anymore pigs after that, but overall we had a fantastic time. It was totally unlike any hunting we had done previously, yet similar in many ways to other types of hunting. We spent the whole drive back to Indiana discussing the hunt, and came to several conclusions.

    1. 5.56 and 300BLK are just not enough gun for hogs. I personally shot 11 hogs, and only recovered hogs that were either under 50 lbs, or were also shot by a larger caliber. I know shot placement is everything, but standing on muddy roots and jump shooting hogs through the trees, it's gonna be tough to ensure a perfect shot. We all agreed that we wanted larger calibers next time, preferably in a semiautomatic format. Ironically, we all came to different conclusions. I settled on 6.5 Grendel, Bob decided on 6.8 SPC, and my dad decided on 6.5 Creedmoor in an AR10 platform. If nothing else, the hunt was certainly a good excuse to buy/build new guns!

    2. Nighttime optics are vital. Illuminated red dots or reticle scopes are a must, and flashlights need to be ridiculously bright, with an adjustable lens that can focus the light down to a central beam. Even better would be quality night vision, or thermal. I'm looking at buying a thermal hunting scope now, so feel free to chime in if you have a preferred brand/model.

    3. Hogs are tough. They are a lot tougher than deer, and require powerful calibers and/or precision shooting to drop them. Shooting in the swamp like we were, if they run much farther than 50 yards, they will likely never be recovered.

    4. Suppressors are awesome. With other kinds of hunting (deer, elk, etc) generally only one shot is required. During our hog hunt, I put lots of rounds downrange, and I would have verifiable hearing damage if I had done that without a suppressor. If you haven't written your representatives regarding suppressor legislature, please do so. They really are an incredible asset to those that hunt frequently.

    5. Shooting hogs is fun! If you have never had the opportunity, get down south and shoot some hogs! It's a great time, and the hogs really are a problem down there. Our host said a big group of hogs can wipe out 5 acres of farm crop per 24 hours. Do the math, and you'll realize that is enough to put farmers out of business. Apparently corn, soybeans, and peanuts are almost untenable crops down there now, due to the hog problem. So hunters are about the only way we can hope to manage the hog population, as they have no natural predators down there.

    Hopefully you've enjoyed reading this as much as I've enjoyed writing it!
    Last edited by roscott; 02-20-2018 at 23:41.
    Quote Originally Posted by theweakerbrother View Post
    Freedom is dangerous and I prefer it that way.

  6. #6
    Marksman Backpacker's Avatar

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    Thanks for sharing.

  7. #7
    Grandmaster Rookie's Avatar

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    Group of hogs = Sounder.

    Thermal preference - IR Hunter MK3.

  8. #8
    Grandmaster KJQ6945's Avatar

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    Very cool write up. Sounds like you guys had a blast.

  9. #9
    Expert two70's Avatar

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    Sounds like you had quite a hunt and I enjoyed the write up. A few things I noticed from your posts:

    1. A group of hogs is called a sounder.

    2. Hogs are not supernaturally tough, the problem is most people shoot them like they would a deer and that pretty much guarantees a lost hog. A low behind the shoulder shot that is nearly perfect shot on a deer is a gut shot on a hog since a hogs lungs are located farther forward and higher than a deer. A hogs anatomy is simply different and many of the artistic drawings are incorrect.

    3. A hogs brain is pretty small and the skull is pretty thick. IF and it's a big if, you are going to use head shots they are best taken from a head on position. From a broadside position, the neck shot is a much better choice with ideal placement being just behind and below the ear.

    4. Speaking of neck shots, the vital zone for a neck shot is as large as that for a chest shot and it has the added advantage of putting hogs down quickly. In the conditions you hunted, I would concentrate on making neck shots as the swamps are likely to make a difficult tracking job on even a well shot hog nearly impossible.

    5. Caliber selection does not matter nearly as much as shot placement. However, with that in mind here are some guidelines based on my research and my own experience: 1) The .223/5.56 can be effective but really needs to be restricted to either neck shots or chest shots only with high quality bullets and in open areas where tracking is possible. 2) Hogs are highly susceptible to shock, especially with neck shots, but to get the full effect impact velocity needs to be at or above 2400 fps. The .300 blackout won't make that at most reasonable range and the Grendel is borderline but on the right side of that border. 3) Magnums are not necessary and may hinder results if you can't shoot one well. Any standard round capable of pushing a tough bullet at 2800+ fps will work wonders with good shot placement. 4) A Barnes bullet like you used but light for caliber and pushed hard works wonders.

    6) Those piglets of the sized pictured, if left whole and smoked are very, very tasty!

  10. #10
    Plinker armyvet209's Avatar

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    Awesome write up! I'm determined to go this year

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