“Man, it is hot.”
That was our main thought yesterday as I helped a friend on his East Texas ranch move tripods, scout new stand sites for bow season and do some work on a few food plots.
The mercury was hitting above triple digits as we finished up our “to do” list and headed to the big lake for a little fishing around 5 p.m.
“It is still hot.”
Even though I was getting bit on almost every cast and enjoyed pulling in a few good-sized bluegill and runty largemouths, the heat was unrelenting. The pond experts told us in the spring we needed to remove 500 pounds of bass out of the lake to reduce the population enough to grow a few decent-sized fish.
With the eight bass I caught yesterday, we only have 498 pounds to go.
About 7 p.m., we decided to go for a drive and search a few of the pastures for signs of a large group of hogs that had showed up recently on trail cams. Almost as an afterthought, we had thrown the ranch rifle — an AR-15 — in the Jeep before we headed to the lake.
As we rounded the corner of the second pasture to check, several black and white shapes in the tall grass 250 yards to our right moved. We quickly shut off the Jeep and came up with a plan. Our first thought was, “Why didn’t we bring another rifle?”
The wind was perfect and the hogs had no idea we were there, so I decided to chance it and head directly toward the group, relying on the tall grass to conceal my stalk. My khaki shorts and red shirt weren’t the perfect camouflage, but sometimes you have to work with what you’ve got.
I began to stalk through the grass, all the while wishing I had a pair of snake boots instead of my tennis shoes. After getting to within 75 yards, I used my knee as a rest and squeezed off a shot.
Hogs erupted in all directions as I saw my shot go high on the intended target. Luckily, several of the pigs ran directly toward me in the grass.
At 25 yards, I stood up and fired several more rounds at the now hastily departing pigs. I saw one of my shots connect and a sow struggle to make it into the thicket.
She did, and I was forced to crawl through thick briars and cutting branches to retrieve her 20 yards inside the treeline. She was a perfect eating-sized pig — 50 pounds of tender wild pork.
After a few pictures and some high-fives, we skinned and quartered the hog and headed for home.
It was a day of hard work and a lot of heat, but the fine smells coming from the slow-cooker as I write this remind me it was successful.
Even when it’s hot enough to fry an egg on the hood, it is hard to beat a day in the East Texas pineywoods.