When my brother and I lit a shuck out of the local welfare office, we ultimately ended up down in Virginia first. We eventually worked our way down to Florida however, and laid out some pretty shallow roots there, though we did stop long enough to meet some new people and make some new friends. Among the joys that we discovered down in Florida, was the ability to hunt wild boars in the many swamplands that were liberally dotting the state.
If I remember correctly, the biggest deer that had been hunted in Florida while I was there, tagged in at somewhere around eighty-four pounds … before it was even dressed. Since the last deer I had bagged and tagged had dressed out at about two hundred and six pounds, this seemed like something of a waste of time.
However, the wild boar in Florida were not at all shy and they were quite capable of hunting the hunter if he was careless, making this a far more intriguing means of spending our time out in the swamps.
To be fair, there was a local group up around St. Augustine who had introduced us to the joys of wild boar hunting in the swamps surrounding the local area. Some of them seemed to be decent people of a sorts, and some, well … we would say that, all things being equal, they were not worth the cost of the powder and lead to get rid of them, but … such is life anywhere I suppose.
There are good and bad people everywhere I have ever been, so it should not come as any shock that even among people who share similar interests, there would be those with whom I would still disagree vehemently. In this particular case, it happened to be someone who hunted with dogs, which in itself was not a problem, but the way he did it particularly irked me.
His idea of finding good hunting dogs was to go down to the local pound where he would collect a dozen or so dogs that were about to be euthanized. From that respect, I had enough hope to continue listening, but what he did next appalled me almost as much as euthanizing the dogs because of the actions of a bunch of ignorant people in most cases.
In his case, he would turn the dogs loose on the hogs, and those that lived long enough, would eventually become good pig hunting dogs. Now there are arguments both for and against such behavior, especially given the inevitable euthanizing of the dogs to begin with, but it just seemed particularly cruel to me.
The fellow who introduced us to the world of wild boar hunting in Florida preferred the shotgun … as did I. We had ended up working alongside this group when we first arrived in Florida merely by chance, but this one fellow and I struck up a particularly good friendship and we began going out hunting on a regular basis. He used to laugh at me however, as I would always carry two backup pistols in addition to the shotgun.
He presumed this to be an unnecessary additional weight and a practice which he scorned as “unsporting” … though I could just as easily argue the same for the shotguns. Shotgun slugs are not particularly accurate even with the best of shooters. A distance of thirty meters may see the very same shot with the very same rounds produce a three inch spread easily … far too large a spread to make it comfortable as an accurate round … and much too large a spread to be comfortable taking out two hundred pounds of raging boar lunging at you from a dead run.
If you think you can just shoot the boar “right between the eyes” and be done with it, you are actually incorrect on two accounts. First, it would be difficult to take such a shot … though certainly not impossible … while the boar is charging you. Second, the boars have a double skull so it is actually necessary to hit just above and right between the eyes, and with a downward angle to prevent the shot from merely being deflected away, inflicting a severely sore flesh wound and greatly increasing the wrath and anger of the wild boar being pursued … or more likely, actively pursuing you at this stage of the hunt.
In short, I felt quite justified in carrying my pistols as a backup, though he strongly disagreed from the beginning.
On one particular occasion, my friend had informed me that he was going hunting that weekend and invited me along. As I had already made arrangements to take my truck down to a local mudhole for a weekend of frolicking in the mud, I was unable to go with him. I did have a great time at the mudhole though, even managing to get my brother and his truck stuck once, and getting mine stuck a few times, going places I knew full well it would never get through … but being compelled to try regardless of the limitations of the physics involved in such matters.
Wind those experiences up with a good steak, some oysters and shrimp and crab on the barbecue with some ice cold beer and a night under the stars and it makes for a pretty rewarding and satisfying weekend. Come Monday morning however, it was back to work as usual.
I had intended on asking my friend how his hunting trip had gone, but he did not show up for work. I had quite a few tales to share with him, and thought perhaps I could swing by his house on the way home with a sack full of fresh oysters and a case of beer … which I proceeded to do, stopping and buying the oysters rather than going out and fetching them myself, it being a Monday and all.
Oddly enough though, when I got to his house, he was not home. This was most definitely not like him, but my brother and I had a good time with the oysters and beer and scarcely thought anymore about it … though Tuesday came and went and we still had not heard nary a peep from our friend … and now we were starting to worry a bit. Fortunately however, all of our questions would soon be answered, much to the chagrin of our newfound friend down in Florida.
Come Wednesday morning, we lit out for work same as always, and were much relieved to see the truck of our friend sitting out at the job site where it had not been the previous couple of days. Getting out to meet him, he looked for all the world like he had been shot at and missed and shit at and hit … to say he looked haggard would have been a major compliment, unworthy of his truly emaciated and rankled state of being at that time.
It would not be until that evening, over burgers and a beer that we would finally get him to tell us what happened, but so noteworthy was his tale, that it deserves a spot in this book of tall tales.
It would seem as if he had come across a particularly large and aggressive boar. He claims it was well over three hundred pounds of gristle, muscle, tusks and ‘tude … attitude that is. That old boar had not made any bones about his presence and had merely seen our friend as an intruder meriting riddance … and proceeded to charge him without warning … and at an amazing speed … as boars are wont to do in the swamps.
He did manage to get off a shot and he actually did hit that old boar right between the eyes he claims. We kind of came away believing him too, after the part of the story that he told us next. Since his shotgun was an older model, and had to have a new round physically jacked into the chamber in order to fire again, he had only had time to get off a single shot before the boar was nigh on upon him.
As such, he did the only reasonable thing any man could do under similar circumstances.
He shinnied up the nearest tree that he could find … right quick by his own accounts … so quick in fact, that he had dropped his shotgun getting up there. From that vantage point, he claims he had indeed verified his shot had hit that boar square between the eyes … and had creased a bloody furrow right up his scalp … so far as it went before the round had merely ricocheted away, leaving the boar sorely peeved and anxious to open up its own can of whoopins on our friend.
So intent was that boar on getting his revenge, that he had stayed up under that tree for three days, snortin’ and pawin’ and even punting at the tree with his head, trying to shake and pry our friend loose from his perch. As best as we can figure, that old boar merely got hungry and wandered off to find an easier bite to eat while he was waiting, and our friend had taken advantage of that opportune moment to shit and get on down the road … quickly as he could before that old boar came back.
Funny thing though, he never would answer me about the new shoulder holster he had the next time we went hunting, or the pistol he now kept as a back up every time we went back out into the swamp.
Let us know what you think please!