After an interesting AM hunt (we were covered up with hogs before it was light enough to shoot) Paul and I decided to check out an area that looked promising, on our walk out. Not long after we left the trail and were about to enter the brush Paul caught a glimpse of a hog heading away from us, towards a nearby swamp. Paul reached in my pack and handed me my hog grunt call and I begin making some contented feeding vocalizations while very slowly making my way through the brush. After moving in no more than 100 yards I heard a hog walking in the water about 40 yards ahead. I moved a little further in and was afforded a quartering away shot. despite not having time to put on my reading glasses, therefore the 1x3 power scopes reticle being fuzzy and hard to see against the black hog, and the hog moving, I squeezed the trigger on my Thompson Omega muzzleloader. The shot was well placed and I caught a glance of the entrance wound as the hog ran. In the cypress trees, grass and brush I lost view of her but was thinking she may have fallen or stopped about 50 yards from me.
I'm shooting a 300 grain Powerbelt Aerolite .50 cal bullet pushed by 100 grains of black powder. http://powerbeltbullets.com/Aerolite-Muzzleloading-Bullets.php
As I'm reloading, a heard a ruckus to my left flank and when I turned I larger sow came running up to within 20 feet of me, momentarily stopped, looked at me and then continued running. Unfortunately I was still in the process of reloading.
I found out later when I met up with Paul that a second sow had run directly towards him after my shot and when she broke out of the brush and saw Paul, she immediately turned back. Paul had only a split second to react and wasn't able to get a shot off and I'm sure was still processing that I had taken a shot, at what and where he couldn't be sure, as we were not in visual contact at that point. It all worked out ok with one nice hog recovered and butchered.
The bullet traveled on a diagonal through the hog and was found in the front shoulder.
The bullet did mushroom and penetrate as advertised. So far I like these bullets, with the exception of the price. They are also much easier to reload compared with sabot's.
So you don't have to spend much time reading this post I'll sum it up: Terrible
One recent morning in the beautiful, wild Lower Suwannee NWR, I had climbed a tree well before first light after walking in to a favorite area, negotiating lots of hurricane Irma blow down, sloshing thru the high water, sweating profusely, while being attacked by a ridiculous quantity of large mosquitoes and plenty of sand gnats, then finally settling into the darkness and what has been the best part of morning, listening to the sounds of swamp and hammock. But no, all I could hear were the sounds of the mosquitoes flying into me to extract my blood and along with it, any common sense I had left. On one miserable morning, as the first light was illuminating the swamp, I was scanning my surroundings for deer or hogs when I happened to look down and under my tree stand just inches from where I climbed up was a water moccasin. Getting a bite from a poisonous snake would have been the icing on the cake.
So this is how the archery season has been, terrible. Yet, time after time I go. And time after time I have left without a deer or hog to show for the punishment. It's been as much of a mental challenge as a physical one. The rewards so far have been few, but include hunting some areas I have not seen and learning some new ambush locations. I've had approx. 60,000 acres available to hunt on in a couple diffrent refuges and that alone is exciting and motivating. Knowing that there are new areas to discover at anytime keeps me interested and always learning.
As of October 15, there is rumor that a real cold front may push in for the this weekend's opening of the muzzleloader season. Also, in the last week or two the increase in scrapes and rubs has been dramatic, another good sign that the best hunting is yet to come.