I knew this was going to be a long and exciting day. We reached the hunting cabin the night before, set up all our gear and played with my new toys from Christmas. It would be my first wild boar hunt with a brand new bow and some arrows. With my deer and bear hunting experience, I figured it was going to be a breeze.
As the sun peered from the top of a distant mountain, we began our adventure with snow on the ground, a light 3-5 mph west wind, and a brisk 35 degrees. It was a clear Saturday morning, and the woods were completely silent. While walking, the guide told my father and me about the tendencies and habitats of wild hogs. All I heard was “charge and attack.” I figured he gave this little pep talk to everyone because “no way could a little hog attack me.” Being a stubborn Navy SAR Diver, I asked the guide to point us in the direction and let us do a stalk hunt. The look on his face was just awful. As my father and I charged up the hill, I faintly heard our guide’s wish of “good luck” fade into the distance.
I nocked an arrow and we walked for hours, looking for trails and signs of hogs. How hard could it be to find tracks? These things destroy hundreds of acres of land and even eat fresh meat such as deer and other animals. At 8:15 a.m., I notice movement in the valley and, from the corner of my eye, I saw more movement. It was a whitetail deer cruising by. We stopped on what was clearly a game trail where heavy tracks made a blazing path in the thick woods of Upper New York State. The area we were hunting was primarily old evergreens, where many older logs had fallen. I remembered the guide saying that hogs love to lay under them for protection.
It felt like days of walking up and down the mountain with little sign of fresh tracks. But suddenly, we saw hogs running from the foot of the valley to the other side of the mountain. There were at least 30 little piglets and six boars of 150-300 pounds. We decided to split up and conduct a mini drive. My dad would go around the top of the mountain they just passed over, and I would go the opposite way to post. As my old man disappeared into the mountain, I could hear his footsteps crackling the ice and branches. I was trying to tip toe as I approached a fallen tree and was taken by surprise by three hogs bedded down. I couldn’t get a good visual to determine if they were mature hogs, so I continued on, paying more attention to fallen trees and brush piles. I could hear my dad in the distance, so I whistled my location.
I came upon another long, old log with a perfect cover of brush and limbs over it and thought there had to be a hog or two under it. Boy was I right; there were six to eight. I picked one of the larger ones and knew I wouldn’t get a better shot. The hog was trotting. I drew back and let an arrow fly, but I had clearly misjudged the distance. The arrow flew right over the hog’s head and, before I knew it, I was face to face with the 200 pound hog. As he trotted towards me, I could see my dad’s face in the distance and heard him yell, “shoot it, shoot it.”
I panicked for two seconds, knowing I couldn’t outrun this thing. There were too many fallen trees and branches, deep snow and mud banks to pull a Carl Lewis. My heart was racing. The hog must have heard my dad because it suddenly stopped at 30 yards. With my heart pounding, I tried to get a second arrow out of the quiver. I could barely hit a target at 20 yards with my new bow, and I had to hit a boar at 30 yards with my heart thumping and my hands sweaty. I pulled myself together, aimed and released an arrow. The hog let out this noise the entire mountain heard—a sound of desperate anger and defeat.
I killed my first hog and was both relieved and prouder than ever. With big smiles, my father and I exchanged high fives. This was no ordinary hog hunt; this was something special—a bond between father and son and the sacrifice of a hog for the meat and excitement.
Back at the cabin, news and much laughter spread fast about my close encounter with this hog. The ride home gave me time to reflect on the amazing weekend. To those who are thinking of going wild boar hunting, go for it. It’s a thrill you will never forget. Just listen and pay attention to your guide.
Jason Delgado is an avid angler, who also regularly pursues trophy game such as deer and bear. A member of the Union Sportsmen’s Alliance from Mason Tenders District Council PAC, this was his first wild boar hunt.