Spot On Outdoors
Lights, camera, action!
Purveyors of technical gear for the modern day hunter.
Over the last week and a half of capturing intel with my game camera, the SD card revealed that this particular game trail was getting consistent usage every night between the hours of 7-11 pm.
Tonight, I was set up on the ground in a dense portion of a river bottom approximately 30 yards away from a feeder armed only with my 12ga Benelli Nova pump loaded with 2.75” slugs. Talk about getting up close and personal.
So far this humid night, my hog light had already gone from 30 to 100% close to 5 or 6 times already due to several raccoon’s that were doing their best Ocean’s 13 on my feeder. (Note to self: Install a varmint cage under feeder.) One thief climbed up and was spinning the thrower by hand in order to get more corn on the ground for his eagerly accomplices.
My excitement level decreased each time the false alarm was triggered by their movement. But then, in an instant, that all suddenly changed.
In the silence of an already still night I heard the most imperceptible grunt of a swine that preceded the final full illumination of this intruder. This was it.
My heartbeat thundered in my ears as the adrenaline surge exploded throughout my body, elevating all my senses simultaneously to DEFCON 1. The moment of truth had arrived. The scouting, planning and setting up according to the wind direction all collided together in this one inevitable moment. Like the scene out of Bad Boys 2, “sh*t just got real.”
Full discloser: I am not what you would call a seasoned hog hunter by any stretch of the imagination. In actuality, I’m an ex-jock that moved from Cleveland, OH to Fort Worth, TX back in 1985 on a basketball scholarship playing for the Texas Wesleyan Rams. (BTW. This 2017 season we just won our 2nd NAIA national championship.)
Growing up, all I knew or wanted to do was play basketball and fish. In grade school during the summers my mom would drop me off at the state park armed only with fishing poles, tackle box and a cooler and pick me up after work. What could possibly go wrong? (Today she would have been reported to CPS.)
My freshman year in college a teammate of mine, Mark “Hosehead” Johnston from Oregon, introduced me to dove hunting and from that moment on, I was hooked. I began dove, quail, deer hunting with rifle and bow, turkey hunting, and then it happened; I got a black Labrador pup in 1988. That was a turning point. Until recently, 90% of my hunting from this point on was primarily for ducks & geese.
I became obsessed. If I wasn’t hunting waterfowl I was training dogs and running them in HRC hunt tests in a 3-state area. I became quite good at both and decided to start running my own duck hunting guide service - Four Curl Nation. Why “four” curls you ask? Well, a male Mallard (Drake. No, not the singer.) will have a curl or two on the end of its tail feathers. If you were to down a greenhead with say three curls, that would be considered something pretty special. High fives all around! But, if you ever were lucky enough to harvest one with four curls, that my friend, was really rare and unique. Kinda like how I conducted my guide service. Anywho…
I’d still be guiding duck hunts today but recently, two things happened: My youngest daughter just provided me with my first grandchild (I’m really not that old. Just got started at a young age.) and, one of my fellow guides told me about a friend of his that was having some awesome hog lights manufactured. My 20+ years in sales recognized the opportunity and reflecting on the 3-4 months of being away from my family every weekend made the decision easy. I had a good run, now it’s on to something new and entirely different.
I’m no internet guru. I am not well versed in the realm of ecommerce or social networking. I’m an ex-jock. But this I do know, I am a competitor and a quick study. I view this chapter in my life as just another challenge. Kinda like when I was told my senior year in high school that I better just get a job because we couldn’t afford college and I was too slow, too short and not good enough to get a basketball scholarship. Wait, hold my beer…
I took a year off and moved to Florida because I knew I could practice practically year round down there. I got a full time job driving a forklift at a local lumberyard, worked 7-4 would go home and eat, then played ball or worked out till 11 or so. I religiously did this for an entire year. Long story short, my efforts and improvements were recognized and rewarded when I was eventually offered a full ride. No visit. Nothing. I had to commit sight unseen on the phone. I did it. One of the best decisions of my life.
I have killed smaller hogs before while hunting from an elevated tree stand. Once, my son and I even ran with the dogs armed only with a Bowie knife. (What the hell was I ever thinking?) But tonight, this was going to be different. This boar was enormous. Much larger than any I had previously recorded on any of my other game cameras. (My close proximity generated 2nd note to self: find out if my insurance is up to date and what exactly is covered and not covered.)
He appeared out of the pitch black backdrop without warning. With nary a snapping twig or crunching leaf, he inaudibly made his way out of the thick underbrush along the water, plodding purposefully yet unknowingly toward his last meal.
The green light going from 30-100% illumination in the “kill zone” had zero effect on this bruiser as he triggered the motion sensor, while at the same time allowing me to easily identify my target - his massive dome. “Aim small miss small” rang in my head. My aim was steady and breathing was surprisingly normal as I gently eased off the safety. He stood broadside between me and the feeder with his head down, focusing on his forage a mere 25 yards away.
My bead was on his brain as I unleashed the 1oz slug at 1800 fps downrange toward its target. The shot shattered the silence while the barrel flash unfocused my vision for the briefest of moments. At such close range, with the energy of 3,100 ft-lbs, the slug entered and exited its mark in an instant. This brute was dead before he hit the ground.
I had done it. I executed a clean and humane kill of a massive boar at close range with somewhat primitive weaponry compared to what’s currently available today for those with deep pockets. If I had to guess, I’d put him at 225-250 lbs. My appreciative landowner and his family and friends will now have Carnitas for days! Time to eat…
I hope you enjoyed my story as much as I enjoy using all the equipment that I currently offer in the “everyman’s” quest to partake in hog & predator hunting without having to break the bank.
Don’t get me wrong, night vision and thermal optics definitely have their place and one day, maybe sooner than later, I will also provide some reasonably priced equipment to my fellow hunters on a budget. Until then, browse my site, follow me on my Spot On Outdoors facebook page and leave your email to stay up to date with any specials we may be running.
Thanks for joining me on this nighttime outdoor hunting adventure!
Take care and God bless.
Dan Mikals - Owner
Spot On Outdoors – Hog Lights, Gun/Bow Lights & Game Cameras
“Put one in the ear and save the meat.”
P.s. I believe my high quality low/cost product offerings will definitely benefit every hunter. Your hunts will increasingly be more effective and rewarding. Be sure to poke around my site for any offer that may be of interest to you. Need something that isn’t available? Reach out to me and let me know, I will do my best to research and fulfill it for you.