Mason County News
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Death in the Long Night
Wednesday, September 28, 2011 • Posted September 28, 2011

When Linda Powell said, “There are hogs under the feeder,” I thought she might be kidding or something. Linda and I had been sitting in fairly cushy desk chairs in a box blind for two hours, and hadn’t seen hog one. Part of that might have been because it was pitch black outside, since it was about ten o’clock at night at the time, but we’d been taking turns looking through a Bushnell night vision monocular every so often, and once in a while, if we thought we saw something, we would shine a Surefire light on it. Every alarm had been false, and the only thing keeping us from falling asleep was that the East Texas night was so hot we had sweated a good quart apiece.But Linda wasn’t kidding. There really were hogs under the feeder, although from where I was sitting, about 150 yards away, they just looked like black blobs through the Bushnell scope. They could have been small bears, or large gophers, or something else entirely, for all I could tell. I rested the Mossberg MMR, the company’s new AR-type rifle, on the blind window, and squinted at the blobs. They were definitely blobs. Black ones. Linda insisted they were hogs, so I picked out one of them, aimed at the end I thought might be the front, let out half a breath, and slowly squeezed the trigger.Linda and I were hog hunting on Mobley Ranch, northeast of Bryan, Texas, along with writers John Russo of San Diego, Doug Howlett of Virginia, and Steve Carpenteri of Maine. Since writers have to be chaperoned at all times by responsible adults, Linda and some other company reps had come along. Mike Capps, of Howard Communications, and Mark Schaefer were there for Bushnell, ‘Uncle’ Dick Williams was there for Surefire, and Dave Henry was there representing Night Optics. Linda works for Mossberg, and had brought a bunch of their new MMRs, which I think stands for Mossberg Military Rifle, for us to shoot. Mike and Mark brought binoculars and scopes, Uncle Dick brought flashlights, and Dave brought some neat night vision stuff. John, Doug, Steve, and I brought ourselves.The way we usually hunt hogs, where I live, is we get in a pickup and drive around in a pasture and, when we see some hogs, we shoot at them. This method works pretty well on hogs that haven’t been hunted a lot, but once a swine has been shot at from a pickup once or twice it tends to begin to avoid vehicles. Hogs are pretty quick to discern when people are behaving aggressively toward them. They aren’t exactly rocket scientists, but they know when they’re not wanted.Hunting at Mobley Ranch was a little different, since we sat in blinds at night near feeders and waited for the hogs to come to us. But the driving around method wouldn’t have worked there, whether the hogs were educated or not, because things have been so dry for so long in Texas. Everywhere we drove on the ranch we raised more dust than Alexander the Great did while he was tromping around conquering Europe. When we stopped we were engulfed in real estate to the point where a hog would have had to be standing on my foot for me to get a shot at him.Our MO was to go out after dark and throw some corn out at a feeder, and hope some hogs decided to come eat it. Some nice fellows drove us to the stands about eight in Mules, and then came back about midnight and picked us up. Most of us wore camo clothes, but by the time we got to our stands we were so covered in dust we could have been dressed in chartreuse and fuchsia, and we would have been just as hidden.When the hogs came in that first night, Linda held the Surefire light on them while I shot at the head end, or maybe the other end, of my favorite blob. The hogs all ran off when I shot, and we couldn’t tell whether I’d hit anything or not.A few minutes later a lone boar came traipsing across the field in front of us, about 75 yards away, and Linda insisted I shoot again, even though I kept telling her it was her turn. It was an easy shot, and I managed to put that pig down with one Hornady .223 round through the noggin.When the Mule guys finally came around to pick us up, we loaded the boar and went to the feeder to check, just in case I had gotten lucky. I didn’t expect to find anything, since I wasn’t even sure which end of the pig was which, but when we got there we found not one but two pigs under the feeder, both with after-market cranial perforations.Linda said, “Wow, you got two with one shot!” She sounded surprised, but nowhere near as surprised as I felt.I may not be Edward Einstein, but I know an opportunity when I see one. I tried to act disappointed, and said, “Well, I thought I had three lined up, but you can’t make a perfect shot every time.”I don’t think she bought it . . .

Kendal Hemphill is an outdoor humor columnist and public speaker who has almost never fallen asleep in a deer stand. Write to him at PO Box 1600, Mason, Tx 76856 or jeep@verizon.net

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