Way back when I was in college (circa 1978), I met a guy who loved to hunt and took me with him to hunt on his family's land. I would go with him early in the morning and sit in trees and on the ground holding a rifle I had no idea how to shoot. I donned oversized waders and followed him into a swamp on a duck-hunting expedition, and even held shot-dead ducks in one hand and a rifle in the other while tromping behind him through thigh-high waters until I stepped in a hole and experienced the fun of having my waders fill up with chilling water as I struggled to keep the gun and ducks above water. It was funny to everyone but me, but I hung in there. I sat in the pickup with the odor of beaver urine all over him after he had carried a huge dead beaver over his shoulder.I even held onto the hind legs of squirrels as my boyfriend pulled the skins off like gloves. It must have been love: I did whatever I needed to do to please him. . .
Fast forward to 2009: the kids are grown and my husband (not the same guy) sparks my dormant interest in the outdoors. He outfits me with my own 243 rifle, dresses me in his hunting clothes, and brings me to the woods with him to sit in a deer blind. I get the fever as a young buck wanders into sight. Unfortunately for me, I can't locate him in my rifle scope. He hears us trying to find him in my scope, sees our white glowing faces, and bolts. I vow to meet him again.
Then my husband renews his interest in bowhunting. We watch hunting programs on television, and I become interested. He buys a secondhand PSE bow for me and gets me outside to practice shooting arrows. I'm still not confident enough to actually hunt with a bow, though.
One afternoon I agree to go wild hog hunting with him. We sit out in our blind for at least two hours. Hubby believes the hogs he has been watching will be coming down the hill any second right past our blind. However, before we get settled in the blind, he leaves Koolaid near his feeder to lure hogs in. As the sun begins to set, we decide to leave the blind. I suggest that hogs are probably around his feeder because of the Koolaid.
Sure enough, we pack up and make our way noisily toward the feeder on our way back to the truck. Suddenly a pig darts from behind a bush and runs away from us. I quickly reload my rifle thinking that if there was one, there are probably others. We are talking about it when I see a couple of ears sticking up over some bushes about 25 yards away. "There's one," I say to my husband as I lift my rifle. About that time, he tells me he sees some piglets. I point my rifle and shoot. A split second later, there is a blast from his shotgun. I see a spray from my target as it takes off running. The piglet my husband has shot begins screaming and thrashing around.
In disbelief, my husband asks me if I hit the pig. I tell him that I saw a spray, so he takes off in search of the pig I shot while his target continues to thrash and squeal. A few seconds later, he calls to me telling me that he has found my pig about 100 yards away. She has left a blood trail from her belly wound. Finally her offspring stops squealing. He has gone to piggy heaven to be with his mama.
Tromping over to her, I see her rows of nipples and feel a momentary sadness at having killed a mama hog. The feeling soon vanishes as I realize that I have become an actual hunter! My first kill!
Next: Getting mama and baby out of the woods. . .