THE 3 MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS TO A SUCCESSFUL SPOT AND STALK HUNT (EPISODE 618 TRANSCRIPT)
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>>HEATH: I’ve never seen anything like that before.
>>GRANT: I really enjoy the spot and stalk style of hunting. Seeing a critter off in the distance and planning a successful stalk is a really exciting way to get some fresh meat for your family.
>>GRANT: One of my favorite critters to hunt using the spot and stalk technique is wild hogs.
>>GRANT: Now hogs have a great sense of smell. In Europe they train domesticated hogs to find truffles under the soil. And if you’ve ever seen a bunch of rooting, you know hogs are really good at finding grubs, tubers and other things under the soil. Great sense of smell.
>>GRANT: But their eyesight, compared to a turkey or something like that, is relatively poor. If you can get some cover between you and the hog and the wind in your favor, there’s a decent chance you can stalk up within shooting range.
>>GRANT: I call myself a hog hypocrite. I don’t want hogs anywhere on or near The Proving Grounds. They do a tremendous amount of damage.
>>GRANT: As a matter of fact, it’s documented they do about 1.5 billion dollars of damage annually. They’ve wiped out some native plant species and caused some native critter species to be threatened.
>>GRANT: However, Florida, Texas, places where hogs are just omnipresent and a whole bunch of them, gosh, I don’t mind going there and hunting at all.
>>GRANT: Man, oh, man – I’m happy.
>>GRANT: Hogs have a long history in the United States. It’s believed that the explorer DeSoto, released hogs in Florida as a source of food for future trips back. Whoever released them, they’ve been around for a long time and now are present in almost 40 states.
>>GRANT: I fully support federal and state agencies working really hard to reduce and, hopefully, eliminate hog populations in states where the hogs are just kind of spotted in distribution.
>>GRANT: In south Florida and south Texas, that would be a really tough task. But in states like Missouri, Kansas, and others, it’s possible, and I support their efforts.
>>GRANT: During a recent trip to the La Hamaca Ranch in south Florida chasing turkeys, we were seeing a lot of hogs during the day while we were scouting for turkeys or hunting them and at night with the Burris handheld thermal.
>>GRANT: Man, it’s pretty cool to be driving in from roosting turkeys and take that thing and scan a pasture and see what’s out there.
>>GRANT: During one afternoon, GrowingDeer team member Heath Martin spotted a bunch of hogs out in the pasture and grabbed his Prime to see if he could put on a successful stalk.
>>HEATH: [Quietly] Hey guys. We’re still down here in Florida. We’ve been turkey hunting today and we’re heading back into the cabin for the evening, and we spotted a couple big, black hogs on the back of this swamp back here. So, we’re going to grab the Prime, head over here and see if we can spot and stalk and maybe get an arrow in some pork. So, let’s see what we can do.
>>GRANT: Heath could tell one of the hogs was traveling toward them but couldn’t tell exactly where it was due to the tall vegetation.
>>GRANT: The wind was from the east, so Heath and Daniel worked to stay west of the hogs so they could make their stalk into the wind.
>>GRANT: This pasture was very wet and hadn’t recently been grazed by cattle. So, there was a lot of vegetation Heath could use for cover during the stalk.
>>GRANT: As Heath and Daniel worked toward the hogs, they spotted that one hog and realized it had covered a lot of ground. It had cut the distance.
>>UNKNOWN: [Whispering] Yeah. They went down over there.
>>HEATH: [Whispering] That was cool. I think she just – or it – just rolled over out here. So, go ahead and see what we’ve got. Awesome.
>>GRANT: Most hunters know hogs are extremely tough critters. And on top of that, they have long hair that’s usually packed with sand or dirt because they wallow. But in this case, Heath was using a G5 Deadmeat and it zipped right through there. Total pass-through, making recovery very easy.
>>HEATH: Well, we just got through taking a look at this hog that we just shot here, and we spotted a couple more on the back of this pasture over here maybe a couple of hundred yards.
>>HEATH: So, we’re going to look around and maybe see if we can get in some more action before it gets dark here. So, come along.
>>GRANT: They quickly crossed a pasture and got within about 60 yards.
>>GRANT: There was less vegetation at this location. So, Heath and Daniel had to carefully read the hog’s behavior and try to cut the distance when the hogs weren’t looking their way.
>>HEATH: [Whispering] I’ll try to get to this tall grass and in the [indiscernible] and see what we’ve got.
>>HEATH: 60 yards, a little far, probably. [Indiscernible] We might get up closer.
>>HEATH: [Whispering] There’s 36 right there.
>>HEATH: [Whispering] If they get a little bit more, they’ll be 30 or less.
>>HEATH: [Whispering] Oh. Look at – oh my gosh. Unbelievable.
>>HEATH: [Whispering] Can you believe that? All the piglets came out here and then a couple sows just laid down and they’re all nursing.
>>GRANT: What Heath and Daniel observed is a great illustration of how rapidly hog populations can increase.
>>HEATH: I’ve never seen anything like that before. That was pretty cool.
>>GRANT: Female hogs reach puberty at about six months of age and can produce large litters of piglets every 12 to 15 months. With this rate of reproduction, it’s easy to see how hog populations can grow quickly. And a few hogs can literally become hundreds of hogs in a short amount of time.
>>GRANT: I’ve mentioned before that I really enjoy hog hunting. But that’s hunting. If you want to try to control or reduce hog populations, trapping is much more effective.
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>>GRANT: Another afternoon while Daniel and Clay were out trying to roost a turkey, they spotted a large, lone hog across the pasture.
>>CLAY: Daniel and I just finished up an afternoon turkey hunt. Gobbler never showed. But on our way back, spotted a lone hog out in the middle of this pasture.
>>CLAY: So, we’ve got the .350 Legend with us. We’re gonna see if we can get across this pasture before it gets too dark, get within range, see if we can get a shot off.
>>DANIEL: [Whispering] All right. Let’s go.
>>DANIEL: [Whispering] This looks like a big one.
>>DANIEL: [Whispering] The wind is kind of cutting across here. But we’re kind of coming in right at a 90-degree angle. So, we’re gonna cut this wind and try to get into this berm. Should be about a 100-yard shot.
>>CLAY: [Whispering] Oh, it sees us.
>>DANIEL: [Whispering] What?
>>CLAY: [Whispering] It sees us.
>>DANIEL: [Whispering] Yeah.
>>DANIEL: [Whispering] You ready?
>>CLAY: [Whispering] Yeah.
>>DANIEL: [Whispering] Are you on him?
>>CLAY: [Whispering] Yeah.
>>CLAY: [Whispering] You got him. You smoked him pretty good.
>>DANIEL: Holy cow. .350 Legend. That looked like a pretty good one –
>>DANIEL: – through the scope. So, I’m excited. We kind of saw where he went in. We’ll go take a look and pick up the blood trail.
>>GRANT: For those that may not be familiar with the Winchester .350 Legend, it has more knockdown power and less recoil than a 30-30 or a .223.
>>GRANT: We’ve had some great hunts with the .350 Legend and know how effective it is on critters.
>>GRANT: If you’ve hunted in south Florida, you know what I mean when I say Daniel and Clay hurried to the hog to try to get there before the mosquitoes got too bad. Because at dark in that part of south Florida, the mosquitoes may be the worst predator out there.
>>DANIEL: That’s what I’m talking about.
>>DANIEL: That is a pig. That is for sure.
>>DANIEL: Well, it was quick. We – we were driving back just after a turkey hunt this afternoon. Didn’t get a tom, but we got some fresh pork. He’s got some great cutters on him. He’s a big, thick hog. And just happy to be taking some pork back home to Missouri.
>>GRANT: When we consider both Heath and Daniel’s stalks, it’s easy to see how important the wind is, especially when you’re trying to spot and stalk hunt.
>>GRANT: It’s also important to note the role cover plays in such stalks.
>>GRANT: Heath was able to get in bow range because of the height of the cover. Now, you may be looking at that in relation to Heath or Daniel and saying, “Well, that cover is not high.”
>>GRANT: The cover is about knee-high on them which made it over most of the pig’s eyes, especially when they’re feeding, and allowed them to really cut the distance.
>>GRANT: During Daniel’s hunt, there wasn’t that quality of cover. It was closer to dark and Daniel was able to use a terrain feature to set up on and he had a weapon that allowed him to take the shot from a greater distance.
>>CLAY: [Whispering] You got it.
>>GRANT: Understanding the cover, the current wind direction and critters behavior are all important to pulling off a successful spot and stalk hunt.
>>DANIEL: He is a pig. That is for sure.
>>GRANT: That kind of makes it sound simple and I admitted earlier that I really enjoy the spot and stalk technique and that’s because every opportunity is different.
>>GRANT: You’re combining all these variables in different ways in hopes to get within effective range of the weapon you’re using. And when it works out, it’s an exciting way to bring home some fresh meat to your family.
>>HEATH: What a great afternoon.
>>GRANT: Trying new hunting techniques is a great way to get outside and enjoy Creation.
>>GRANT: But more importantly, I hope you take time every day to be quiet and listen to what the Creator is saying to you.
>>GRANT: Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.