-By Brandon Wikman
The sunshine state has a mess of gators, flocks of thriving turkey and an abundance of whitetail deer, but if you want something you can hunt all year round... hog hunting is where it’s at.
There are several methods of hunting these swamp ridden, smelly creatures, but I was fortunate enough to do it in style: swamp-buggy style. For a typical Floridian hunter, this vehicle is just another form of transportation through the flood plains and marshes of the central backwaters, but for me it was a totally new experience.
With over 3-ft tall tires, a 350 Chrysler engine, equipped with no brakes and fully wrapped with green metal construction, the swamp buggy was made swamp tough. We drove through green fields and tall, grassy plains in search of hogs. Since the platform lofted the driver and passengers10-ft off the ground, we had a vantage point that let us see distant stretches of land and easily locate a small group of hogs.
As we tore through the palmetto bushes, we stopped to take a look at some hog remnants. Destruction was the only word that detailed the mass obliteration of the once healthy forest floor. The landscape looked like a farmer dropped his plow, sunk blades deep in the soil and turned it over. Hogs dig up soil in search of bugs, plants and roots. The damage can be devastating, especially when a group gangs together to feed. This was the primary reason I was invited to hunt hogs for the weekend. Their overabundance destroys the ecosystem.
Evening began slowly closing as light faded. It seemed as if a hog alarm clock buzzed and all of a sudden, no matter where you looked, hogs were everywhere. It was literally hog heaven! I jumped off the swamp buggy after pinpointing a mature hog and edged my way across the field into a cedar head for my first stalk. On my hands and knees crawling through muddy slime, I cut the distance between us and the hogs remained completely oblivious to the fact that I was there. The mosquitoes were horrendous and left me wincing as I tried to remain quiet. It was as if a swarm of bugs scattered each time I took a step and crunched down a patch of grass. I propped my gun on my shooting sticks and smacked the crosshairs right on the shoulder of the plumpest one. They remained occupied feeding their face, as pigs usually do. I gently eased back the trigger and fired a bullet into the vitals of my first hog.
Trekking through marshy grasses gave me the chills as I walked en route to the mature sow. The thought of snakes, spiders or any other squirmy creatures that call this place home made me think twice about taking a few good photos with my prize. Thankfully, we were able to snap a few stellar photos, pick up the pig as quickly as we could and hop back on the swamp buggy.
Traveling to the land of hogs was a thrilling experience. Hog hunting is a great opportunity to get your son, daughter or the entire family involved in. It’s a high-octane, fast-paced, run and gun style of hunting, just the way I like it!