The First Feast Project, Part 8: The Game Is There, You Just Can’t See It

| 12/3/2015 10:28:00 AM

Tags: Thanksgiving, hunting, wild game, local food, holidays, Kiara Ashanti, Florida,

Read all posts from The First Feast series here. 

Throwing in the Towel

My frustration level has reached its limit now. I knew there were deer on the property. I had harvested hogs there before. Yet, none were showing up for me on the days I was hunting. I’d been on three, two-day hunts. All had been a bust. No animals in sight, and my clock was ticking down. I’d like to believe that this is the same process the Pilgrims would have faced as well, but I’ve seen too many documentaries about America in its early days. North America was a smorgasbord of life and game when the settlers arrived. Finding game to hunt would have been, perhaps, the easiest thing they had to do.

I find myself looking online for ranches that ship game meat. I was ready to throw in the towel. I decided to let it go, when the guide called me to see if I were coming back. After speaking with him a few minutes I decided to go back out. My excitement level this time around is low. I did not even prepare for it. I just waltz out to the woods, more out of obligation to the project than any other reason.

I started this hunt in the evening for hogs. The guide set me up at a feeder with a blind at ground level. The path to the feeder whines back and forth, like a snake. As I came around the last bend, I caught the sour scent of pigs. It stopped me dead in my tracks. It was still early in the day. There should not have been any hogs roaming for another two hours.

I knocked an arrow and moved slowly around the bend. As I came around, I saw ten or so hogs, eating next to a mountain of old bread the guide had placed by the feeder. They were about 50 feet from me. That’s close for a rifle. I had a bow. There was no way I would take that shot. Instead, I crept to the edge of the path, and step on a stick. The loud snap, followed by my stepping fast into the middle of the path, sent the hogs in all directions.

If you have never hunted wild pigs, then let me tell you they are the perfect symbol for greediness. Their desire to eat overruns their good sense. Now that the hogs had showed up, they would come back to that pile of food in short order. So I quickly moved closer to the edge of the clearing, and hide behind a tree. Fifteen minutes later, the first hogs began to cautiously move back into the clearing. I waited till five had come back, and then waited some more.

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