Just back yesterday from our annual hog hunting trip to Georgia. This was also our second time sponsoring a deserving veteran, this time an Army Sergeant severely injured in Afghanistan and still on active duty. Kudus, again, to "Operation Second Chance" with their help in securing our special guest as well as flying him from Walter Reed to Georgia to hunt with us. They even supplied an escort who picked him up at the closest airport and stayed with us for the hunt (he also chose to hunt, himself).
As a part of the free four day hunt we supplied to our guest, we also provided him with a brand new rifle as part of his gift hunt, which was a surprise for him when he arrived at camp. I had told our guest that he didn't need to go through the hassle of flying down with a rifle and that we would provide him with a "loaner" for the hog hunt. His gift rifle was a Winchester M70 Featherweight in '06 topped with a Leupold VX2 3-9x40. We also brought along 4 boxes of ammo, a proper airline approved case and soft case for him to use and take home.
The hunt itself proved to be something of a challenge, with hog sightings being fewer than in some previous years. We chose to hunt at the times the trail cams were getting the majority of pictures, so we hunted from late afternoon well into evening hours utilizing rifle mounted lights. We had some sightings and shot possibilities, but everyone held off hoping either for a better shot angle or larger hog. As the days counted down, we were finally at our last night's hunt and still hog-less. As we all kept our fingers crossed hoping our Army Sergeant would get an opportunity at what would be his first ever hog, I finally received a text message (iffy at best in that area) as I hunted that last night saying our guest had connected!
As excited as I was to get back and celebrate with him after his harvest, we ended up cutting our hunt a bit short to go back to the cabin. Another message was received saying the escort had also had a shot that evening. Unfortunately it turned out that his shot did not connect. Our guest took a nice hog of about 180 pounds (see below) and since he was flying home, a Buddy that accompanied me down to Georgia ended up taking all the meat from the hog he got home with him. He is actually still en route back to Wisconsin today.
Even tho that turned out to be the only hog taken by our group, we all agreed it could not have been a better hunt. Our guest had to work hard to finally whack his first ever hog and I doubt he will ever forget the long sits and work he put in to do that. And yes, he was totally floored when handed the M70 that first evening and told it was his to take home with him after the hunt. He sat holding and looking at that rifle for a couple hours as we talked afterwards.
I will try to update with additional pics as we get some uploaded.