The Little Gal and I had big plans for spring hunting this year. We were going on two different spring break hog hunts, a youth turkey hunt and we were going to be doing some good ol’ Oklahoma fishing. These plans unfortunately had to be cancelled, put off and changed. The Little Gal’s grandpa, aka “Pops,” became extremely ill, had kidney failure and passed away. The Little Gal learned a lot from the loss and the brief interruption or “inside-outing” of our lives. She and I are gathering ourselves back together with the help of Hank. He’s been a rock throughout it all for the both of us. He’s re-scheduled a couple of our plans for later in the summer and is working on getting us back to “right-side out.”
Our Spring Break brought us a chance to reflect on last year’s vacation. We were in Oklahoma for the same sort of hunting and fishing. The Little Gal was excited, nervous and scared to be hunting a wild hog. She was, of course, an experienced big game huntress with a mule deer doe and a cow elk under her belt, but this hunt meant a little more to her. You see, we had already learned about Pops being sick. He was going to be seeing a natural healer and as offering he had to provide food. Pops indicated that he would like to take meat, and any meat taken had to be all natural. No hormones and not shots. He asked the Little Gal if she had any of her doe or elk to share and she did. Now, she hoped to add wild hog meat to his package to offer.
With guns, bows, fishing poles and luggage stowed, we safely made trip to Oklahoma. We helped our friend check his hog traps. He showed us the damage the hogs were doing to the land and showed us the massive trails they had made. We worked on some fishing. Then we checked traps again and then fished some more. The Little Gal was excited and having fun, but she wanted to know when she was going to get to hunt a hog. She was pretty urgent about wanting to get a hog to give to her Pops.
After a few days, we finally headed to a spot our friend had set up for her to hopefully shoot a hog. She was very nervous as we went to a trail where the hogs would be crossing from one field to another. We found a place with good cover and sat in the brush to wait.
The Little Gal trembled as she thought of the stories everyone had told her about hogs attacking. She shook and tried to remain calm. Hank and I sat on either side of her with our guns on hand just in case anything got out of control. We wanted to make sure, above all, the Little Gal was safe. You would think this would make a child more comfortable, but I’m pretty sure it did the opposite. She was worried we might shoot it before she could. We assured her that we would not shoot “her hog!”
Soon we heard a grunt and the Little Gal sat up. She leaned into her gun, which rested on her shooting sticks. She held a little too tight. We told her, “Here it comes.” She was frantic, whispering that she couldn’t see it. It ran past and sure enough, she couldn’t see it. She was just a little too low in the brush. We quickly stood her up and saw more hogs coming. She was pretty rattled after the first hog ran by so as this group came, we spent our time quietly trying to get her settled. She relaxed a bit and the last straggler of the group headed our way. She aimed her Benelli Super Black Eagle (20 ga.) as the hog came quickly. We weren’t sure if she was going to be able to shoot it on the run. Suddenly, there it was! BAM! She squeezed off a shot and hit that hog, “right in the goodies,” as she would say. With the hog’s momentum carrying it, it trotted a few steps farther and fell over in the tall grass.
Just like this year, the Little Gal overcame fear, learned a lot and grew as a person as well as huntress. She was very proud when Pops told her how much the Healer appreciated her donation. She also will forever be proud of her contribution to him through her hunting experiences.
Follow Mia and the Little Gal’s adventures off this site at Mia’s blog, My Many Outdoor Adventures.
This Retro WON was first published April 23, 2012.