Spring turkey hunting in Mississippi usually provides all the excitement a hunter can handle. Throw in a bonus hog hunt, and the combination quickly became both sweet and sour.
“Tom, I love hunting turkeys, but if I am flying south this spring, I want to go after some wild hogs too!” I was talking to my Mississippi friend, Tom Wiley, brand manager and inventor of Flextone Game Calls, which is owned by Wildgame Innovations. Wiley had invited me to chase some spring gobblers with him.
“Well, I’m happy to hear that,” Tom answered. “I love hunting hogs and the meat is delicious. Besides, the turkeys aren’t cooperating for me much this year. They will be tough.”
When I arrived, Tom told me he had some new Barnett crossbows we needed to try out. We couldn’t use them for turkeys, but since we had some depredation permits for a local landowner, we could use the crossbows to take down some hogs.
I was excited. The plan was set: shotgun for turkeys in the mornings and crossbow for hogs in the evenings—the perfect combination.
Noxubee County, Mississippi, has a reputation for holding lots of hogs, especially along the hardwood bottomland around Yellow Creek. Tom easily lined up a hunt for wild boars on a 2,000 acre ranch that was managed for whitetails and wild turkeys. The ranch owner was eager for us to kill the porker pests. The hogs were ripping up deer bedding areas and food sources, which was booting off some of his whitetail population.
In the days prior to the hunt, Tom had set up some ladder stands and loaded some feeders with corn that was enhanced with Wildgame Innovations’ Intensi-Fire, a feeder additive/attractant used to jump-start the use of the feeders. The feeders were set to go off every 30 minutes from 5:30 p.m. until dark. Additionally, Tom also piled up Wildgame Innovation’s Hog Heaven granular scent attractant and poured sweet-and-soured corn-flavored Pig Lickor, which is a liquid attractant poured on the ground around the feeders. I liked the idea of getting into a treestand during the green months of spring. A 20-foot-high seat would command a great springtime view.
Don’t think hunting hogs baited by a feeder is no challenge. Hogs have great snouts and can smell danger. It’s definitely not a sure thing that hogs show up every day, or will let their guard down long enough to present a good shot. In addition, we added challenge to our hunt by choosing a crossbow. But after just one afternoon of crossbow practice, I was confident with the Barnett crossbow out to 35 yards.
We only had 2 days to hunt, and we hit it hard. Turkey hunting was indeed difficult. We hit the woods from sun-up until 1:00 p.m. both mornings, but saw and heard very little action.
The first afternoon of hog hunting was also uneventful for me. I just starred at a spouting feeder. However, while walking to his treestand, Tom did see a giant 350-pounder. The boar was so big that Tom had to do a double-take to convince himself the black blob in front of him was a wild pig. But Tom never had a shot at the beast. The pig never turned broadside, and Tom didn’t want to take a risky shot with a crossbow while standing on the ground less than 20 yards away. Skewered porkers can get ornery. But soon the monster winded him and bolted down the gully.
On the 2nd afternoon, Tom gave me the spot where he saw the heavy-duty pig. With just an hour left of shooting light, a decent hog appeared from the thick pine trees. This pig immediately sank its snout into a pile of corn soaked in Pig Lickor. It was nervously looking back in the woods, like it was stealing his big brother’s dinner and didn’t want to get caught. My hopes were that the giant boar from the day before would come out to kick this one’s butt and start eating up the smorgasbord lying on the ground. Then maybe I’d get a shot and the whooper.
But that perfect scenario never became reality. Instead, the good-sized 130-pounder just kept crunching away. With just 10 minutes until quitting time, the hog turned and presented a shot. I released the bolt from the Barnett Revolution and it jolted the four-legged porker.
With little light to navigate, wet swamps and thick pines, we had a 4-hour tracking job. I missed the vitals, but sliced open a main artery. We had a good blood trail, so we kept bumping the pig and pushing him to bleed out. Then we got lucky and heard the hog blow and cough, near a deep creek. We figured he was bedded down and about to expire. So we backed off and planned to recover him at first light.
Early the next morning we found our prize and celebrated. We ended the hunt without a wild turkey, which left a sour taste in my mouth. But when the freezer is filled with plenty of pork sausage, life is sweet. With the help of a good friend, I got the taste of Southern-fried hog hunting. And to top it off, it was my first crossbow kill. I hope that more of both will follow in the years ahead.
If you are after a Southern-state hunting experience, Mississippi is your ticket. The state has a bounty of public and private land hunts, with high population of deer, wild turkey and waterfowl. But while you’re at it, ask the guide, outfitter, or landowner about a bonus hog hunt. Most landowners do not like hogs on their property, and permission to hunt them is fairly easy to come by. Hog hunting is definitely an exciting adventure, plus removing destructive hogs helps in the never-ending task of wildlife management and conservation.