My husband and I love going to Friends of NRA dinners - we have been going to them for 13 years now, and they are always a lot of fun. However, we had an exceptionally good time with a prize from a dinner we attended last summer, and I just had to share the experience with you. I won a hog hunt at a local exotic hunt ranch. As it happens, this was the first time I have ever been hunting. What transpired was a great way to ensure that I am now a hunter for the rest of my life. We sent the following letter to the local Friends of NRA committee to let them know how good the hunt was:
I had my first ever hunt recently.
I won a hog hunt at the 2010 Deer Capitol (Texas) Friends of the NRA dinner. The hunt was at Inks Ranch in the Oxford, TX, area. The folks that operate the ranch are really great. They treated my husband and I wonderfully. They are very friendly, and quite down to earth – just the type of people I enjoy being around.
We arrived about 4:30 in the afternoon. They gave us a general introduction to the ranch and a quick tour. Then they had us load our gear into their pickup and we headed out to start our hunt.
They drove us around the ranch to prime areas to expect the hogs. The first stop was at about 5:30. Petey (the guide), my husband, and I climbed out of the truck and quietly stalked in to the location. There were about a half dozen hogs there, with a 5 year old sow standing just perfectly broadside, pretty as you please, just like she was waiting for me. Petey whispered "Aim for the neck". I wasn't sure whether I could hit the neck, but I braced up against a handy tree, got on target, realized yes I could hit the neck, so I placed my finger on the trigger and slowly started to squeeze the trigger. I started talking to myself to make sure I held steady on target. Suddenly BOOM went the rifle (this is the first time ever that I really was 100% totally "surprised" by the shot going off, because I was so focused on making a clean shot), and down went the sow - shot clean thru her spine. It took me a second to realize she really was down, then I started to get excited.
Meanwhile, the other hogs scattered, though two of them ran only 10 feet, then stopped to look at us. Petey whispered "Take another shot". Of course, I wasn't thinking about taking a second hog, so by the time I was back in position, the hogs had decided it was time to run for real.
At this point, Petey indicated she wanted my husband to get a hog, too. (We all know what vermin hogs can be.) So we spent the next couple hours touring the ranch, visiting prime locations for hogs. We saw a couple BEAUTIFUL Tom turkeys, strutting for all they were worth for their dozen hens. My husband was considering "Can I take a turkey with a 308?" and Petey and Roy were debating if it was still turkey season. Before anyone came to a decision, the turkeys decided they didn't want to be around us, so no turkey got shot that evening.
We continued our search for a hog for my husband. Just as it was starting to get on the edge of too dark to shoot without artificial light, we came on to a location and saw a hog running away. Roy slammed on the brakes and yelled to my husband "Shoot him!" It was a tough shot - 80 yards, and a moving hog, but my husband dropped the hog like he was standing still.
We loaded my husband's boar into the back of the truck along with my sow and headed back to the ranch house. Petey and Roy skinned, gutted, and quartered our prizes for us. They really did an awesome job – not only was the quartering done with skill and expertise, they showed us where the backstrap and tenderloins were so we would know how to properly butcher those pieces out for ourselves.
This was absolutely the best possible time I could ever have imagined. In fact, it was far better than I had actually imagined. We really felt like we were treated like royalty. Petey and Roy were great hosts and guides. We will definitely return to their ranch for another hunt as soon as we have room in the freezer again.
In the meantime, I have to figure out the best way to preserve my trophy tusks.