Monday, September 12, 2005

1975 ...Successful Hunt

I used to go hunting with my buds, Greer and Kevin when I was in high school.That's Kevin in the blue jeans, I have known him since first grade and he is still a best friend. That's me in the camo...and yes, I have a nerdy piece of tape where my glasses broke that day.

Most of these "hunting" trips boiled down to talking about girls, shooting a tree stump or two, talking about girls, driving around in our father's trucks, getting stuck, talking about girls, and never seeing any game.

On this particular afternoon, I went hunting in a wildlife management area called Guana.The guys were busy, so I went by myself. At the time Guana was owned by a large company, but the state had negotiated hunting and fishing rights for the public. Today it is actually a full-fledged state park...thank God for that. It is some of the most beautiful coastal property in the state and would be covered in houses by now if it was not a park.

Anyway, I drove my Dad's International Scout until the dirt road ran out and then I hiked out an old fire trail. The fire break ended out in the salt marsh near a clump of trees with one downed oak. It seemed like a good spot to sit and wait, and so I did.

Without my pals, there was a considerable lack of conversation...although I distinctly remember thinking about girls as I sat on the oak trunk. It did seem unusually quiet...Greer wasn't around to tell some hilarious tale and without Kevin there was none of the superfluous shooting at inanimate objects that usually punctuated our hunting conversations. Yup, it was pretty quiet.

Then I heard a splash. Then splash,splash, splash. It was coming from the now flooded fire trail...I was way out in the marsh and the tide had crept in along the ditchlike trail. The splashing was definitely coming my way.

I put the girl thoughts on hold and raised my 16 guage.

Around the needle rush came two wild hogs, one brown and one larger black one. No way...this never happens when we go hunting. Game? I am hunting and seeing game?

It was then that the hogs noticed me and began running down the trail. I aimed, fired, ...the black boar dropped dead in the flooded fire trail. The brown hog ran directly beneath my oak.

It took me a minute to absorb the thought that not only had I seen game while hunting, but I had actually killed game while hunting. Some sort of precedent had been set.

You may have heard the term "dead weight". This hog was 200 lbs of dead weight, in soft mud, a couple hundred yards from the Scout. It took a while to get him back to the vehicle...I was feeling like dead weight myself when it was done.

Back at the house, I called Kevin and told him that I went hunting and actually killed something. I had to repeat this several times as he was a bit dubious at first. He did finally believe me and being a good friend, he came over to have his picture taken with the beast...and help butcher it.

As I recall, we had a party at my house a few weeks later and barbecued the hog. It was good and somehow we all avoided trichinosis, which would have really put a damper on our senior year.

My dad still has the cleaned and varnished skull of this hog. He uses it to scare trick or treaters every halloween.

I don't hunt anymore, which is really ironic to me since I could take deer from the porch swing if I wanted to.

Maybe if I could get Greer and Kevin over here, we could talk about girls, get stuck, shoot a stump...maybe then I could get in the mood.

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pablo said...

A Thrilling Tale of Action and Adventure! And the hair! We have feral hogs (and feral house cats) in Missouri, and I know there are folk who devote themselves to culling these non-native critters from the forest. If you cooked the meat properly, you would not have any trichinosis concerns, would you? Or is a wild animal a greater risk?

rick said...

I remember that day it was a huge hog.And yes Guana is a great place .Remember the camping trips? They were special.

kevin said...

I told the "hog butchering" story not long ago. It's still a great story. I remember how thick hide on the hog was. I didn't think we'd ever get through it.

On a similar note, my son has been shooting at one of his buddy's place in Hastings. So, I told him some our shooting stories. Of course the best one is Tommy Quigley/alligator story.

You wouldn't recoginize the pits now. Things have really built up, even a paved road out there.

By the way, that guy in the blue shirt is one good looking guy. Too bad you don't have more pictures of him.

Laura said...

Wow, I've lived in Florida my whole life and I've never heard of Guana until now. At first I thought it sounded as if you were referring to somewhere out in Africa!
I was afraid this post was going to end with a story of how you hand wrestled the hog and emerged triumphant.
good one!
great picts too ;)

thingfish23 said...

Slow ride - take it ea-easy!

Look at those 'chops!

That was a great story, FC. Much appreciated.

I can relate with the trigger-happy friend scenario. Except that trigger-happy friend was me.

cinbad122 said...

hehe! You have hair! Who would have thought!

Zanne said...

Simply can't imagine dragging 200 lbs. of dead weight hog two feet, much less a couple hundred yards. And how did you ever get it up into the truck? Wow, I'm impressed.

You know, if you told that story to kids today, you know what they'd say - "Why didn't you call your friends on your cell phone to come help you?"


Floridacracker said...

Why thanks! 30 years later, I wouldn't mind having a some of that hair back...
As for trichinosis, the trichinella worm is killed by proper cooking, it's just that we were teenage cooks.

I am forever grateful for your dad inviting me along on those trips. They were of a kind that will not come again.

I'm not sure if the Quig/gator tale would translate here...thought about it, but some just have to be there.
And yes...I do have other pics of you...stay tuned.

Oh, you must be thinking of me hand wrestling the great white shark...;)

They were kind of choppy weren't they? Oh and we were all trigger happy...still am.

Now whatever could you be implying? Careful, or I'll write a story about the nonstop snacking coworker who burps louder than most men I know. :)

Floridacracker said...

How true about the cell phone. It's like a biological need for kids these days. They can't imagine being incommunicado for even a few hours.

Flip a parent of 3, I want that phone on them everytime they leave the house.

kevin said...

You're right about the Quigley/gator story. Too bad, though. It's a classic.

Those Guana camping trips were great. I guess they were only 2 or 3 days, sure seemed like we were out there longer. I guess we were just awake for most of the weekend.

Floridacracker said...

I was usually also awake for the first 3 nights home from the itch of redbug bites. I remember after one trip, counting 100+ itchy bumps...everywhere.

It sure was fun worth every itch.

kevin said...

I'd forgotten the red bugs. I mostly remember being wet and/or sandy from walking along the beach or through the woods.

Weary Hag said...

This isn't so much a comment on your hog story, though I thoroughly enjoyed it! The picture is excellent, taped glasses and all!

I know you didn't opt for comments on your previous post, but I just wanted to say thank you for staying angry. I will too ... for as long as I breathe air.

Floridacracker said...

Thanks for being kind about the picture. As for the other...I'm with ya'.