WON Landing Page OCT 2022

Creating New Hunters with Beretta – Ladies Hog Hunt

It takes a little bit of bravery to go on your first hunt. It takes a lot of bravery to have your first hunt be a night hunt for hogs. I had the pleasure of taking a new hunter, along with two other ladies, on the annual Woods-N-Water hog hunt. I loaded up the truck with Tikka T3 rifles and brought along the A300 Ultima and the A400 Xtreme Plus just for fun. Nothing excites us more than sharing Beretta firearms with our guests. Beretta helps us create moments of belonging for new hunters. 

Sponsored by Beretta

This hunt is always a blast and fast. That is the best way to describe it. We arrive on Friday afternoon and the activities begin as soon as you get there. The first order of business is license checks and safety briefing. We unpacked the Tikka rifles and checked them at the shooting range. We have learned of over the years that it is very important to make sure our rifles are on target before heading to the woods.  The Tikka T3 hunter, chambered in .308, came outfitted with a Burris Eliminator scope. We love shooting the Tikka for its accuracy and smooth bolt action. The removable magazine also ranks as a favorite feature with our guests. 

A night hog hunt takes some prep work and education before heading out. We placed green lights atop each gun. These lights mount on top of the scopes and help with identifying the targets and shot placements in the dark. The shot placement for hogs is to shoot them behind the ears. New hunters need all this information to be successful. This also is a great time to ask questions and prepare for the evening. 

The Hog Hunt

I mentored Nicole for the first night. She has been an avid outdoor woman and loves fishing in the mountains of north Georgia, but this would be her first hunt ever. I am always excited when I get to teach and mentor someone new. Nicole had no expectations and no experience to draw on and she soaked all the information up like a sponge. Our guides drove us to our stands on various properties.  

Nicole and I arrived at a large tower stand with lots of room for two chairs. I took the time to show Nicole how to keep the gun on safety and practice muzzle control when climbing the stairs to the box stand. We always keep our firearms unloaded until we are ready to shoot.  We never climb a ladder up or down with a loaded firearm. 

Hog hunt

Each stand has a feeder on a timer that deploys corn at set time intervals during the hunt. We settled in and practiced pointing the rifles at the feeder area and ensured we could communicate when to shoot. I took the time to explain eye relief on the scope and how to work the action on the gun. As with most of our group hunts, we started a group text to communicate with everyone and check in on the hunt. Susan sat near by on the same property and Carissa was on a different tract of land. Everyone felt excited as the sun set and the night began to come. 

Night hunting for your first hunt is a sense overload. Even the most experienced hunter can see and hear the creatures of the night with a different perspective. There are sounds and movement that entice the ears from all directions. It truly is a different experience than hunting during daylight hours. Susan reported in that she could hear hogs making noises the woods, Carissa texted that she was moving to another stand, sneaking her way in the dark. She was fearless and willing to go the extra mile to get on the game. Our guides continued sending us tips and updates on feeder times. 

Nicole and I spent time whispering back and forth about hog hunting and planning the shots. We had two hogs come in as soon as the feeder went off. I instructed Nicole to ease her rifle out the window and point the green light into the sky as she turned it on. These hogs are educated, and you don’t want to spook them. The light came on and it hit the top of the window and spooked the hogs. Hearts pumping and feeling the shakes, we placed the gun on safety and discussed what happened. There are no missed shots here or missed opportunities. This is how hunting really can be. I like to create a teaching moment when all the plans and strategies go out the window.  

Hogs at the Feeder

Nicole thought it was exciting to see and hear the hogs. She got what I call the “full-on effect” – fingers shaking, heart beating fast and a close encounter with wildlife. The night ended with no hogs taken and some cold hunters ready for the nice warm beds at the lodge. 

Having a warm lodge, a fridge full of food and a hot fire are welcoming sights after freezing in a hunting stand for hours. The next morning, as we slowly arose to the smell of hot coffee, we took full advantage of having the lodge to ourselves, which meant coffee on the dock by the lake followed by some wet lines. The lodge touts a beautiful bass pond right off the back porch. The sun came out, along with breathtaking fog on top of the pond.

Shooting Clays

In the afternoon, we showcased the Beretta shotguns. The guides at Woods-N-Water always accommodate our schedule and help us teach others. We set up a shooting area for throwing some clays and readied the Beretta shotguns. I happily shared the features of the A300 Ultima and the A400 with the ladies. Nicole seemed eager to learn about loading, shouldering and shooting and we had her hitting targets within the first three shots. 

SHooting clays with beretta

Meanwhile, Susan tried the A300 Ultima, and she really liked the low recoil of the gun. After teaching and sharing each of the shotguns with everyone, I challenged Carissa to a shoot-off. We geared up and set the stage for a little friendly competition. Carissa sported the A300 Ultima while I chose the A400 Xtreme Plus. She got loaded and got the game started by yelling “Pull!” She had a couple of misses so I was thinking I would start ahead if I could just get one clay. Well, no such luck, turned out we both needed a few warmup shots. After the initial warmup, it was game on! We each shot three in a row and reloaded for total of 25 clays each. The A400 was the clear winner and Carissa wants a rematch! 

Shooting clays with the Beretta shotguns easily wound up as the highlight of the day. The shotguns cycled flawlessly and easily swung through shots to reach the flying targets. The low recoil makes it fun to shoot many boxes of shells with no issues. The sheer quality of the Berettas impressed all of us. 

We cleaned up the clay course in the late afternoon and packed up for our second night of hog hunting. I chose to put Nicole back in the same stand and pushed her to go it alone. At first, she seemed apprehensive, but I assured her she could do it and I had faith in her abilities. The night before she learned how to walk into the stand safely and was able to see how the hogs sneak out into the feeder areas. As a mentor, I gauge a mentee’s ability to be safe and execute safe firearm practices before I set her out on her own. 

Hog hunt Tikka

I hunted a tower tripod stand near a swamp. Although I walked a long way to get set up and I could hear hogs all around me, they wouldn’t come into the feeder area. Susan reported in the group text seeing 20-to-30 hogs running into her feeder all at once and causing a ruckus. She was not able to find a way to take a shot because they were running all over one another trying to get to the feed. She said it was crazy exciting to see. At the end of the evening Nichole felt proud of herself for making through the night alone in the stand. She said it really helped her overcome some fear and build confidence in her own abilities to go hunt more on her own. That, right there, was all I needed to hear. I am sure there are future hunting trips in our future. When I say this weekend is a fast-and-a-blast, I seriously mean it. Sunday drives home are long and hard. 

Creating Moments of Belonging

There is nothing I enjoy more than sharing the outdoors with others. Creating a moment of belonging for Nicole on her first hunt was made possible by our outfitter partner, Woods-N-Water Services, and our firearm partner Beretta. I received a thank you email from Nicole after the hunt. I love getting emails from past guests. She felt thrilled to have experienced hunting and learning to shoot. She also totally gets it that not all hunts end with a harvest. She compared it to fishing not being called “catching.” The Beretta shotgun experience boosted her confidence and became a huge highlight of the trip. She said the gun felt lighter than expected, along with it being easy to load, hold, aim and shoot. She even added that she felt comfortable with it on her own by the end of the shooting event.  

Patience and willingness come to mind when taking a new shooter or hunter afield. The bravery and courage these ladies have when hog hunting at night is impressive. I am sure they will come back and try again. Now, if the hogs will just cooperate! 

  • About Amy Ray

    Amy Ray is the owner of The Sisterhood Of The Outdoors, an organization that creates opportunities for women to hunt, shoot and fish. Amy is a pro-staff shooting instructor with Shoot Like A Girl. Amy is certified as an NRA pistol instructor and Refuse to Be A Victim instructor. As a member of the Freedom Hunters advisory board, she helps to expand hunting opportunities for servicewomen, Gold Star wives and daughters of fallen heroes. She also is an avid hunter and shooter and loves mentoring others in the outdoors.