The Old Days
As I started to pen this story I realized how much hunting has changed, at least for me. For example, when I decided to go wild boar hunting back in 1982 I could not jump on the internet and do research. It may have been invented or not, but at any rate it wasn’t available to the public. There was not the plethora of hunting shows like there are today so we did not even have that to fall back on. As a side note, I recall the hunting shows back then did not show the kill shots. Just was not acceptable for television to show kill shots.
So how did old guys like me find out about out-state-hunts? We gleaned the back pages of hunting magazines like Field and Stream for the outfitter advertisements. It was in the back pages that I found Caryonha Hunting Lodge located in Crossville, Tennessee and advertising wild boar that were a mixture of the famed Russian boar and southern “razorback” boars. I really did not know much about Africa and its game, but I did know about the reputation of wild boars so for me, this was dangerous game and I wanted to go.
I suggested to my father and brother that we go to Tennessee to do the hunt and they agreed. We booked reservations and soon headed south for the lodge. Before we get to the actual hunt, I should let you know a little about my dad.
My dad is the one that introduced me to firearms and hunting. From a very young age I was taught gun safety and admonished never to point a gun in the direction of a person unless I intended to use it and that a gun was always loaded. Yes, not only was I taught gun safety, I was taught that the gun was a tool not only for hunting but for personal defense. Life was far less politically correct in the “old” days.
Dad also prided himself on his marksmanship skills and hunting opportunities were limited so he was excited about our hunting trip.
We arrived at the lodge the day before the hunt and got settled him. Dinner was in the main lodge and was family style. It was wonderful to eat a meal with other hunters and surrounded by numerous mounts decorating the lodge. The conversation was as hearty as the food and I ate both right up.
The plan the next day was for me to sit on a ridge and try to intercept a hog that might sneak away while the guide took my father and brother to find a hog with the hounds. It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed sitting on the ridge in the sun listening to the hounds baying and wondering how the hunt was going.
Sure enough, a large black boar came up the road beneath the ride where I was position. I got excited and picked up my .30-.30 Winchester rifle and was ready to shoot the hog, but I realized that he was taking his time and did not know I was above him ready to spray lead. This gave me an opportunity to pick up my camera, no not digital, remember this is the “old” days and take photographs of him.
After snapping some pictures, I decided that instead of my rifle, since he was only about 25 yards away, I would use my 9 mm pistol that I also brought along for the trip. I took aim and squeezed the trigger. I know I made a good shot, but the hog barely flinched and kept right on walking. I was calm, but now my adrenaline was pumping and my hands were shaking as I took the second shot.
It was not a very good shot, but I thought I did hit him. Talking to myself I told myself to calm down and focus. I did and made a second “good” shot, but the hog again barely flinched. This time, he only took a few steps and fell over dead. Upon inspection, two of my bullets landed right behind the shoulder and the second shot which I knew was bad hit him in the near front leg.
I caught up with my brother and dad. My brother was successful so it was now my dad’s turn. After gutting our hogs the three of us headed at with the guide to get my dad a hog. This is where the story takes an unfortunate down turn.
While the guide got my dad on several hogs, my dad, using a military .30-06 with open sights missed the opportunities. My dad, the marksman, was not having a good day and he was getting frustrated.
Finally, after a disappointing day of misses my dad connected, but the damage was done. My dad was deflated because he had missed so many times and his friends back home razzed him about it. This part of story does have a later happy ending, but I will leave it for another story.
So, like so many others, one of the fondest memories I have of my dad is a hunting trip we shared. Reading stories on this site about other family hunting trips makes realize how important hunting is, not only in terms of a sport or hobby, but a way of life for families. Hunting is a way of life that bonds them together with a common fabric of getting outdoors and chasing, but not always “catching game.
One final footnote, be sure to check out my dad’s hunting attire. Now if that is not old school, I do not know what is.