Marcus Church of Seneca got a call a few months ago from a landowner in Six Mile who was having problems with wild hogs rooting up and tearing up his fields. On Feb. 17, he took care of what was literally a huge part of the problem, killing a 460-pound hog with his bow.
Church and Allen Crenshaw of Six Mile have hunted hogs together for two years and taken 20 between them. When the landowner called, they scouted the property and put out two corn feeders, covering each with a trail camera. From the photos produced, they determined the hogs were visiting between 10:30 and 11 p.m., and that while one feeder had plenty of hogs visiting, the other had just one big pig.
The night of Feb. 17, just before a weather front passed through the area, Church and Crenshaw hit the woods 30 minutes before dark to check the trail-cameras for photos. They showed that a big hog came to one feeder and two “nice” ones had been at the other feeder at 10:30 the previous night.
When they hunted, Church and Crenshaw took turns picking stands, and the big night was Crenshaw’s choice; he took the one the two pigs had visited. Church understood. “You always pick the stand with the most pigs over the big one because the big ones are so sharp,” he said.
Church was in a climbing stand just before dark. He hadn’t been there long when he heard something and knew either a big hog or deer was coming to the feeder. Shortly thereafter, he made out a big hog coming straight up a gully. It stopped 40 yards out and put its nose up in the air to check the wind.
“The hog was downwind, and I figured that it would smell me,” Church said.
Because the pig was standing broadside, Church drew his bow. Then, the hog turned and started toward the feeder. When it got to a range of 15 yards, it turned broadside again. Church picked a spot right behind the shoulder and let fly. The hog squealed and ran about 30 yards before crashing to the ground and dying.
Then, the fun began. How do you get such a huge animal out of the woods? They called the landowner to see if he could bring his 4-wheeler to drag the hog out, but once that was taken care of, the next problem was getting it into the back of the pickup truck. The landowner took care of that, bringing a tractor with a front-end loader. Once they rolled the hog into the bucket, it was lifted into the truck.
The hunters field-dressed the hog, and at the processor’s, it weighed 360 pounds. Using an established formula to estimate the hog’s original body weight, they came up with a live weight of 460 pounds.
Church and Crenshaw use special archery equipment when hunting hogs. Church was shooting a PSE-X Force bow with an 84-pound draw, plus carbon arrows tipped with 100-grain Swhacker broadheads. His stabilizer was replaced with a 200 lumens green light with a pressure switch on the bow’s frame that allowed him to turn the light on just before he’s ready to shoot; most of the time, the green light won’t scare hogs.
Church said that he and Crensaw see hogs almost every time they have hunted together, but have not always gotten a pig.
“Hogs have a sharper sense of smell than deer, and they seem to be spookier at night and more cautious,” said Church, who had the huge hog ground into sausage and got more than 120 pounds of meat.
“It tastes great,” he said.