Hoggin' with the Cajuns
“These bottoms remind me of south Louisiana. I thought everything was bone dry down here in Texas,” says Jake Hebert, pronounced "A-Bear," as my friend Larry Large and I drove them into the area we hunt hogs. Jake’s girlfriend Courtney Dugas, also a 110 Carat Cajun, agreed.
“Looks like home,” she cited as I drove our electric hunting ATV through some axle deep water. The two had traveled to Texas to hunt hogs with Large and I and as soon as they pulled up to the hunting cabin, we knew we were with a couple of ‘sure nuff’ outdoors folks.
When taking ladies hunting, I always try to size up their outdoor experience. When Courtney told us she recently zeroed her rifle and that she was, "chompin at the bit," to help us reduce the wild hog numbers, we knew we had a hunter in camp. Jake has spent quite a bit of time in the Lone Star State where he recently graduated from Sam Houston State University.
Jake rode rough stock in PRCA rodeos for a couple of years. You might say Jake was born into the sport of rodeo; his dad owns J Bar L Rodeo Company and supplies bucking bulls, steers and horses to rodeos. Jake had the appearance of a young man that could have packed a big boar out of the woods on his back. Before the evening was over, Large and I were very happy to have him with us!
We explained to our newfound Cajun friends that it’s definitely not always this wet in Texas but we are thankful for rainfall whenever we get it. We explained to them that on their return trip, planned in a couple months, not to expect such lush conditions.
Large and I keep several feeders throwing corn in our hunting area on a nightly basis. Hogs are almost entirely nocturnal now and we arrive on our stands about 30 minutes before dark. It’s usually 9:30 or later before the hogs begin moving from bedding areas to feed.
Before the hunt, we attached Sniper Hawg Lights to both their rifles. These lights are equipped with red lenses which we’ve found best for shooting hogs at night. A micro switch attaches with Velcro near the trigger. When the hogs are eating corn at the feeders, we simply hit the switch, light up a porker and squeeze the trigger.
Some of our stands are easily accessible, but, as luck would have it; these ‘easy’ stands had been lightly hit by hogs the past few nights. One spot which is located across two dry creeks and deep in the woods had been a virtual hog haven. Our Bushnell trail camera was set on video mode and we watched 10-second videos of 12-18 hogs that began feeding just after dark and stayed in the area until well after midnight.
The little 10-second ‘movies’ showed evidence of hogs of all sizes, ranging from small pigs up to one boar that would tip the scales at close to 300 pounds. We knew our Cajun charges for the evening had a taste for fresh pork and we hoped they would pass of the old boar and opt for smaller, better-eating hogs. They didn’t disappoint us!
Our hunters were hunting from the ground in a roomy blind we’d constructed of cedars. As we walked them back to their stand, Large briefed them as to how the hunt should unfold.
“We have a couple of shooting sticks in the blind. When you see that the hogs have settled in eating corn, stand up very quietly, rest your rifles on the sticks and do your best to shoot at the same time," advised Large. "You can work out your own signal as when to actually shoot. It’s possible to shoot one hog and have others stick around for a second shot, but better plan on shooting at very close to the same time.”
I spread some fresh Buck Natural attractant on the ground around the areas where we’d been feeding the porkers and made a big circle back to the road to avoid leaving my scent on the trail I expected the hogs to take coming to the feeding area. A check of my watch indicated it was 8:15 when we got back to the ATV. Large and I fully expected our hunters to have hogs under the feeder around 10:00 p.m. that evening.
Did you ever notice how quiet it is in the woods just after a period of heavy rainfall? It seems the wood and leaves and wet ground absorb sound. The silence of the night woods was broken first by a distance pack of coyotes. A deep bass howl of the lead male opened the chorus, followed by the entire pack. It was easy to pick out the sharp barks from the younger animals from the wolf like howling made by the adults.
It sounded as though the pack was a good quarter mile back I the woods. I hoped their evening hunting route would not lead them toward our hunters. Didn’t want them messing up the hunt for our Cajun friends! Finally, their howling was barely audible. The song dogs were departing our area and that was a good thing.
Then we heard a bobcat ‘yowling’ back in the woods. Another glance at the watch indicated that time was flying by. The beautiful sound of some night birds that I have heard all my life but cannot identify came from the canopy of some big oaks that were silhouetted against a rising moon. It was ten o’clock but no sound from our hunters' rifles. We were only about 400 yards for their stand and we fully expected to hear the quiet, black night shaken by the report of two rifles.
I truly believe if more folks spent more time experiencing the sights and sounds of nature, our world would be a much more peaceful place. About the time I was lost in my thoughts of past hunts and some of the many enjoyable sights and sounds I have been privy to in my long hunting career, a very loud BOOM instantly brought me back to the present! Something didn’t sound exactly right to me.
The BANG was much louder and just a millisecond longer than it should have been. Our Cajun charges for the night had surely scored a double on wild hogs! It didn’t take long to get back to where they were proudly admiring what was sure to become the centerpiece of one big Cajun party when the pair got back to Cajun Land!
Two well-placed shots had anchored the porkers in their tracks. There would be no tracking this night, the hogs dropped where they were shot. The sow, which we estimated to weigh about 145 pounds, was big enough to make some nice pork steaks as well as a lot of pulled pork BBQ and sausage. Courtney had dropped the hammer on the sow and she was all smiles. Jake shot a smaller pig and he was already talking about how tender the pork would be at their upcoming party.