#31  
Old 07-15-2008, 08:58 AM
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Man I wonder how they are doing?
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Old 07-16-2008, 07:43 AM
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Man I wonder how they are doing?
I've wondered the same thing. I thought I heard a big 'Whoo hoo' yesterday evening, but it could have been the wind.
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Old 07-16-2008, 09:55 AM
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I know Rick said he was gonna get the wife to leave her cellphone at home. Maybe the same thing happened with his laptop.
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Old 07-16-2008, 12:29 PM
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Hey Ya'll!

We had a great time, but got back too late to get on here and give the updates.

I tried like crazy to get a few updates through my cell, but the thing just wouldn't cooperate on the road.

I've got the day to day format set up, just need to get the pics uploaded.

Should have it all completed by tonight.
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Old 07-16-2008, 01:58 PM
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HEEEE'SSS BACKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Looking forward to it!
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Old 07-16-2008, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by Va Hunter View Post
HEEEE'SSS BACKKKKK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Looking forward to it!
Be Afraid!

Be VERY Afraid!!!!!1
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Old 07-16-2008, 03:41 PM
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Default Day One:

We left Colorado for Texas with high hopes. We were pretty nervous about what was ahead of us, and what we could expect, but overall I think we were mentally ready for the hunt.

The trip down was relatively uneventful, although on CO Hwy 287 we saw a fairly decent Mule Deer who unfortunately met his demise on the side of the road. He had a GREAT rack in felt, which only served to add to the sadness. We hit the occasional road work and cone zone, but we made good time to Amarillo and spent the night with my sister there. She is fairly left in her beliefs, so we didn’t play up the hunt to much, and she was kind enough to let us use her computer for a quick update on things in Texas and Colorado. We got our licenses, and got quite the surprise when we did.

It turns out that hunters under 17 have privileges that those of us elder hunters don’t have. They can hunt raccoon, squirrel, coyote, and rabbit, whatever… The 5-day, over 17 licenses allow a very narrow scope of game animal, and in comparison to Colorado are quite liberal, but again, it’s a very narrow scope. The other thing is that the Juvenile license is good all year. Theoretically, Cale could go back during deer season and take a few deer on the license we purchased in Dumas, TX. Try that with the 5-Day limited we got.

The next day we woke up later than we wanted to, but still in good time to make Kevin’s (Great White Hunter) area for a quick meet and greet. Thankfully, I loaded Google Maps onto my PDA phone, and we used the tar out of that through the Dallas/Ft Worth area. If we hadn’t had that, we might still be circling Dallas somewhere. Texas, for those who don’t already know, is a huge state. Humongous. There was a few times where I swore we were lost and somehow missed an exit or something. At any rate, we made it to Kevin’s area with little trouble, and got a bonus in the process too.

As it turns out, Kevin’s little brother was in town, and we got to meet him. What a treat. Jim is as down to earth, and like his older brother, just about as nice a guy as you’ll ever meet. He’s a big time fisherman, and he and Kevin targeted Bass while he was down there. We talked bows for quite some time and got a spot to eat, then headed over to the Gander Mountain where Kevin works part-time and got a few last minute items before we made the last push down to 4D in Mexia.

Mexia is about 30 minutes away from Kevin, and the anticipation was building with every mile marker. Cale was furiously watching the street signs, and found it hard to sit still for more than a few minutes. Cheri was sitting straight up in the seat and her eyes were wide open. Even I had a knot growing in my stomach by the time we met Preacher/Randy at an Exxon station. We met Randy and all bailed out of the car to shake hands, exchange greetings, and get the show on the road. With the meet and greet completed, we flew up the winding road to 4D.

The first thing you notice is the number of trees that surround 4D. Granted, it is located in the center of a forest, but even so, the cover is amazing. Once through the dense trees and various other foliage, the camp site appears and you are met by the breeding pen. Right off the bat, you are directed to the pen, for a quick but thorough education on the difference between the feral hog, and the European hogs that roam the ranch. “Don’t shoot the Euro’s.” was a common mantra during the lesson. There are a few feral hogs in the breeding pen, but as one can understand, they don’t come out for a quick look-see for the guests. The European hogs on the other hand, were gluttons for attention, and would make more than a few attempts for attention during our stay.

The legendary Hercules has somehow managed to escape the breeding pen, so we were a little disappointed that he was not there to greet us, but as you’ll read, he was ever-present during the hunt, as were his equally impressive sows Molly, Helga, and my personal favorite Pansy. (more on her in a moment) There is also a small Euro without a name, so we named her Dyson. Yep, Dyson. Like the vacuum cleaner. She would get into a stand and clean house, so… the name sort of stuck.

Nate was on his way from his regular job, so we had some time to kill. Randy suggested we take some shots at the targets arranged next to the breeding pen. Sounded good to me, so I broke out my bow and went to town. Cale was up next, and true to form, he was dead on. Cheri was a bit nervous, and her shots were well back of the intended mark, but she soon narrowed her group and we were ready.

Randy saw the lights we affixed to our bows, and commented that we might want to draw above the hogs, then bring the light down on them if needed. Cheri stated that she couldn’t draw her bow that way, and I came up with a plan for that right away. I suggested she draw normally to the far right of the hogs, then, at full draw raise the bow over them, and come down, all while at full draw. I have learned that there are some things I need to illustrate for her, and this was one of them, so I drew back as I described, and came down. She got it, so I let the draw back down as I have down literally hundreds of times. This time, though, something went terribly wrong.

As I drew down my bow, I slipped off and dry-fired it. BANG!! The lens cap from my light flew off, the string slapped my arm like a hungry snake, and my peep hung from the rubber tube. Cheri, Cale, and Randy just stared at the bow. I felt about as small as an ant, embarrassed more than I have ever been in my life, and I really wished at that moment I could just leave. The shock to the bow could have been a lot worse, and as it turns out, after a few adjustments, mainly done the next day by Randy, Kevin, and Nate, my bow was fine. But my ego is still in recovery almost a week later.

Nate came in literally within moments of my stupid action, and he quickly worked to reset the peep, but the rest of the repairs needed more time than we could allow, so we called it a night. Randy hung around, happy to talk and relax in the trailer with us until quite late. He took a special interest in Cale, which I am so very grateful for, and helped him get over the jitters quickly. There would be more mistakes made during the 3 days we were with them, but he and Nate never once said what I am sure they were thinking. They are really great people.

While in the trailer, Randy laid out the thesis that surrounds all aspects of 4D, and he summarized it this way. He said, “I’ve been a guide for 30 years at various ranches all over the place. Some outfitters are there to take your money, get you in and out, then move on to the next hunters quick as quick can. Nate and I want you to come in as customers, and leave as friends.” I never doubted that the whole time we were there.

We met Nate’s wife first, then Randy’s wife. Then Randy’s children, and Nate’s children. Heck, we even got to meet Nate’s mother. By the time we left we felt as if we not only had good friends, but in some small ways we added them to our family as well. Randy’s son and Cale hit it off right away, and for the remainder of the time we had, they were like Mutt and Jeff. Randy’s wife even took Cale swimming with the other kids one day. They are, without a doubt, the most genuine, polite, honest, caring people we have ever met, and I consider them all very good friends.

Randy wanted an early start for the next day, so he made sure we were settled in, then headed home for some sleep. Cale dropped off like a rock in well, but Cheri and I were awake for more of the night than we wanted, and 5:45 am came VERY early for the sleepy Coloradoans in the little town of Mexia, Texas.


Next post – Day two… The First Hunt.
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Old 07-16-2008, 05:31 PM
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Default Day Two… The First Hunt

The first thing you notice when you step out of the little trailer, aside for the fact that it never really got dark out there, is the heat. Texas is HOT. Period. I’ve been to Chicago in August and that was really the only time I’ve felt myself sink into asphalt. The only reason I didn’t feel that at 4D is because there is no asphalt anywhere near the place. Dirt roads only. We spent the night in an air-conditioned trailer, and when I stepped out to greet Randy at 5:45 am, I thought I stepped into a sauna. My camo instantly stuck to my body like a damp glove. It was 79 degrees at quarter to 6 in the morning. “What have I done?” I thought silently to myself, and hurried Randy in before be burst into flame. Little did I know he was used to the heat, and was actually fairly comfortable?

We hopped into his 4WD Honda and headed off to the first stand. It was a double stand, so Cheri and I were given that, (I could not hunt because of my earlier act of random stupidity), and I was to act as her spotter. Randy made sure we were settled in and he and Cale took off for another.

They call our spot “Square Feeder” because, well… it’s got a square feeder. I’m reminded quickly of the acronym K.I.S.S. , Keep It Simple Stupid. Randy sent me a text message that he and Cale were settled in and it wouldn’t be too long. That knot in my belly turned into a rock, and Cheri was getting antsier as time clicked on.

I will pepper in a sort of transcript of the messages Randy and I exchanged as they occur in the story. At 5:55 or so, a sow came in with her brood of about 3 or 4 little ones, and flirted with the cover of the trees, but she just wouldn’t commit. As she darted here and there, her brood would follow suit. Here we were, less than an hour before the feeders kick off, and already we had hogs in. WOOHOO!! That rock in my belly became a boulder, and I told Cheri to set an arrow in the rest.

5:58 am - Randy: 2 Euro Hogs just left here headed your way.
(He wanted to make sure we didn’t get hog fever and plunk one of them)

6:02 am – Me: OK thanks. We almost had a momma with 3 little babies come in… but they scattered. Here’s a good looking red-tag. (Molly) Don’t see the other one yet.

6:03 am – Randy: K

Now we had a bit before the feeder was set to go off. We watched in awe as the big sow just tore into the sand at the foot of the feeder. I had heard about the damage these things do, and honestly, until I saw Molly… just Molly, rooting around that day, I never really understood. I can only imagine the damage done by two Molly’s size and their brood.

At 6:05 am I looked down at my phone, and the feeder had not started yet. At 6:06 am, still no feeder, but crashing in through the brush was the man… the legend… Hercules. He was just a huge brown mass of hair bursting through limbs and vines without a care in the world except getting to that feeder before it went off. Trailing him was Helga and Dyson. Now we had 3 extremely large hogs at the feeder, none of which we could shoot, and the feeder still had not gone off. Randy had just finished explaining to Cale, who had the foresight to ask what to expect, that the sound would be loud and crazy for about 15 seconds, then hogs for days would come pouring out of the woods. 6:08 The feeder scares the ever-loving-be-jezus out of Cheri and I. I was scanning the right side of the stand and brush, Cheri the left, neither of us were watching the feeder.

We jumped about 3 inches out of the stand and then looked at each other. Cheri mentioned something about underwear that I couldn’t hear over the pounding in my ears, and within seconds we settled in to watch the 4 hogs decimate the corn.

Dyson, being the smallest at present, was quickly pushed out by the three larger hogs, and I actually felt a little sorry for her. Then Cheri saw movement from the left side. 3 small meat-hogs entered the arena and scrambled like crazy for their scraps. It was interesting to watch them jockey for position. 2 would distract the larger ones, while the third would dart in and take what he or she could. Then they would start all over again, changing positions from distraction to collector. It was amazing to watch them coordinate the attack.

Poor Cheri drew to full draw three times before she finally had a little black one give her a decent shot. See, I say decent shot because feral hogs are not ones to stay in sight for long. Cheri had multiple broadside shots presented, but none for more than only a second. Then the little guys would shift, almost on a 90-degree angle. I had to giggle at one point because Cheri was breathing hard not only from the exertion of drawing and re-drawing her bow, but the sheer excitement of the scene unfolding around us.

A little black one, finally seemed to give us a shot, and for a reason I still am not sure of, I let out a few tongue clicks, and then a whitetail grunt. It worked and the thing stopped just enough for Cheri to get good site/picture. Just as she let the arrow go, the pig turned a perfect 90 and it hit pretty far back on him. He let out a squeal and took off like a shot with about 6 inches of Cheri’s arrow sticking out of his back. I think all in all it was a good shot, but I apologized because I felt like maybe I rushed her a bit on the shot. She said she couldn’t hear a word I said, but she hoped it was a good one. She tracked him better than I did visually, and saw him go into the brush where I lost him, then break hard to the left oblique and was gone.

6:13 am – Me: Shots away on a little black one. She shot back on a steep quartering away shot. He ran off with the arrow stuck in him. Can’t tell if it was a good shot or nor.

I’m surprised at how well I typed that out on the cell phone considering I was shaking like a drunk in DT’s.

6:15 am – Randy: We’ll wait a while and let him die. Only tags here so far.

6:16 am – Me: Gotcha. Checking the video now.

In all the excitement, I forgot that I was videoing the thing on my cell. I actually shut it off like an idiot because I wanted to get a text message over to Randy. Another blunder for me. I had envisioned getting Cheri’s reaction on video, but I blew it. Suffice it to say, it took both of us while to settle down.

Once I had I returned to my normal self, and thought, well… Randy has a good sense of humor. Let’s play. Cheri warned me not to, but I couldn’t resist.

6:40 am – Me: I just shot Herc! Quartering away!

6:41am – Me: With my Camera Phone.

6:45 am – Randy: (rattled) Ok oh yea I almost passed out. We will wait til 8 then head your way,

6:46 am – Me: Oooooooooooo I shot him again! Oh ok. Sorry! Just trying to lighten the mood.

Cale told me later on that day that poor Randy popped up out of the stand and was freaking out. I guess he forgot that I had blown my bow up and had nothing but the phone to shoot with.

8:00 am FINALLY got there, and Cheri was beside herself with fear that she had hurt the hog, but not killed it. Randy tracked the blood sign for a bit, and we moved through some really thick tree/bush/thorny-vine cover. We tried to track for about 30 minutes, but Randy felt it better to back out and let a dog do the rest. He called a young man named Lance who has an incredible dog named Eagle, but they were unavailable.

Nate has a dog he is trying to train named Abby. Abby has a ton of pup in her, and is still pretty wild, but Randy wanted to try her out, and Cheri and I wanted that hog, so Randy went to get Abby. She showed up with Randy in tow, and off they went, but the track was lost pretty soon. Abby did a good job, but the hog just wasn’t hit well and… that was that.

Cheri beat herself up pretty good for that one, but as we would find out, it’s all part of hog hunting. They are unpredictable creatures. Unlike a deer, they can get hit well with an arrow and go for a long time before stopping, so its not uncommon to see a trail that looks like little pin drops for 10 feet or more, then a splatter of blood, then back to pin drops again, and finally it just stops. The body fat plugs up the hole and stops the blood from leaving the animal. The big sign you see isn’t that big really. No more than a few drops in some cases. These animals are tough and resilient.

Cale never had a feral enter his stand, so with hunt number on in the bags, and all of us sweating profusely, we returned to camp defeated, tired and nervous about the next one. Cheri resolved to drop the next one in its tracks, and I would have my bow ready for action as well.
Next post… Day Two – The Second Hunt.
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Old 07-16-2008, 07:12 PM
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Wow! What a heck of a first day!!!!
I can't wait for the rest!
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Old 07-16-2008, 10:43 PM
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Default Day Two – The Second Hunt

So the heat from the day was just stifling. The humidity was somewhere near what you’d find at… oh I don’t know… the bottom of the ocean. It was oppressive, to say the least, but I managed to get my bow close to tuned up. Kevin and Jim came by to visit. While Kevin was there, I asked if he and Randy could take a look at it, and see where I was missing something. It seems that when I dry fired, I not only blew out the peep, but I also had the rest slip and the sight slipped as well. It was a mess, but the guys got it together for me.

Kevin and Jim headed off to pursue the big bad Bass, and we headed out to the stands around 5:15 pm. Earlier in the day, Randy took us around 4D. There was a tripod more toward the back of the property he wanted me to try out, and it just so happens that there is a large tree that I could use as a natural ground blind. So he dropped me off there, and then took Cheri to a stand they call Deer Alley. He and Cale went to one near by.

Nothing happened at all until about 7:00pm. I got a text message from Randy letting me know they found a Raccoon in the feeder, but Cheri hadn’t seen anything at all. I had Pansy come in to my stand just after the feeder went off, and that was it. We stared at each other for an hour, and I decided to move to the top of the tripod. She grunted a few times, and then went back to crunching corn happily. Once at the top of the tripod, I sent Randy a text asking him to tell Cale to shoot if that Raccoon came back in because I always wanted a coonskin hat. As soon as I sent that, I got a reply from Randy. “Coon down! CHECK! Perfect hit!”

Apparently, the coon was fidgeting with the feeder just before it went off. Randy leaned over to Cale and said, “Watch this. That raccoon is gonna get it.” Cale wasn’t quite sure what he meant by that, but he watched anyway. By this time, Cale was really bonding with Randy, and I can’t tell you how happy that made me. The raccoon was reaching in for one more num-num treat, when the feeder went off. The coon dropped off the feeder like a ten-ton boulder and kicked up a cloud of dust when he landed. Randy said he and Cale laughed pretty well at that, and back to the business of hunting hog.

Coons just don’t learn, or don’t care, and I’m not sure which one this coon was leaning towards, but he came back in five minutes later. Randy told Cale to get ready, and Cale looked at him as if to ask, “Are you serious?”

Randy said, “Get him Cale.” Cale drew his bow, but was really shaking bad. Randy, the ever-so-patient man that he is, gently told Cale, “Calm down. It’s just a raccoon. Shoot him in the shoulders.”

Cale immediately stopped shaking and settled in for the shot. Randy said it was like Cale had done it a million times. He let out his breath slow and steady, then put the pin right in the shoulder and adjusted. Cale released the arrow and it pinned the raccoon’s shoulders together. Down he went, but he scrambled for the dead, downed trees not more than 20 feet from the feeder. Randy said he saw the shaft twitch a little, and then it was straight up with no movement. Cale had his first bow kill.

I couldn’t believe what I was reading when I got the “Perfect Hit!” text, so I had to ask again if he hit it. Before I could get confirmation, I got another text from Randy letting me know Cheri hit another one! She said it was a good broadside and she thought it passed through because she could see the shaft near the bottom of a clump of trees the hog was in front of. Are you kidding me? WOW!! Two down, and all I had was Pansy to keep me company. The corn ran out, and so did she, so I sent a text to Randy saying I was ready to go, and I really wanted to see the coon and Cheri’s hog.

They come over and got me, and I immediately went for the coon. It was fairly thin, but it had a good coat, and she had a good tail. Regardless of what I thought, Cale was enamored with it, and really, that’s all that mattered. Randy raved about the shot, and couldn’t wait to show me the hit. Man he nailed it right in the shoulders. Randy said she ran like crazy with the back legs, but the front ones just wouldn’t work. It was a great shot. I noticed a huge chunk taken out of the back fur, and I asked about that. I guess Helga was in the stand too, and she walked right over to the coon and took a big old bite out of her back before Randy and Cale could get over there and stop her.

Well, I saw the coon, and Cale just couldn’t stop talking about it. He had his first successful hunting story, and he was happy as all get out, so that leaves Cheri stuck in a tree stand nervous as nervous gets. We drove over to her stand, and braced up for what we thought would be a short night. As she left the stand I asked her if she heard a squeal, and she said she did, a real loud one, as it blasted off through the brush. Oh great… More brush.

This is the most wooded, tangled, mess of foliage I have ever seen in my life. It’s covered in vines with thorns that almost thirst for blood, small shrubbery, and trees that have never seen a set of pruning shears. Randy examined the shaft, and had a disappointed look on his face. He had me look at the shaft. There was blood, but not down the shaft, and certainly none on the vanes. In fact it was only about an inch and a half total counting the broadhead.

She certainly hit him broadside, but it must have hit him in the shoulder and connected with bone. In short, it wasn’t fatal. Randy felt that it did penetrate enough to hurt a vital, maybe a lung, so we started a blood trail track. It fell apart quickly, and Nate agreed that we would never find him, and he might be taken again at another feeder later on.

Cheri was crushed. She cried a bit because she had certainly hurt another animal, and was very close to ending the hunt right there for her part. I tried to tell her again that hogs are tough as nails, and we would try again in the morning. She did her best to put it all aside and enjoy Cale’s triumph, but in the back of her mind she was tearing herself apart over it.

Kevin called to get an update, and laughed pretty good when we told him about Cale’s hunt, then tried to console Cheri and told her again about the resilience of these animals. He also said something I found a little hard to hear at first, but I understand it now. He said, “Hey, it’s just a hog.” On the surface, this sounds cold and callous, but the fact is these animals, if left unchecked, will devastate anything in their path. They multiply like rabbits and literally infest an area until there is nothing left. Period. They have no natural predators, except for man, and at times we may not even be enough to control them. In that light, I can understand his sentiment. There are millions of them. They lack the majesty of a Deer or Elk. They sure don’t possess the mystique of a bear or a mountain lion. They’re just… hogs. Destructive, stinky, greedy, hogs.

We all gathered around and took some pictures, and then Randy taught Cale how to skin an animal. Nate and I talked about a way I could help Cheri drop her hog. I explained her past, and he understood immediately. He said he had an idea on how to help her, but he needed to see her shoot first. I thanked him, and Randy, and we all decided it was time for bed. 5:45 am would again be upon us sooner than we really wanted.



Next Post: Day Three - Hunt Three
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Last edited by Colorado Rick; 07-19-2008 at 09:33 AM.
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