Hello All!

I just wanted to take this time to fill you all in on my last hunt of the 2001 season.  I was lucky again!  This time it was a 55 lb razorback sow.

 You all might be aware that I fell off a ladder 5 weeks ago and shattered my left elbow, so this hunt was really difficult.  My arm is in a soft cast and is bent at 65.  (I have nine stainless steel screws and a stainless steel strap in my arm.)  It turned out to be real convenient that I had given my buddy "Lucky Cole" a present of a double wide ladder tree stand.  Lucky lives in the middle of the Everglades and I had had my son's and their friend Omar set this stand right behind Lucky's house in the middle of a hardwood hammock.  (High ground in the swamp and thick with trees.)  This meant that I only had to walk about 100 yards behind our pop-up camper and Lucky's house to get to this stand.

 My three sons, Chuck, Mike and Wesley (from Texas) went out with me on this hunting trip to Lucky's in the swamp.  (Mike and Wesley have yet to kill either a deer or a pig.)  This has a some to do with being in the right place at the right time and a lot of luck!  I was hoping that they would get something, but it did not work out that way.

 Well my sons went off a quarter of a mile away to where Chuck had gotten that big 180 lb razorback boar a few weeks ago and I took a leisurely stroll in the back yard.  We kept in contact with our Motorola Talk-Abouts and ear microphones.  I carefully climbed the ladder stand (with one hand) and sat in the tree stand and waited for the sun to come up.  It was cool in the 50 temperature range, but the mosquitoes were still out and my Bug Tamer suit came in real handy. 

 I also had decided to use my low recoil Ruger 44 Magnum Carbine so I would not tear anything loose using my normal .338 Winchester Magnum.  This turned out to be a good choice.  I had never shot anything with this carbine (but paper) and was very shocked at how destructive a 44 Magnum 240 Grain Copper Jacketed Hollow Point can be!

 I sat up in the total darkness listening to the frogs, alligators, water birds, otters and who knows what else.  Finally the sun started coming up and the hammock started to come alive with it.  I have never hunted inside a hammock and was amazed at the activity as the sun comes up.  (I was in full camo and a still as a rock.)  The first movement on the ground that I saw was birds.  Regular birds!  Cardinals, Bluejays, Sparrows and numerous others that I had never seen before.  They were running back and forth on the ground!  (I guess in this thick hammock it was easier to run than fly.)  Then a squirrel jumped from about 4 feet over my head in the tree and climbed down to run the birds away from his stash in the dirt right in front of me.  (He never saw me!)  He sat there and chattered at them twitching his tail.  Satisfied, he started climbing right back towards me.  I decided that I did not want a scared, pissed off chattering squirrel running up my body so I moved to make sure he saw me.  He finally did an gave me a wide berth.

 I found that I really only had two small lanes of fire through the overhanging growth.  One was about a 6' High by 2' Wide hole SW of me at about 15 to 20 yards, the other was right in front of me in the trail where the squirrel went.  A little trimming could improve this significantly, but for now, this was all that I had.  I would have to be alert and make quick decisions.  I also could not steady my carbine with my broken left hand for very long before it throbbed, but I was out in the woods hunting even if I did have to make a one handed shot!

 At 7:40 AM I caught a flash of black out of the corner of my eye moving through the thick stuff.  I smoothly got the carbine at the ready and a small (but legal) razorback pig came into view in the 6' fire lane to my SW.  The problem was that the pig was crossing the lane from left to right!  This was the two foot wide section!  Luckily, it turned and started walking up the trail away from me.  I only had one quick shot and I took it!  It was as the pig was quartering away from me, so I aimed for the heart and squeezed the trigger.   Boom!  The pig went down squealing like mad in the brush.  I could see what looked like an 8" patch of red, but could not make out what it was.  (I thought I have evisceated the pig or it was a bloody tongue.)  Whatever it was, I did not want to tear up this little pig any more than necessary.  I kept the carbine trained on the pig for about 20 seconds until the squealing stopped and the pig stopped moving.  As soon as I lowered the gun, the pig jumped up and ran of to my left!  I popped off two quick shots, but never cut a hair.  I heard the pig crashing through the brush and hit the water.  Damn!

 I waited 10 minutes instead of 20 or 30 because I was afraid the alligators would get the pig and climbed down out of the stand.  I walked over to where I shot the pig and looked for a blood trail.  Nothing!  I couldn't find anything!  It was as if it had never happened.  I checked my compass and saw that he had run off towards the SE, so I started working my way in that direction looking for the pig.  I spent an hour looking for this thing until I ended up back behind Lucky's house.  Disgusted at myself I went up and asked Lucky if he saw a pig run by his house.  Lucky said no and was surprised to hear what had happened.  He said "There was such a long pause between the first shot and the next two, that I thought you had shot at another animal." 

 Well, Lucky said that he was going to get out of his sleeping attire and help me scour the area.  We went back to where I had shot the pig.  This time I got real close to the ground and found what looked like the seeds out of a tomato.  It was from the pigs stomach.  I looked a little closer at the leaves on some sprouts near the ground and saw some watered down blood.  A very small amount!  This time we searched side by side and finally found a 55 lb sow in the water not more than 30 feet from Lucky's back step.

 Lucky dragged back to his house for me and we looked at the wound.  It was horrendous!  The entrance wound was 4 to 5" in diameter and there were 6 ' of his intestines outside of the wound.   After dressing and skinning this pig, we found that the hollow point had hit the pig in the right side of his abdomen.  The bullet caused a spout of intestines to rip this 5" hole in it's hide on their way out.  The bullet continued to travel through the stomach, heart, left lung, the 7th rib and then lodge in the thick hide.  How this pig had the strength to get back up and run 100' through the thick undergrowth is a testament as to just how tough they really are.  This was the most destructive bullet impact that I have ever seen.

 (One good thing about this was that none of the meat was ruined!)

 What a hunt!


Charles "Tombstone" Manetta


Late December Hunt at Lucky's

Our only kill. My 55 lb razorback sow.

In the Pop-Up! In the Pop-Up! Posing w/Kill Posing w/Kill
Posing w/Kill Posing w/Kill Posing w/Kill Starting to Dress
More 240 Grain 44 Magnum Damage! This is the entrance wound! Dressing
Dressing Dressing Wesley Posing with the head!