We just returned from our 5th trip to Wrightsville, Ga. and our annual hog hunt in that area. Actually, one of our group is still enroute home today, finishing his long trip back to Wisconsin. As always, we had a great time hunting with Blaine Burley and Woods N Water at his camp just outside Wrightsville.His lease holdings are now near 3,000 acres total in the area, scattered throughout two counties there. Our group was a total of six this time, with four of us hunting for four full days and two hunting for two days.
We also had a very special guest with us this trip. Brian is a Marine who was seriously wounded in Nov '11 in Afghanistan. When I learned from my daughter about the incident which caused him to have his right leg amputated above the knee after an explosion encountered while on patrol, I decided to invite him to join us as our guest on our annual hunt. I also invited Brian's Dad to join us as well. A suggestion from an acquaintance also led to my decision to make a new rifle part of the free hunt for our guest and I ended up receiving donations from individuals in 10 different states to help cover the cost of the new Ruger M77in 30/06 and new Leupold VX2 3-9x40.
Our first morning hunt was slow with only one very small hog seen by the group and no shots fired. The first evening hunt had almost everyone seeing hogs and one nice meat hog of about 85 pounds being taken by the youngest member of our group, my friend Don's 17 yr old son, on his very first hog hunt ever. The second morning hunt produced our biggest morning hog ever when my friend Al took a big 220 pound boar that was absolutely covered with battle scars. The newer hunters among our group were very impressed with the 1+" shield this boar had on him. Al killed him with a .35 Whelen shooting a 225gr Sierra at 60 yards, breaking both shoulders, but not exiting the stiff offside shield.
Brian had no idea that he was to also receive a rifle to go along with his hunt and I enjoyed immensely watching his reaction at lunch on day 2 when I brought the new rifle, scope, gun case, knife and 3 boxes of ammo out to give to him. After checking out his new combo, he immediately asked if he could shoot and finish sighting in the rifle (I had gotten it on paper already) and then proceeded to get the rifle readied for the evening's hunt. That evening Brian's Dad took a large black sow of around 200 pounds at about 100 yards (see pics). We were all up early the next AM after our late evening hunt, but no hogs were taken that morning.
We went to a new spot that evening and set up around a 400 acre peanut field (four hunters). Brian and his Dad hunted together from a ground blind and at about 6:15-6:30 a nice big brownish sow fell to a 175 yard shot from Brian's new rifle! That big sow never took another step after being hit with the 180gr MRX bullet. The next few hours saw no more sightings save for the 3 hogs I saw feeding about 150 yards away, but I passed hoping for a larger one to show itself. The next morning hunt was our coolest morning, but no shooter hogs showed themselves. On our final evening hunt, our Marine took two more nice sized meat hogs, one shot each, with his new Ruger. What a grand end to an absolutely great hunt!! Brian and his Dad had to end up going into town to buy another cooler in order to get all their meat back home to Tennessee.
All told, our group of six saw four of us getting hogs. My friend Don from Wisconsin & I did not harvest a hog, but we did have opportunities to take some nice meat hogs. We chose to wait for a real buster to show, but as sometimes is the way with hunting, none showed. Of course, my lack of success could in no way subtract from the great hunt we had with two first time hog hunters able to harvest, our special Marine guest among them! It was an absolutely great hunt and one I will never, ever forget!