Let’s be honest, some spring break vacations are better than others. So when my wife mentioned going to Florida while my kids were out of school for spring break, I grunted, rolled my eyes, and suggested other options. I’m not big on the beach. I’m a redhead. I sunburn easily while sitting in the sand. But when my wife and kids out-voted me on a trip to Florida, I quickly began scheming on how I could make this trip a win-win for everyone. And I figured there was no better way to do that than with building a hog hunting trip into the week.
She gets the beach. The boys and I get the pigs. The ultimate spring break trip just might be doable after all.
I called my buddy, Scott, that lives about 45 minutes up the road from where we were staying on the beach to line up a hog hunt on his deer lease. The hog population is growing at a staggering rate on their lease, and they are always looking to reduce the numbers through hog hunts. We tried to pull off a hog and turkey hunt the previous year, but the weather did not cooperate. This year, we were determined to make it happen on the hogs.
So, after a few days of hanging out on the beach with the family, my two boys, Aidan and Easton, and I headed up the road on a warm and sunny afternoon to climb into one of Scott’s shooting houses overlooking a food plot and feeder.
We had just climbed into the blind and started sorting out our gear when the boys both agreed that they needed to climb back out to use the bathroom. That’s what boys do, right? So we climbed back down the stairs to let the boys do their thing. And no sooner had we got back down on the ground, and Easton says in an excited whisper, “Dad! Dad! Look!!!” He nodded his head toward the feeder, and I looked up to see 8-10 pigs that had popped out of the woods and were now scurrying around the feeder.
Fortunately, Aidan had slung our Mossberg MMR .223 rifle over his shoulder before we climbed out of the blind. And the young pine trees that had provided us cover from the pigs had a perfect fork on a low limb for Aidan to use as a gun rest. The only problem would be going undetected as I chambered the round in the AR-style rifle. I waited until the perfect moment when the pigs were the most active and causing a raucous amongst themselves to slam a .223 round into place. The pigs heard the sound and hesitated for a brief moment before going right back to feeding. I smiled at the boys and said, “We’ve got ‘em now!”
Aidan crawled up to the tree as I helped him get the gun into position. The group of pigs mainly consisted of piglets and a couple small scrappers. It was Aidan’s first hog hunt, so size didn’t matter to him one bit. He picked out one of the hogs that stood away from the others and squeezed the shot. Young hogs went scrambling in every direction at the shot, but when the dust settled Aidan could see that he had scored on his first hog.
I honestly don’t know who was more excited – me, Aidan, or Easton. We were all a little shocked at the fact that we had killed a pig in the first five minutes of the hunt. We quickly grabbed Aidan’s hog, dragged it away from the scene, and hid it behind the blind. With several hours of daylight left, we climbed into the blind to see if Easton might get a crack at his first hog as well.
We were hunting with the Mossberg MMR .223 on this trip. It’s a great hog gun, perfectly suited for kids or adults with its adjustable stock. We adjusted the stock to fit Easton’s shoulder, and then sat back to wait on the action to unfold.
We wiped sweat from our face and emptied the cooler of drinks and snacks for the next couple hours as we waited for some more players. Finally, at last light, a handful of hogs slipped out of the woods and made their way to the feeder. There was one big sow and a pile of piglets in the mix, but the sow knew something was up. She held back in the timber and grunted in disgust as she no doubt had smelled where blood had already been shed. The opportunity for a shot from Easton never came as the sow rounded up her crew of piglets and left in a hurry.
It had been a great evening with priceless memories made. Aidan was thrilled to take his first hog while on vacation in Florida. Easton was bummed at not getting his chance at a hog, but seemed okay when I reminded him that it just meant we’d have to plan another spring break trip with the family to the beach – and the hog blind.