Hey guys, I just got this fantastic post from Kate, who works closely with our vendors to make sure you get all the best new gear. She recently went on a hog hunting trip in Texas and was kind enough to share her experience with us. I don’t want to steal her thunder, so I’ll let her take it away! – Brian
Last week I had the opportunity of a lifetime to go hunting with a great group from EOTech. I promised I would blog about my experience, so here it is. I have been working at OpticsPlanet Inc. and in the hunting, shooting and outdoors industry for a bit over 3.5 years but this was my first foray into the hunting world.
As I was getting ready for the trip and figuring out what I needed to bring, I consulted our product expert and avid hunter Steve Ledin who brought me a huge bag full of hunting gear and apparel. I also received a backpack full of outdoor gear from our videographer and outdoorsman, Devin Ruddick. Along with some of these borrowed items, I packed my own Insight Technology flashlight for the trip. I was told we would have everything else we needed on location and that EOTech was bringing all of their coolest thermal, night vision, and gun sights on the hunt.
Tom, our EOTech rep, and I arrived in Dallas, TX early in the afternoon and took a trip to get our hunting licenses where we met up with the rest of the group, Ed, John, Lisa and Amy, who are all with EOTech. After a quick lunch we headed for Winona, a town about two hours east of Dallas and the location of our hunt. North Star Outfitters is situated on a beautiful ranch and we were met by Kyle, the ranch owner and our host. Everyone got right down to business, gearing up the guns and sighting everything in for the coming evening’s activities. I ended up shooting a couple different rifles out at the range and settled on the Bushmaster 450 as my weapon of choice for the hunt.
The first night we drove out on a couple of golf carts with thermal devices in hand and mounted on our guns. I had no idea what to expect, but I put on several layers, tucked my city-girl jeans into some hunting boots, and covered myself from head to toe in mosquito repellent. I was ready to go! A friend asked me after I got back if I wore makeup on the hunt…but of course!
Riding along on the golf cart, I had my Thermal Eye X50 monocular ready, but as I looked through it I mostly saw a blur of shades of grey since we were moving pretty fast. The group of us drove along the paths and everyone peered out into the fields using their thermal devices to spot the hogs we were hunting.
After about an hour, the first one appeared in a large clearing behind a peach orchard. We stopped the carts and got out as quietly as we could. All of a sudden they told me that I’m to go first and switch from an observing-from-the-side-lines role to being up-to-bat in the blink of an eye. We left part of the group behind and made our way closer to the edge of the clearing. Now there were three of us and I had my bipod in hand as well as my rifle with the thermal scope. I had looked through this thing only once before we headed out for the night, but I’m sure glad I remembered where the on button was.
I was set up 46 feet away from the animal and settled the quad rail into the bipod. I can definitely say that my yoga classes paid off at this moment because I focused on regulating my breathing as the adrenaline was completely overwhelming. The sight was on, the round was in the chamber and the small click of the safety just echoed out. At least the gun was ready! I watched the hog through my scope, centered the cross-hairs and waited for him to turn sideways to take my shot. As Ed taught me, I squeezed the trigger while making sure that my reticle stayed on target and it sure did! I took the shot, the gun stayed in place, and with mixed feelings I can say it was a great shot! The huge hog fell to the ground and I had my first kill for the trip. He weighed in at 215 lbs and as I am told, was a fairly big boy.
A year ago I declined a similar trip because I wasn’t sure how I would feel about hunting. In this time I’ve heard horror stories about the devastation these animals are causing to the southern parts of our country. Since wild hogs are not native to these areas and have no natural predators, they are able to reproduce at incredible rates and overrun the land. As a result other animals get hurt and killed and farmland is rendered useless. This made me feel better about taking a few of them out.
During the remainder of the trip we went out hunting every night and even tried out the tree stands. I got another smaller hog and the group totaled in at nine kills by the end of the trip. I am very happy I had the opportunity to experience a hunt, especially considering the kind of equipment EOTech had there for us to use. Thermal devices are a rather expensive technology initially developed for the military and it was a real treat to be able to use the sights and monoculars on this trip. They allowed us not only to spot the game very quickly, but also to spend less time on retrieval and more time hunting. The people and the toys definitely made this trip!
Steve Ledin beat me to the punch the week I got back and blogged about my experience as well on www.riflescopeblog.com!