To the Wilderness!
My children love it when we cookout on the grill. They love backstraps, burgers, venison steaks, and Italian sausage. Everything seems to taste better when it is grilled! One morning I went to my downstairs freezer to grab some pork chops and realized that I was running dangerously low on all my pork products. I decided at that moment I needed to look for a place to kill a hog to fill my freezer.
A few days later I was talking to my buddy Paul Calon. He was interested in a hog hunt as well and recommend that we meet at The Wilderness Hunting Preserve in Everett, Pennsylvania. Paul had recently hunted Aoudad at The Wilderness and said they had some very nice hogs.
Trusting Paul's judgment, we planned on meeting at The Wilderness on Friday, June 19th for a hog hunting. I was really excited about this hunt because it would allow me to test out the new 490 grain Black Eagle Spartan arrows I just made. These arrows featured new 110 grain inserts from Ethics Archery and the new 4 blade Grim Reaper Whitetail Extreme head. This would be the first time that I could hunt with my Mathews VXR and I was pumped!
I had about two weeks to kill before the hunt so I spent a lot of time at the archery range making sure my HHA King Pin sight was dialed in with my new arrows. After some minor adjustments, I was able to get the correct sight tape on my HHA dial. The arrows were flying great and hitting hard. I was impressed with the amazing flight I was getting with these heavy Spartan arrows.
The Black Eagle Spartan Arrows were dialed in!
Paul and I talked a few more times before the hunt and we discussed the possibility of also hunting some rams. He mentioned that CJ, the head guide from The Wilderness, always had a great selection of rams to hunt. Paul was going to reach out to CJ and see if he had any decent rams to hunt. I patiently waited for Paul to send me some picture and when he did my jaw almost hit the ground. CJ had a few Gold Class rams and many Silver and Bronze rams as well.
On the morning of June 19th, I woke up early and drove to Everett, Pennsylvania. When I arrived Paul was waiting for me in the main lodge. The main lodge was full of animal mounts that took my breath away. There were elk, whitetails, rams, hogs, and many more animals decorating the main lodge. I spent about 15 minutes just looking at the wonderful taxidermy work.
The inside of the main lodge is breathtaking!
CJ met Paul and me in the lodge and explained to us where we would be hunting the hogs. Paul and I asked if we could take a drive and look at some of the rams first. We both had seen a few rams we liked and we wanted to hunt them first. CJ loaded us up in the side by side and we headed out to scout some rams.
CJ drove us around as we looked for rams. On the drive, we were able to see some of the Russian Boars and hybrid hogs they had on the preserve. Everything looked very promising but it wasn't going to be easy to get within bow range for rams or hogs. Paul and I were going to have to put together a plan and execute it well.
Paul suggested that we stop for a minute and discuss what we were going to do. CJ stopped on a logging road and we all discussed the best plan of attack. The rams liked to roam around the preserve on the opposite side, away from the hogs. Paul and I grabbed our gear and headed up the logging road to a high vantage point.
Once we reached the high vantage point we were able to locate the rams we were after. All of the rams were bedded in a draw that we could see but we were going to have to sneak to the top of the draw and wait for them to stand up. Paul and I slowly started to sneak our way up the opposite side of the draw until we reached the very top.
As Paul and I watched the rams we discussed who was going to shoot first. The ram Paul was after was closer to us so I encouraged him to shoot when he had the opportunity. Together we sat watching the rams and waiting for them to stand up.
After about an hour the Mouflon ram that Paul was after began to stand up. Paul, who had already knocked and arrow, was watching as the unsuspecting ram stood up to stretch. I watched as he methodically drew back his bow and waited for the perfect shot. The bow went off and I watched as the arrow blew through the Mouflon. Not knowing what happened the other rams watched as the Mouflon began to stumble and fall.
The large painted ram that I was after began to walk towards the fallen Mouflon. I knocked one of my Spartan arrows and set my HHA site at 25 yards. I ranged the Painted ram as he closed the distance and then I attached my Stan's release to the D-loop on my VXR.
Slowly the ram closed the distance and was finally in range. Drawing my Mathews VXR I found my anchor point. Bending at the waist to allow for the downhill shot, my HHA pin found the vitals of the ram. The Stan's release went off and the 490-grain arrow blew through the Painted ram. I was easily able to see the arrow because of the bright red GloryNock that was on the back of the Spartan arrow. The large cutting Grim Reaper Whitetail Extreme 4 blade was more than the ram could handle.
As the ram ran out of view I could see blood pouring down his side. Paul and I heard him crash and we began to celebrate. We had just doubled up on rams, and they were big rams! Slowly we walked to Paul's Mouflon and once he put his hands on the horns he began to smile. I congratulated him on his trophy and we decided to pick up the blood trail for my ram.
I could see the GloryNock glowing on the back of my Spartan arrow. I picked it up and everything looked like it was still in perfect condition. The blood trail was easy to see and follow. Paul and I walked up the draw about 20 yards and found my Painted ram.
The end of the blood trail from the Grim Reaper Whitetail Extreme 4 Blade!
Paul called CJ and asked if he could bring in the side by side so we could load up the rams. CJ arrived and we took turns retelling the story of the hunt as we loaded the rams up on the side by side. CJ took us to a beautiful spot where we could take some pictures. CJ helped arrange the rams and then took some excellent pictures for us.
Two happy hunters with their trophies!
After taking some pictures we all decided that it was time for lunch. CJ drove us to the lodge and we put the rams in the walk-in cooler. I was really impressed with the set up that The Wilderness had for game animals that were harvested.
Paul and I went to wash up before lunch and CJ made sure the food was ready. Together we talked and enjoyed the hot Italian sausage sandwiches, macaroni salad, chips, sweet tea, and apple crumb cake. By the time lunch was over I was stuffed! CJ asked if we were ready to go after some hogs and both Paul and I said, yes.
The afternoon was warm, in the low 80's. CJ thought the hogs would be laying down or looking for mud to wallow in. Paul and I decided to check out some water holes we had seen from the high vantage point.
Carefully we walked along the logging roads and scouted for hogs. As we crested a hill I saw movement near a blown down tree. Looking through my binoculars I could see three large black hogs. I was impressed at his size and felt that we could put a stalk on them and get close. I asked Paul to stay on the logging road as I angled up the hill towards the blown down tree.
These three hogs were in for a surprise.
Slowly I made my way up the hill. Using the terrain and my Rocky camo I was able to sneak within 30 yards of the hogs. Patiently I waited as the hogs foraged through the dirt. I was hoping they would angle my way and give me a closer shot. Standing behind a large oak tree and watching the hogs I knew they were going to walk my way.
Fifteen minutes passed by slowly as I watched the hogs at 30 yards. I felt confident in a 30-yard shot but wanted to better my odds with a closer shot. Finally, one of the hogs broke away from the group and fed my way. Using the tree to hide I let the hog walk by me so I could get a quartering away shot. The hog passed by and never knew I was there.
As the hog passed the tree I drew my VXR and waited for my shot. The big black boar turned broadside and began to climb the hill. He paused for 10 seconds to look around. That was his last mistake!
At full draw, I let the BEA Spartan loose. I watched as the red GloryNock disappeared into the vitals of the black beast. The hog kicked and tried to climb the hill. He went about 15 yards before he fell over dead. There was no tracking job needed. I motioned to Paul to come on up and give me a hand.
Paul came up the hill and gave me a big high five. He said he could see the whole sequence from where he was standing. He helped me position the hog so we could take a few pictures. I located my Spartan arrow and turned off the GloryNock. My Grim Reaper broadhead was in perfect condition. I was really impressed by the power of the Ethics Archery 110 grain inserts.