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  1. #1
    Expert roscott's Avatar

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    Georgia Hog Hunt Round 2 Write-Up (Finally!)

    Hey guys, finally getting around to posting about our terrific experience hog hunting in Georgia! This was our second time headed down to a property near Americus, GA, with open access to about 800 acres of woodlands and swamp. The property is hunt leased by our buddy Mike, but he only cares about the deer hunting, and is more than happy to have us thinning the feral hog population. Here goes, and hope you enjoy reading!

    Day 1

    We got up early and drove down on Wednesday. The trucks were loaded down with all our gear, and we added quite a bit since last year. Since this was all learn-as-you-go hunting, we had made some significant changes to our gear since last year. Most notably, almost every hunter was now carrying a 6.5 Grendel of some sort. Last year the 5.56 and 300BLK rifles did not perform well on bigger hogs, and while .308 performed great, heavy AR10's got REALLY heavy after a day of trudging around in the swamps. Our rifles were primarily:
    12.5" 6.5 Grendel AR Pistol with Sig suppressor, 2-7x33 Leupold., PVS 14 and laser for nighttime.
    16" 6.5 Grendel AR Rifle with Aimpoint for daytime, and Sightmark Photon NV for nighttime.
    16" 6.5 Grendel AR Rifle with 3-9x40 Vortex for daytime, Pulsar Thermal for nighttime.
    16" 308 AR10 with 1-8x24 Vortex and a flashlight for nighttime.

    I'll cheat ahead and say that we were immensely pleased with the Grendel caliber, but our optics setups still need some tweaking. More on that later.

    Nate and his dad Jeff arrived first Wednesday evening, and set out some sweet corn mixture that Nate had concocted for the pigs. For night hunting, we would primarily be using deer stands set along old logging trails cut in the woods, and we placed the corn about 75 yards away from these stands, on the roads. They often bait for deer (legal down there) in the same places, so the pigs were somewhat accustomed to stealing food from the deer feeders there. My dad and I arrived, and we all selected stands for the night. We didn't have much time to really get the lay of the land, as the sun was setting and we wanted to get to our stands before dark. Everyone selected a spot, and we set out.

    I had been waffling on how to setup my rifle for hunting at night. My wife bought me a Flir handheld thermal monocular (~$500) for Christmas. This provided pretty poor resolution, but really good heat signature location out to about 200 yards. For shooting, I had a head mounted PVS 14, with a laser on my rifle, which I thought would be a fair setup for reasonably close range woods hunting. My setup was not ideal.

    About an hour in, I heard a couple smaller hogs in the brush over my right shoulder. Eventually, I spotted some heat signatures in the thermal, while holding it up to my left eye. Through my right eye, I scanned with my night vision, mounted to my head on a Crye Precision Nightcap. (Very comfortable, by the way.) Unfortunately, while I could catch glimpses of heat through the bushes with the thermal, the NV really couldn't penetrate the brush at all. The nearest leaves would show up very brightly, making it impossible to see past them into the woods, and shining an IR flashlight only made things worse.

    Frustrated, I finally dug out my very bright flashlight and shone it into the woods toward the sound. While white light doesn't seem to really spook hogs, moving it around seems to give away your position and they will avoid your area, which is exactly what happened. At this point, I was pretty irritated that my high-speed setup wasn't panning out, and I was getting sloppy as a result. Thermal, flashlights, and night vision all banged together as I desperately tried to spot the hogs, and between the racket and the lights, I spooked them.

    While I felt like a moron, I was still about to get lucky. Another much larger boar came in to the corn shortly after, and he was determined to eat it all no matter how badly I messed up. I spotted him about 100 yards out with the thermal, chowing down on the trail. Unfortunately a branch hung over the trail and once again unable to see past it with the NV, I took it off entirely. I tried the flashlight, but just couldn't make him out that far away through the brush. Finally I dialed my 2-7x33 Leupold all the way up, and found that if I held the flashlight just right with my left hand, I could see the boar's outline through the scope. From there, it was only a matter of aligning the stars to get everything just right, but I finally got a clear broadside view, put it just under his ear, and squeezed the trigger!

    He dropped on the spot, but kicked around enough for me to give him an insurance shot as I walked up. We didn't weigh any of the pigs, and while this one was no monster he was full-sized. Maybe 150 lbs.

    I was the only one fortunate enough to have seen anything besides deer and raccoons that evening, so around midnight we decided to call it a night. We drove to our hotel in town, ready to wake up and get after them the next day!

    End of Day 1.
    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.

    Last year we did not particularly have much luck hunting early mornings, and since we planned to hunt late each night, we were pretty casual each morning. Breakfast at the hotel, and out to hunt around 9am.

    During the day, we hunted by jump shooting. We would stalk (fumble?) through the swamp and jungle, hoping to get some clear shots whenever we jumped a sounder. This method of hunting worked fairly well last year and again this year. On our first foray we started out with all four shooters, but due to all the noise we made, my dad and I separated, electing to head south toward the swamp and muddier terrain. Last year we had the good fortune to have rain most of the trip, which made stalking easier. This year lots of the terrain was dry and crunchy. I was really hoping that my dad would get to shoot some hogs, as the previous year despite our group shooting about a dozen pigs, he had not even seen one!

    About an hour later, our stalk was rewarded. We heard a rustle in the brush ahead, and about 50 yards away a sounder jumped up! They ran perpendicular to us, and we both cut loose. My first shot was off, but my second went through the lungs of the large black sow, although she didn't even seem to notice. I was about to squeeze off another round, when my dad put a perfect shot into the pig, somehow making it frontflip forward into a pool of water. It was spectacular. Two medium sized pigs ran toward me, and with my scope on 3 power, I struggled to line them up. I fired a couple times without effect, before they made it into the heavy brush.

    My dad and I laughed at his spectacular kill and walked over to his hog. It was a nice full sized sow.

    I leaned my rifle against a nearby tree, and we began discussing what to do with the sow. We had left my boar from the night before, as big boar meat is generally no good, but this sow looked pretty tasty. We were several miles through the swamp from the trucks, and finally decided to cut out the tenderloins and just carry those back. I was looking forward to playing spectator and just watching the show, but suddenly heard a sound! I motioned for him to be silent and grabbed my rifle.

    Despite all our talking, those two medium sized pigs from earlier had circled all the way around and were coming back! I leaned against a tree as they came into view, and they stopped abruptly around 40 yards, likely having winded us. I put a round into the first pig, and as the second wheeled and ran I put a round into its rump. It stumbled and I got another round further forward, and it was all quiet again. You can imagine our surprise! Suddenly our already successful afternoon had become immensely successful, with three pigs all piled up!

    We decided to carry both smaller pigs out whole after gutting them. We lashed them onto a pole using the cord from my compass lanyard, and looked about like the pictures you see from the old African hunting expeditions!

    We were laughing and talking about what a great adventure this was for about the first half mile. After that, it was a pretty dang brutal trip. It took over two hours of stumbling through the swamp, tripping over roots, nearly losing our boots in the deep mud, and breaking our first pig-pole in half. Finally our epic trudge was complete, but the work wasn't done. The temperature was around 60, and we needed to get them skinned, chopped, and on ice.

    We found a suitable tree in the shade to hang the pigs from, and set to processing them. (Sorry the pic is sideways.) They were probably 40ish pound hogs before gutting, so we estimated that our pig pole weighed 60+ pounds, and we eventually ended up with about 35 pounds of meat. We did not keep the ribs, as there wasn't much meat on them.

    Finishing up processing these two pigs took most of the evening, and we were beat. We were the only ones to run into hogs that day, so after a few hours of night hunting without seeing much, we called it a day, and slept great.

    End of day 2.
    Quote Originally Posted by theweakerbrother View Post
    Freedom is dangerous and I prefer it that way.

  3. #3
    Grandmaster KJQ6945's Avatar

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    Sounding like a great trip. Can't wait to hear the rest.

  4. #4
    Expert roscott's Avatar

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    Start of Day 3 (Friday).

    Friday we slept in a little bit, resting up from our exertion the day prior. After grabbing some more ice for the cooler, we headed back out. Jeff decided to hunt up in the pine forest, while Nate, my dad and myself went back into the swamp where we had jumped the sounder the previous day. The footing was tough down there, but it was proven hog territory. We spent all morning stomping around without seeing anything, but later that afternoon we had some real success in the palm fronds down by the river.

    We were pushing through in a loose line, with Nate on my right and my dad on my left. Suddenly there was the signature crashing noise of a sounder jumping up, and pigs went everywhere. I fired at a pig with a brown face, but knew the shot was high. Then that pig was gone, and all I could hear was Nate firing and yelling. I leapt over a log and saw little pigs scattering everywhere. We felt bad to shoot such little pigs, but knew that they could easily survive even without their mother, so we cut loose. Little pigs are actually pretty tough to shoot, as they zig zag back and forth, but you definitely knew when you hit them. The 6.5mm rounds were like artillery rounds to those little pigs.

    Here's Nate pictured with the big sow and one of the little piglets. I didn't really take pictures of most of the little pigs, as it was a bit grisly. When the dust settled, Nate and I had taken 8 pigs all at once, including the big sow in the sounder. I didn't think my dad had fired, and I saw him through the woods pushing to the left. I assumed he was off after one of the other hogs, and we were so busy chasing down all the piglets that we didn't give it much thought.

    Nate and I pushed through the rest of the swamp without seeing anything further. We eventually made it back to the truck, expecting to meet my dad along the way. He wasn't there, so eventually we sent Jeff to cruise down the trails on the four wheeler looking for him. Soon Jeff returned, with my dad riding shirtless on the back of the vehicle. We were all a little confused until he unrolled his shirt. Inside were two perfect tenderloins, looking like he had just purchased them from the butchershop!

    Turns out I had connected with the brown faced pig, and while my shot was too high, it slowed the pig just enough and my dad dropped it with a perfect shot. He thought that we had been pursuing the remnants of the sounder, and left alone decided to go after the backstraps.

    This picture was taken after he had removed the cuts. Essentially, he had cut a large capital I into the pig, laid back the hide, and just sliced the tenderloins right out. We all concurred that he had found the ideal way to get pork. It took considerably less time for the amount of meat gained, and was much cleaner and quicker than processing whole pigs.

    We didn't see any more hogs the rest of the day. Lots of deer and raccoons at night, but no pigs in the woods. As it would turn out, they were all out in the fields.

    End of day 3.
    Quote Originally Posted by theweakerbrother View Post
    Freedom is dangerous and I prefer it that way.

  5. #5
    Grandmaster Rookie's Avatar

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  6. #6
    Expert roscott's Avatar

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    Start of Day 4 (Saturday).

    Saturday was our last day to hunt, and it turned out to be a great one to round out the trip. It certainly started off quickly! As every other morning, we drove on to the property and had to travel down a long dirt logging road to get to the center of the hunting area. As my dad drove, I looked out the window thinking that surely we would eventually spot hogs on one of our drives in. Sure enough, there were two little hogs scampering through the woods! I yelled out hogs and practically dove from the moving vehicle. I ran after the pigs, drawing my G29 10mm. My dad was right behind with his PF9, as we chased the hogs into the trees.

    We discovered several things about running and gunning with pistols. One, it's very difficult to aim while running. Pretty much dang impossible. Two, when you stop running long enough to aim, the pigs quickly get far enough away that they are pretty dang tough to hit! As mentioned before, the smaller hogs tend to zig zag, and we probably looked like two rednecks at a shooting gallery. The two pigs split up, and we did likewise. Fortunately for me, the pig I was after eventually made the mistake of pausing for a second to look back. That was all the break I needed, and the 10mm connected. A second shot finished the job. My dad's pig made it out to the trail, and despite my dad being a lifelong runner, he said the little piggy started pulling away! It eventually made it to a thicket, and escaped to freedom.

    Pistol shooting running pigs may have even been the highlight of the trip. It was definitely a good time, and there was no advance warning. One moment you're just driving along, the next you're sprinting and playing Wyatt Earp.

    We met up with Nate and Jeff, and pushed through A LOT of swamp that day. We bumped a couple sounders, but never got a look at any of them. As evening drew on, we were all more than happy to sit down in a stand.

    It had been a warm sunny day, and as I sat in my stand and shone my flashlight, I could see a number of eyes reflecting back at me from the swamp. Alligators. I considered getting down to snag one, but didn't because that would have been illegal... but if I had, I think it would have gone like this: I would have gotten down, picked out a pair of eyes, and slowly stalked them, keeping careful watch for other alligators to my left or right that might be stalking ME. It would have been about a 4 ft alligator, just the perfect size for grabbing. I would have held a flashlight in my left hand outstretched, shining on his eyes and distracting him until I suddenly snatched him out of the water, holding him tight by the back of the neck. Then I would have taken some pictures while he hissed and snapped at me, then released him to scurry back into his pond. When he hesitated, I would have tried to shoo him with my boot, only to have him turn and snap at me one last time. I would have chuckled, bid him goodnight, and returned to my deer stand to watch for pigs. That's what probably would have happened, IF I had gotten down to catch alligators.

    Meanwhile, Nate was also having a great night and also toying with breaking the rules. Mike had mentioned that day that he was renting some new additional hunting property just across the road, on a big field where peanuts had just been planted. There was a little miscommunication on this point, however. Nate thought the hunting lease was the entire property, but Mike's hunting rights only extended to the wooded section. The hunting rights for the field had been sold along with the rights to farm the field.

    Nate had been itching for a chance to really stretch the legs on his fancy new Pulsar thermal scope. I don't know the exact model, but suffice to say it is a newer model and it's very impressive. He stepped across the road and looked into the field, and saw it was filled with heat signatures! All the hogs we hadn't been seeing in the woods were all in the fields every night, chowing down on the farmer's peanuts! Nate grabbed his tripod, and started stalking. Unfortunately, he didn't hit the correct button to record the whole hunt, so I don't have really cool thermal video to show everyone. But something interesting did happen as he closed the distance.

    Another truck pulled up, and we would later find out that it was a buddy of the farmer, who knew that no one had permission to be hunting that field that night. Additionally, he had his own fancy thermal scope, and could easily see Nate stalking the pigs. In a really cool gesture however, he said he allowed Nate to finish the stalk because he didn't want to ruin his moment.

    Nate got within range, got set up, and cut loose. He dropped the biggest pig in the bunch, then another, and a few more shots as the giant sounder scattered. Afterward, the farmer's friend drove up and quickly (but amicably) sorted things out. He told Nate that he couldn't be hunting there, but still offered to help him load the dead pigs into his truck. I was really impressed at his understanding, although perhaps he was just glad to have the hogs driven off the crops for the night.

    Jeff also managed to drop a nice hog that evening, bringing up our total for the four day hunt to 17. In all, it was a really great trip and we again got a great lesson in hog hunting. We are all ready to go back!

    End of the Hunt.
    Quote Originally Posted by theweakerbrother View Post
    Freedom is dangerous and I prefer it that way.

  7. #7
    Expert roscott's Avatar

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    I'll try to post tomorrow about lessons learned and our takeaways, but that's all I've got time for tonight. I hope you have enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
    Quote Originally Posted by theweakerbrother View Post
    Freedom is dangerous and I prefer it that way.

  8. #8

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    Under lessons learned you might want to mention the importance of taking your carry gun with you to the local Waffle House at 2 am. Great write up by the way.

  9. #9
    Grandmaster Mark 1911's Avatar

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    Nice size hogs. Way better for eating than the real big ones.

    Great write up. Thanks for going to the effort to write this.
    Man is Not Free Unless Government is Limited - Ronald Reagan

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  10. #10
    Master Brad69's Avatar

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    Sweet write up !
    Thanks for the time to share it with the INGO collective.

    I have used 5.56 my last hunt it worked ok several controlled pairs were needed I am thinking of a .450 bushmaster?

    Looks like you found the weakness of the PVS 14 lazer combo in thick brush, works great in the open.
    The thermal is about the same in thick stuff you get glimpses of heat hard to ID the target.
    I would think a PAS/13 turned to black hot would be sweet but they cost about $15,000.

    Last edited by Brad69; 04-21-2019 at 10:58.
    U.S. Army retired

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