FLORIDA HOG HUNTING WITH OSCEOLA OUTDOORS
South Florida is known for an assortment of tourist seeking attractions, incredible sightseeing destinations, and is composed of a totally unique culture. My suitcase wasn't crammed with sporty beach-bum clothes, sun tan lotions, or chocked full of visitor brochures. I was there for one reason, which was hunting southern style. My northern roots expanded south this past weekend when I was introduced to a sweet southern tradition called wild hog hunting.
As the crowds of Disney World enthusiasts and Sea World fanatics rushed off the plane, I soaked in the feeling of entering a new world. A habitat where hot meets humid, snakes meet gators, and hunting is taken to the extreme. My good friend, Joe Bukey of Strut n' Rut Outdoor Adventures Television, arranged, organized, and planned the venture. He also picked me up from the bustling Orlando airport and drove toward the swamp country en route to where wild hogs call home. We pulled into the driveway at midnight, unpacked the truck, and the meet and greet frenzy began.
I shook hands with Mike Tussey, who is the owner of Osceola Outdoors late that evening. His upbeat, go-go attitude, and comical personality reassured everyone that this would be a fun-filled weekend. There is truly nothing better than experiencing good hunting combined with great people. The blend is unbeatable and ultimately is what shapes the entire adventure. After the jokes settled and everyone got acquainted with each other, we crashed into the pillow to only wake a few hours later.
Tussey and his guide Robert clued me in on the way they throw it down at Osceola Outdoors. Both gentlemen had exceptional dogs that would be assisting in the hunt. The hunting strategy worked like this; we'd take the dogs downwind of where we anticipated the hogs would bed, let them sniff out the location, bay the hog, and then I'd make attempt to make a clean kill.
The super heavy-duty trucks were no match for some of the terrain wild hogs called home. Thick vegetation tangled into webs of barricades that were impossible to infiltrate. Overgrown swamp life coupled with deep muddy waters called for a bare-boot show down. It didn't take long until the dogs began barking. Three dogs jet-skied through the water towards the stinky marsh critter. I grabbed my rifle, took a deep breath, and slopped through the hellhole. Clumps of mud surfaced the stagnant mosquito breeding waters as I cut distance towards my opponent.
Three of the bravest dogs I've ever seen circled the ferocious beast. It was like a merry-go-round, but only comprised of dogs and giant black monster. I steadied myself as Tussey barked orders to the dogs. My soggy knees were soaked with a plaster of mud while my boots drown into the sinking sludge. My heart raced as I peeked back-and-forth from my scope to reassure that I had a clear shot. The most difficult part is firing a clean kill on the wild hog so it won't charge; or even worse, accidentally striking a dog. My window of opportunity slightly opened and I cranked back the trigger and busted a bullet into the chest of a behemoth hog. He crippled into the tall saw grass as the dogs pounced onto him. It was a success.
The feeling of sheer intensity and extreme rush I savored lasted hours after the kill. Wild hog hunting truly is an action packed rendezvous that every hunter must try at least once in their lifetime. It was an experience that I will forever remember and hold dear to my heart. Teaming with one of the most legendary outfitters in the state of Florida and a squad of courageous dogs sparked a wild hog chasing fire in my soul that will always blaze. I'd just like to thank Strut n' Rut Outdoor Adventures and Osceola Outdoors for blessing me with a taste of southern tradition.