The hogs of December
We who live in this tropical wonderland we call Florida are fortunate to be able to not only fish, but hunt all year long. Yes! I said hunt. We can legally, day or night, hunt one of the most cherished trophies in the vast forest of our state, the highly sought after, cunning, dangerous, Florida wild hog. Sure it is hot in August, but oh so pleasant under the stars. September is even better, the nights are cooler, and, as usual, the hogs are hungry. But the best is yet to come. Cooler, much cooler, real hunting weather, is just around the corner. As November approaches, anticipation levels reach a fever pitch. But then, the best of the best, 'The hogs of December.' The hogs are big and fat from absolutely stuffing themselves on those ever so delicious acorns.
For most December takes on an even greater significance. This is a time to give thanks, to celebrate, and to be with family. Nothing is more important than family. For many families hunting has become a way of life. The family that hunts together stays together. Nothing can be more personal. Thelma, my wife of thirty nine years, and I were born to hunt. We were married just before Christmas and spent our honeymoon pursuing 'The hogs of December.' Hog hunting and hogs became so precious to us that we soon formed a tradition of 'exchanging' hogs as anniversary presents to show our ever-lasting love. Some how Thelma always seemed to harvest the bigger hog. That woman could hunt. Thelma passed away on the very day of our thirty ninth anniversary, in December. Until we meet in heaven, this will remain her final gift to me, her loving husband.
I have never been able to give my wife the trophies that she harvested for me; but I will keep on trying.
OK! So once again it's December, time to pursue the ever so cunning Florida wild hog. This time our loving daughter, Dee Harbison, will be joining me in hunting this monster with huge teeth, a very bad attitude, and a nose that defies the imagination. Be careful, this is his forest, his home. He will not be a happy camper.
We will be hunting in a place called simply Tiger Island Outfitters, sometimes called, 'Hog Heaven.' Tiger Island is located near beautiful Cedar Key, Florida. Cedar Key, home of the best clam chowder in the entire universe.
Crichton Allen, along with his wife, Tracy, own Tiger Island Outfitters. Crichton and Tracy are both Florida natives who treat every guest as family. Talk about good old Southern hospitality. Dee is in for the experience of a life time. Crichton insist on greeting every hunter personally. Welcome to our home. Let's go hunting. Sounds great, we are more than ready. But first let's check into our cozy little cabin, our home away from home. Dee absolutely can't wait to get into the woods. OK! Let's go. Our guide for the day, Mister Roger Alan Steve, suggest we first try this elevated hut sitting over a very active electric corn feeder. Sounds good! Our home in the woods is surrounded by the prettiest oak, hickory, hammock you have ever seen. Under the feeder is absolutely covered with fresh hog tracks. In honor of her mother, Dee wants a trophy size hog, one bigger than any hog I may harvest. Squirrels are everywhere, hold on, that's no bushy tail. Dee trembles with excitement, please give me a shot. The huge hog refuses to come out of heavy cover. This monster is smart, very smart. Roger suggest pursuing the trophy boar in a very quiet, equipped for hunting, electric golf cart. It is completely silent. There he is. Oh no! Gone again. Roger says this is getting personal, that's one smart hog. On and on goes the great chase. There he is, get him Dee. Daddy he is so far away. Darling, crank your Nikon scope up to six power, hold that Marlin stainless 'guide gun' firmly against your shoulder, position the cross hairs just under the right ear, and gently touch the trigger. Bam! Dee sends that massive 325 gr. FTX Hornady LeVerevolution 45-70 on it's way. Hog down, hog down and out. Momma would be so proud of this daughter, this woman, this hog hunter. Happy anniversary momma. Now let's see what dad can do. Dee, the master hunter, suggest using the silent little vehicle. Daddy, it's wonderful. Ok! Daughter, you know best. Gosh, that 150 pound trophy is going to be hard to beat. Finally, off at a distance, we see hogs. Look at that one dad, think you can hit him. Daughter, it's a tough shot, I will try. Ouch! that 45-70 kicks. OH! You can take it, be a man. Gosh dad, your hog is smaller than mine. Oh well, I've learned to live with it, 'The hogs of December.' like momma-like daughter.
Bob, Florida outdoor writers association, and daughter, Dee Harbison
(Both Bob & Dee are Florida natives)
Our home away from home:
Dee, Roger, Bob, Dee's 150 pound trophy boar hog:
Roger, Crichton, Dee:
Bob's hog 98 pounds:
Want to see some hogs? Check out the short video: (Click on the link)