There’s no memory sweeter than that of a hunter’s first big game kill. Here, Alan Gower, shares his.
My family owned a couple hundred acres outside of Lockhart, Texas, a small town south of Austin, and I spent most of my summers there, exploring and learning about the outdoors. We’d sometimes stay at a small, rustic cabin on the property, and my dad always had to be the first one through the door, knowing that some critter had likely taken up residence since we were last there. The cabin wasn’t anything special; four walls, a couple of bunkbeds, an old wood stove, and a big sign reading “Wild Turkey Welcomes Hunters!” above the doorway. But to my five year old mind, it epitomized the spirit of the great outdoors.
Dad woke me early one morning when I was young, and the two of us walked to dilapidated, old deer blind with the hope that we’d catch an unsuspecting buck on his way to get a morning drink. We sat for what felt like an eternity before returning to our cabin emptyhanded. That seemed to be the way hunting went for dad and me.
I was a senior in high school before I finally got my first taste of a successful hunt. It was Labor Day weekend, or, as it’s known in Texas, Opening Day of the general dove season. A friend invited me to a piece of property along the Texas/Oklahoma border to hunt hogs with him while his dad and the rest of the lease holders posted up for dove. I didn’t own a rifle other than the single shot .22 my dad had given me so he let me borrow his .270.
We got to the property a day before dove season opened and decided to walk around and do some scouting. I shot a rabbit and we saw a couple of skunks and coyotes, but hogs remained elusive. The next morning, my friend and I carried our rifles one direction and the adults in the group carried their shotguns the other. We hadn’t walked 100 yards out of camp when we spotted a sounder of hogs on a ridge some 200 yards away. Bullets flew from both our rifles, but mine was the only one that found its mark. I wish I could say I hit that pig thanks to my skill as a marksman, but the reality is that it was just pure luck. The old boar dropped almost immediately, but as we advanced he struggled to his feet and started running. He took two more shots in the rear end before going down for good.
I hadn’t had any experience with feral hogs so I didn’t know how big they could get, but the one laying lifeless before me seemed like a monster, weighing in at close to 300 pounds. The excitement and adrenaline coursing through my veins quickly abated when I heard the words, “You shoot it, you clean it.” I’m not sure it had registered that I’d have to field dress any pig I shot. I’d never gutted an animal, much less a wild boar, so I had no idea what to do. Thankfully, there were several experts in the group eager to impart their wisdom. I cut everything they told me to cut, and the stench from that job still lingers in my memory to this day.
I had plenty of help dragging the boar back to camp and getting him hung to cool. My dad made the two hour drive from home to pick him up and then dropped him off at processor’s plant. That stinking beast of a boar yielded 100 pounds of pork; ham and sausage, chops and spareribs, and the first taste of my first kill was all it took to convince me to return for seconds.
Do you have a story to share? Type up the details of your hunt, and shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a picture or two. I’ll make sure all your i’s are dotted and your t’s are crossed and publish on this website the story of your hunt for all the world to see. All I ask is that you then share a link to your story with your family and friends and maybe interact with those who might have questions or comments. Because stories are meant to be shared. And hunts are meant to be celebrated.