If you turn on any hunting show & have no experience with hunting, they make it look so easy… One would think, a hunter gets a kill every time he/she sits.
Where is the challenge? That is so far from the truth. I would like to explore this topic with you all, hopefully clarifying why I consider it hunting, not killing.Recently I went to Texas with my partner, Megan Johnson and my husband, Clay Hair. All three of us were filming for Hartcraft Hunting Adventures with Terry Hartcraft. I had just scored a monster sow in Tennessee a few weeks prior. I’ve also arrowed a monster boar a few years ago. I just KNEW I was going to arrow a piggy in Texas. My expectations were high. I was certain that this would be a successful harvesting trip to Texas.
Upon our arrival, it was over 100 degrees and the hunting was extremely hard. We put in many hours in high temps, in a very unwelcoming environment, rattlesnakes & cactus were in abundance. My partner, Megan Johnson, scored a hog on her 4th hunt. Additionally, my husband harvested 2 hogs on his 3rd hunt. As for me, I sat a total of 5 hunts & everything was perfect. The wind was in our favor, we were hunting over a watering hole and there was food in abundance. The pigs just would not come in. The entire trip I only saw 3 itty bitty baby hogs, definitely not shooters. However, I had a great time and relished in my partners & husbands successful harvests.I’m human, I must admit I was slightly bummed out that I did not have the opportunity to kill a hog. Heck, I wasn’t even afforded the opportunity to get drawn on one. Terry so graciously offered for me to fly back out to Texas to give it a go again. Terry Hartcraft and I sat for 4 hunts, temps over 100 degrees, even using skunk as a cover scent. Yes, we were in a box blind, with temps over 100 & using a skunk cover scent. We were basically in a skunk sauna for HOURS. The things we will put ourselves through to get the opportunity at an animal. We headed out at 4:30 a.m. & didn’t head back in until 10:30 p.m. We hunted HARD. The wind was swirling like crazy. When we did have pigs come in, the wind would suddenly shift & off went all the piggies… like darts. Pigs have noses unlike any other wild game I’ve ever pursued.
I am very big on scent prevention as this why we’ve developed our own scent elimination line.
When hunting pigs, you have to have the wind in your favor. That is a fact. I’ve successfully harvested pigs in the past, wind direction being the key factor.
On the last hunt. Terry & I sat with the wind blowing directly at our faces for over an hour. PERFECTION!!! The feeder went off & in came the piggies. Terry says, “Oh Yeah!” It was still to dark to shoot, so I picked out the hog I was going to take, slightly greyish/black in color. We had about 3 -5 minutes before we had enough light for filming. Then out of nowhere the wind suddenly shifted directly into the area where the pigs where. It was unreal. Unbelievable. Here we had a perfect wind all morning, then when it comes time to get it done. Bam. The wind gusts in the opposite direction. The pigs scattered like darts. They did not come back & once again…. It just wasn’t meant to be. It hit me.
I’m here to HUNT. Killing is merely a bonus & should never be expected. This is the part of hunting most non hunters do not understand. We put in many hours, hard work & effort… A successful harvest is never guaranteed. With that being said, I focused on all of the positive experiences gained throughout both trips & I left Texas feeling completely satisfied & joyful for the experience.
In summation, I made 2 trips to Texas, hunted a total of 9 hunts and never had ONE opportunity to draw my bow back. I was reminded that it is hunting not killing. If you go in expecting to kill, you sell yourself short of the entire experience. Okay, I didn’t kill, but I had so many other valuable experiences, made memories & enjoyed the camaraderie of my friends & family.
I sat in the blind with Terry Hartcraft, he is much more experienced than I. I asked him a million questions and he answered them all with joyful exuberance. I listened, I learned, & I came out a more knowledgeable hunter. I cherished those moments, learning from someone I truly admire, one of the best, most ethical hunter’s I personally have had the pleasure of hunting with. Terry & I saw does fighting like crazy for dominance, we witnessed fawns frolicking in the water, we watched road runners running back and forth to the watering hole & chasing the new ones coming in off as if protecting their territory. I even saw an Axis deer.
I had such an amazing experience & I was reminded… It’s hunting, not killing. Go afield with a positive attitude, not expecting to kill, but just to enjoy being outdoors. Appreciate your right & ability to hunt & relish in the experience. Enjoy being amongst creatures & observing them in their natural habitat. Focus on what you are gaining from the each hunt, enjoy yourself & when you work hard & do eventually harvest an animal, you’ll be so much more appreciative for it.
I’ve killed over 30 animals with my bow. Yet, as I reflect upon some of my most memorable times hunting. Quite a few of those times are when I did not harvest. Sitting in the blind or deer stand with my sons, husband, friends, a mentor or even mentoring a youth… You form an undeniable bond while becoming one with the woods simply enjoying the stillness & peacefulness of it all. Those times are precious & are forever engraved in my heart. So for those of you who are expecting to kill every time you hunt, you are selling yourself short. Appreciate everything, take it all in, watch the animals behavior in their natural habitat, enjoy the camaraderie, be thankful you have the ability & right to hunt.
It’s hunting, not killing.
Peace, Love & Venison,