The Horn Swamp News, updated almost weekly through hunting season, brings you the latest news and commentary from the Horn Swamp.

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April 15, 2014

       Officially two thirds of the way through spring turkey season now and it has been a good one for me.  I have killed three and had numerous other exciting hunts.  The hunts,  however, have not lasted long into the morning as our turkeys have gobbled early but have, for the most part, not gobbled long once they flew down.  Overall I am hearing that the season is going well for hunters in our area and turkeys have rebounded from the gobbling slump of the 2013 season.  
        The river has been an issue for us since Thursday, rising to a high of 75 feet and cutting us off from some areas of the property except by boat, of which I have not yet deployed.  Last night's rain will keep the river high but it has fallen to a manageable level for getting around to the turkeys on land.  
        I'll post more pictures soon and tell you about my spring bear hunt in the mountains of Montana with The Chase, coming up in late May.     

 

 

 

 

March 18, 2014

       I can not remember the last time I spent 48 hours behind the gates of the swamp, but my five year-old son Andrew and I did just that this past weekend.  We loaded up the truck Friday evening after work and off we went with turkeys and adventure in the plans.  My youngest son shows the same love of hunting that I have and he told me as we entered the property that he was "built and made for the woods."   
       Our Saturday morning hunt was uneventful.  We heard one distant gobble and nothing else.  By mid morning we gave up and spent the majority of the day moving feeders from the flood plain that we used during the hog hunt, riding the 4-wheeler, and throwing the football.  We tried a short sit at a greenfield for the afternoon but the action was slow and Andrew decided he wanted to get back to the cabin and throw the ball before dark.  
        Saturday evening we built a good campfire and lit the grill to cook hamburgers about the time a light rain began to fall.  After supper we crawled in the bunks of the cabin and listened to the rain roll off the tin roof all through the night.  
        My phone went off before dawn on Sunday with the sound of a tornado warning.  I quickly saw that Coal Bluff, our exact area, was mentioned in the path of a thunderstorm that apparently had upper level rotation and could produce a tornado.  There is really not a great place to weather a potential tornado in the swamp so we held tight and watched the storm on radar as it approached.  Modern technology is quite something to behold and I'm thankful for having a smart phone that can provide so much information.  Even better was the texts and calls from friends that knew we were in a remote location and may not have known about the approaching weather.  It is great to have others watching out for you.  
        Thankfully the storm fizzled before it got to us and the rain itself stopped around 9am.  I told Andrew we would go to the Red Field as soon as the rain stopped as our game camera photos showed turkeys there every time it rained.  As we walked down the road approaching the field a turkey gobbled a few hundred yards from us.  I yelped and he answered.  I had not brought my little blind and knew we would need a little luck to kill this bird.  We sat down by a big red oak beside the road and hoped he would come down the road to us.  I yelped a few more times and he answered and each time he was closer.  There was no doubt he was coming to us.  
       The turkey was approaching from my left. Andrew sat close to me on my right side.  I coached him not to move a muscle as the turkey was getting close.  According to the tracks we saw in the muddy road later that day, the turkey did indeed walk the road towards us and then, reaching a big mudhole in the road, he stepped off the road and into the edge of the pines.  He walked closer to us and then reaching a thicker area in the pines, he stepped back to the edge of the road.  At that point I first saw him and he was just15 steps away.  I whispered to Andrew that I was about to shoot him and then I did.  
       We hopped up and ran out to see the turkey.  I am not sure which one of us was more excited.  I have not killed a turkey in the first two days of the season in quite some time and to have done it with my little boy at my side was special.  It was his second turkey hunt and I think he is hooked.  He already wants to know when he can go again.  
        Back to the cabin we went and after many photos we cleaned the gobbler. We cut open his craw to see what he had been eating and found his last meal consisted of some grass and three acorns.  Afterwards we buried the carcass in the back yard of the cabin.  
       The rest of the day we spent throwing the football, having a picnic in a greenfield (Andrew's idea and my first time for that), and having target practice with the Mini-30 carbine, which Andrew did quite well with.  As evening closed in we packed up and headed for home, but not before Andrew proclaimed it the "best weekend ever."  

 

 

 

 

March 4, 2014

       Our hog hunt was a big success over the weekend but as I feared the hogs did not make it easy.  Three and a half weeks of running feeders and barrels was not the magic bullet for piling up the pigs.  They were very wary of the bait and fed primarily at night.  In addition, they were never on a pattern at any of the locations, showing up one day multiple times and then going AWOL the next day.  
       Our final tally was 14, with Scentblocker president Scott Shultz leading the way with 9.  Leigh killed two, I killed two, and Travis killed one.  Back pain throttled Travis for most of the hunt and my fumbles with turning on a GoPro camera also cost him another hog while hunting over a barrel late Saturday afternoon.  We were all excited that Scott had so much success.  The hunt started amid cold weather and frosty mornings and ended in short sleeves and shorts weather with mosquitoes buzzing in our ears.  
        It seems as though the hogs have plenty of eat at this point, considering their lack of focus on the corn we fed.  We saw way more deer coming to the corn than we did hogs.  Actually, their focus on the corn was much better back in August and early September than it was during the month of February.  
        We had two big boars on the Moultrie cameras, one of which I showed a photo a few weeks ago, hitting a barrel and a feeder.  One was strictly nocturnal.  The other showed up at dark most days.  We sent Scott to that stand the last afternoon to try to get him.  He saw a good sized sow but passed on her waiting on the big boar but a swirling wind on the warm afternoon likely caused him to not show.  


The group

 


Spot and stalk


Scentblocker president Scott Shultz and his first afternoon boar.  That's a .454 SOCOM on an
AR platform.  It is quite a hog killing machine!


My biggest of the weekend and one that will air on the next season of The Chase


One of two for Leigh.


Scott's second hog of hunt, with cameraman Jeff Ensor from Texas.  
Jeff's show, Non-Stop Hunting, aired on The Pursuit Channel in recent years.  


Travis and Leigh stalked this one and Travis got the shot.


Leigh got this one on a spot and stalk through the hardwoods on the final morning of the hunt.

 

 

February 25, 2014

       It's hog week in the Horn Swamp and I think we are ready.  It is time to see if the efforts of the past few weeks to congregate some hogs is going to pay off.  Robinson Outdoors / Scentblocker president Scott Shultz will be joining Leigh and Travis on the hunt.  Scott is looking forward to escaping the bitter cold of Minnesota to stalk some hogs in these south Alabama swamps.  
       The big adventure begins Wednesday afternoon.  Scott and Travis will be here in time for a short afternoon hunt and then we will get after them with a vengeance from Thursday through Sunday morning.  Leigh will be joining us Thursday evening.  The weather looks cooperative and in spite of getting regular rains, we have avoided any rising water on the property.  All is set.  I'll keep the Twitter feed updated with our progress so stay tuned.  

 

February 18, 2014

       My efforts to congregate a few hogs and get them in some sort of a pattern for our upcoming hog hunt with Leigh and Travis have been challenging.  The corn hit the feeders and barrels on February 1st and activity has been on the increase since then, mostly at the barrels.  Surprisingly they are coming to a few of the feeders and completely avoiding a few others.  The majority of the activity is also at night.  Though sign exists from one end of the property to the other I think our numbers of hogs is lower than in prior years.  Though hogs are very nocturnal, I am surprised there has not been more activity at the feed during the day.  In preparation for prior hunts they have not been nearly as wary as they are being at this time.  
        A big boar has started feeding at one of the Moultrie feeders and he looks the size of one I missed with the muzzleloader last fall.  He is a big one by our standards and hopefully one of the team will get him in the sights next weekend.  He is moving at dusk and dawn and in the night as well.  So far I have not seen a picture of him where there was enough camera light to shoot.  Maybe he will relax a little in the days to come and give us a chance to get him.  

 

       Here are the four nice bucks taken from the Horn Swamp this fall.  Saturday, at one o'clock in the afternoon I drove right past a super nice ten point just thirty yards away.  I think he was as surprised to see me as I was to see him.  His rack was one of the best I have seen on the property in years.  Once our hog hunt is over I am going to turn the cameras on to his area and see if I can get a photo of the old boy.  


Eric Smith


Tim Holmes


Josh Smith


Oscar Cole

 

       

 

 


February 4, 2014

       I have seen reports of some nice mature bucks killed during the first weekend of the extended season in southwest Alabama.  Hopefully most of the kills will be of mature bucks and not more pressure on the younger members of the herd.  The state is asking that all kills be reported to the Game Check system and I would encourage all to do so.  More data in the hands of the biologists can only help better manage the herd and that is ultimately what true sportsmen want.  
       I spent the weekend putting out feeders in preparation for The Chase's hog hunt in late February.  Scott Shultz, President and CEO of Scentblocker, will be flying down from Minnesota to join us.  He has hunted all over the world but I do not  believe he has stalked hogs in a south Alabama swamp, so I am looking forward to helping him check that off his bucket list.  If it goes as well as I am hoping, his first trip here will not be his last!    
       My plan is to use some feeders to congregate the hogs and we will also do a good bit of stalking in the hardwoods, where the hogs are lapping up the remaining acorns and rooting for roots and grubs and whatever else they can find.  I have out a bunch of Moultrie cameras and should have a good plan together for our hunt by the end of the month.  I'll be updating our progress during the hunt on the Twitter feed embedded above.  
       If any of you have success in this February season, please let me hear from you.  Email photos to hornswamp@yahoo.com.  I will try to add all that I have gotten over the season in the coming weeks.  

 

January 28, 2014

       I spent the weekend in Coosa County with Leigh and Travis, hunting their property surrounding their cozy cabin.  I saw some deer but not the mature bucks that they have on the Moultrie cameras and have seen at inopportune times in recent years.  It was great to tour their property that they have poured much effort into making a superbly managed tract of land.  
        Speaking of the use of cameras, I have been negligent in using them much in our swamp in recent years but plan to improve my use in the future.  Certainly I have used them in patterning the hogs in preparation of the filmed hunts but otherwise for deer I have not used them as much.  A comment on The Chase Facebook page recently got me thinking about the use of cameras.  One poster commented that he was a real hunter and didn't use cameras.  Really?  A real hunter he says.  
        In properly managing the deer herd, there is little doubt that cameras are a very useful tool in knowing what is in the woods, especially for those of us too busy to sit there day after day.  When you know what mature bucks are there, you will not take a lesser buck thinking he is the best in the woods.  Alabama deer are wary and hard to pattern and even with the use of cameras it is difficult to get the best of them.  With cameras all over the Creekbaum's property, it will still take some luck to be in the right place at the right time to kill the best deer in the woods.  That is what makes hunting so much fun.  And yes, real hunters use cameras.    
        It is going to be an interesting day as snow begins to fall in Alabama at the end of deer season.  Will the Alabama deer move in the snow?  Many have never seen it and others only once in their lives.  I will not be in the woods but for those that are, let me know what you see.  
         With the Horn Swamp not in the extended deer season zone, we will close out the season at the end of the month and begin to get ready to film a hog hunt with The Chase at the end of February.  I'll tell you more about that in coming weeks.  Make sure to see the Twitter feed above for a great buck killed in the Swamp last weekend by Eric Smith.

 

January 17, 2014

       Our Archery Trade Show trip was incredibe.  I enjoyed meeting most of the sponsors of the The Chase and learning more about the business end of the show.  I am excited about the sponsors The Chase has on board going forward and the quality of the products we are using and will be using in the near future.  It is easy to promote a product that you believe in and I especially like it when we can promote an American made product.  Case in point are WASP broadheads.  
        When I was fourteen I killed my first deer with a WASP broadhead.  I've forgotten a lot over the years but I remember the day I went into Ratcliffe's Hardware in Camden and purchased six WASP broadheads, my first ones.  I still have one of those originals in my bow box today.  Back then WASP seemed to be one of a small number of broadhead manufacturers.  Now there are so many, never more evident than by walking the floor of the ATA show.  WASP was bought out recently by a wonderful family, the Weavers, and their super sharp, tough, American made heads are in great hands.  Leigh and Travis and have killed 8 bucks this season using WASP.
        The ATA show was Hollywood of outdoor TV.  Every name that you can think of was there and being nowhere on the scale of crowded as the SHOT show currently going on in Las Vegas, it was easy to walk around and talk to some of them.  It was quite an experience.  
         I returned home to the Wilcox Academy Benefit Deer Hunt.  We hosted 102 hunters from 12 states and as far away as California.  The weather did not cooperate for much success in killed mature bucks but there was plenty of meat killed with hunters taking down 111 deer and 9 hogs.  Overall it was another huge success. 
         One of my hunters, Tim Holmes, killed a good mature buck in the Horn Swamp on Thursday afternoon of the hunt.  That make three nice kills we have gotten off the property thus far and hopefully there will be a few more before the season ends.  Check the Twitter feed above for a picture of Tim's buck.   
          And now we move on to the final two weekends of deer season as the rut is wide open here in south Alabama.  We just missed the cut off for the extended season, with the line being the Alabama river that borders our property.  For many in our area, they have 4 weekends remaining to hunt the peak of the rut.  I am interested to see what mature bucks go down in that first ten days of February.  Stay tuned...  

 

 

 

 

December 30, 2013

       My Texas hunt with The Chase was bittersweet.  I can not say more about the experience of getting to see and hunt the Hill Country.  The landscape was indeed hilly and filled with short, scraggly oaks, prickly pear, and mesquite.  It was way more rocky than I had expected.  We hunted A C Ranch, over 15,000 acres of high and low fence.  Our lodging, which by the way was exceptionally nice, was inside a 5,000 high fence which contained many different exotic species as well as some huge bucks.  We hunted a thirty minute drive away on an area that was "low fence," meaning it only had fences to keep the cattle in.  
       We saw a lot of deer and turkeys on every drive through the countryside---to and from the stands and in the stands.  Everywhere we went I constantly scanned out the window as game was literally everywhere.  I caught myself imagining the roar of the gobbles in the springtime from all those turkeys.
        All the hunting is done exclusively around feeders.  There are no concentrated food sources of distinct bedding areas and if one did not hunt near a feeder, the odds of killing a deer with a bow would be extremely long.  
       We started hunting Thursday afternoon.  Leigh struck first with a 9 point with her bow the following morning.  Travis killed a turkey the same morning with his bow.  Saturday morning my action came from a ground blind overlooking a feeder.  A few small whitetail bucks showed up just after daybreak and then several free range Axis deer showed up.  They were very wary of our ground blind which had only been set up the day before.  A shooter whitetail buck was following them and until the Axis got comfortable and came in, he was not going to either.  Finally they did and here he came.  I let the buck get all the way under the feeder so we would have plenty of camera roll and then readied for the shot about the same time several deer got between us and him and we waited.  He was 27 yards.  Finally an open shot materialized and I drew and fired.  
        The lighted nock was clearly visible striking right behind his shoulder.  He jumped and ran as Tres, my cameraman, said "you smoked him."  There was no doubt I had.  For the next 45 minutes I must have been the happiest guy on the planet.  We had no cell service in that remote area but I so wanted to send Leigh and Travis a text with the good news.  Our guide, who had been sitting 100 yards behind in a shooting house, came over and too was excited about the shot.  He had watched it all through binoculars.  
         We then began the recovery.  The arrow was lying there on the ground near where the buck was shot and I was dumbfounded by what I found on the fletchings---guts.  Considering where the arrow struck the deer and the angle it should have taken, this was supposed to be a double lung shot.  At that point we made the critical mistake of tracking the deer.  For 45 minutes we had believed it was a perfect shot.  The camera said it was a perfect shot.  The arrow told a different tale which we refused to embrace.  
          And so we began tracking, constantly looking ahead for the buck that was surely lying on the ground nearby.  For 350 yards we tracked blood---drip, drip, drip---until we lost it.  There was a lot of black, bare dirt littered with white rocks.  The blood was nearly impossible to see on the ground but easily spotted on the rocks.  It eventually went cold and we pulled out and called a man with tracking dogs.  We went and ate lunch while we waited for him and around mid afternoon he arrived.  The dogs could track the deer no farther than we had, but indicated he had begun to circle back in the direction of where I had shot him.  We searched but found nothing.  We returned the next morning---Leigh, Travis, and I along with cameramen Tyler, Jeff, and Tres and our three guides---and canvassed the countryside.  We found nothing more.  He disappeared.  
          After reviewing the shot on the camera at 30 frames per second, we are certain the arrow deflected, most likely on a rib, and changed course through the gut and exited much farther back than it should have.  I believe the dark blood we followed was liver blood.  Had we not tracked him but given him most of the day to go and bed I believe we would have found him.  It was a critical mistake.  
          Travis got a nice 8-point with the Traditions muzzleloader to close out the hunt and make the Texas show complete. 
          
          Next week my wife and I will be going to the Archery Trade Show in Nashville with Leigh and Travis.  I am looking forward to meeting the key people with each of the sponsors.  Upon return home we will be getting ready to host 107 deer hunters as part of the 29th Wilcox Academy Deer Hunt.  The rut is beginning to kick in here and if we get some decent weather we should have a great hunt.  Stay tuned to the Twitter feed for the latest news...

December 9, 2013

       My Indiana trip last week with The Chase was a lot of fun.  My wife, Daphne, rode in the bus on the way up Sunday morning with Travis, Leigh, and Gray.  I followed in the car as we would be coming back to Alabama at the end of the hunt and they were heading to Illinois for a muzzleloader hunt.  We hunted a farm owned by Mike Bassett, owner of Scott-Pet, as well as the neighbor's property.  
        It was my first time to Indiana and to see all those corn fields, now picked of course, that stretch for miles and miles and miles.  The area we hunted also had some soybeans.  Unfortunately our timing was not great for the hunt.  Their two week gun season had just ended which, along with a warming trend, squelched the deer movement.  Of the three of us, only one shooter buck was seen and he was way out of range.  Our attempts to merely arrow a doe came up short.
       We did get a tour of one of Scott-Pet's facilities, the largest pet treat manufacturing plant in the country.  It was quite educational to say the least and much enjoyed.  Scott-Pet also makes the Big Tine Deer Feed that is a sponsor of The Chase.  I have personally seen how Big Tine draws in the bucks to a supplemental feeding program.  I encourage you to check our Big Tine for yourself and see how it works for you.  You will not be disappointed.  
       The last afternoon on the way back to the farmhouse my bow apparently took a lick, maybe from the truck door, while in the back seat of Travis's truck.  The roller guard got bent and I no longer had any fletching clearance of the cables.  In 28 years of bowhunting I have never had such a calamity to strike my bow and it was not good timing to start down such a road.  So this Saturday I took it to a bow shop for repair.  Since parts had to be ordered and I had no weapon to take to Texas on Thursday, I came away with a new Mathews Creed XS.  So far I'm very impressed with it, having spent the afternoon on Saturday sighting it in and getting used to, which actually did not take long at all. 
       Thursday morning we fly out of Birmingham to San Antonio, my third and last hunting trip with The Chase for the season.  We'll hunt through Monday morning if necessary and fly home that afternoon.  It is my first time to hunt Texas and I could not be more excited.  I'll keep you updated on the Twitter feed at this page.   
       

    

 

November 26, 2013

       My fourth climb in a tree in Alabama finally brought some action.  After an all morning sit on Saturday where I only saw only two yearlings, I was excited to see a lot of activity Sunday.  Though the wind was whipping the deer seemed to move very well.  Such winds are not much good for getting the mature bucks to move as they are too smart to stir much when their noses are hampered, but the does and young bucks were certainly stirring.  I took a 30 yard shot at a doe around 7am and she fell within sight of my stand.  It is good to have a little meat in the freezer.
       The boys and I returned to the gar hole Sunday evening and they are still hanging on.  The light rains we have had in recent weeks have kept just enough water for them to survive.  I am still amazed at how a dozen or so gar can live in small pool of super muddy water for weeks.  Their survival skills might even surpass that of the coyote.  The soaking rain falling out there today should be plenty to sustain them through the winter.  
       The weather forecast for the Thanksgiving weekend is superb for deer hunting.  I hope all of you will have a little time to get in the woods as I think it is going to be a great time to be there.  My time will be limited myself as I'll be heading to Indiana with The Chase on Sunday morning.  Tune in to the Tweeter feed above for news from our trip.  I will not return until late in the week so there will be no update here next week other than the Twitter feed.

 
I love these Nufletch vanes.  


First deer of the season.

 

 

November 18, 2013

       To keep you abreast of my adventures in the woods in the coming months I have embedded my Twitter feed on this page.  I'll be posting updates on Twitter several times a week and multiple times a day when I am off with The Chase.  Follow me on Twitter if that is your thing at @WilliamMaloneAL or just stop by this page to check in.  
       I finally got in a tree in search of deer on Saturday and once I got there I really did not want to leave.  I was in a great spot of red oaks that were dropping a few acorns and there was good sign all around from both deer and hogs.  I arrived at dawn and stayed until noon and saw nothing.  I spent the afternoon watching football and returned for a three hour Sunday morning hunt.  Again I saw nothing but mosquitoes.  The afternoon was spent doing a few chores in 80 degree heat.  Such weather is just too hot for deer hunting.  It is for me anyway.  
      We are now in the midst of the Alabama muzzleloader season and gun season opens on Saturday.  Even in the heat, it appears a lot of youth got in some kills this past weekend during youth season.  I think the addition of youth season was a great addition several years ago.  The powers that be finally took notice of the future of hunting.  I commend them for allowing the Alabama youth the first shot each season.  
      

      Wednesday night, November 21st, The Chase hog episode filmed in the Horn Swamp in February of this year will air.  The show airs on The Sportsman Channel at 6:30pm CST.  It airs again on Saturday, November 23rd, at 12:30pm CST.  Leigh and Travis are shooting hogs with the Traditions muzzleloaders and Travis even breaks out the Mathews to take one out.  I have had the chance to preview the show and it turned out real well.  I started feeding the hogs as soon as deer season was closed and then much of the property flooded, destroying the motor in one of the feeders and drowning several of the barrel feeders.  Nevertheless, we scrapped and stalked and watched over greenfields and finally knocked out a bunch of hogs.  Hope you get a chance to watch the show and enjoy it.    

  

 

November 14, 2013

       Saturday morning Barry Estes and I put on a good stalk in the swamp in search of hogs.  Barry runs a company called Alabama Hog Control and is available for guided hunts and hog elimination work for farmers and landowners.  He loves to hunt hogs as much as I do and is quite adept at it.  I was certain that I could learn a few tricks from him and I was right.  A four hour stalk turned up only one group of hogs but we got three of them, all sows.  I took out the first with my Traditions muzzleloader and Barry followed up with two more before they escaped.    
       Sunday morning was the first morning I have hunted that I did not even see a hog.  Sign is sparse and the hogs are scarce right now.  I do not believe the numbers of hogs I was seeing back in August and early September are still on the property.  Where they went and why is a mystery.  Acorns are not as plentiful as I thought and it seems other than the red oaks, most trees have few nuts to drop.  The swamp is very dry and the wallows that still have some mud are getting some activity but finding the hogs that are visiting those areas seems pretty tough right now.  Going forward I think I'll concentrate on the deer and will be climbing a tree this weekend.


Barry Estes


William Malone

 

      Our "duck pond" has nearly dried up and the small patch of water remaining contains a few gar that drifted in with the high water back in February.  Two years ago when this scenario played out the hogs came and ate the gar as soon as they died.  This time I have a Plotwatcher standing guard and I'm interested to see what happens in the next couple of weeks if the rains do not return in time to save the fish.  Stay tuned to find out.


Andrew checks out the gar remaining in this small patch of water.


       This coming Wednesday, November 21st, The Chase hog episode filmed in the Horn Swamp in February of this year will air.  The show airs on The Sportsman Channel at 6:30pm CST.  It airs again on Saturday, November 23rd, at 12:30pm CST.  Leigh and Travis are shooting hogs with the Traditions muzzleloaders and Travis even breaks out the Mathews to take one out.           

      I have two deer hunts coming up with The Chase.  I'll be heading to Indiana in early December and then to the hill country of Texas in mid December.  Both hunts will be archery hunts.  I can't wait!

 

November 5, 2013

       What is there not to like about November?  Here in the Deep South, we finally escape most of the 80+ degree high temperatures and finally see some nights in the upper 30s and 40s.  The leaves are falling along with the acorns and the deer finally come out of the dense thickets to feed a little in sight of us hunters.  Football continues to be played each week.  Archery season is open here in Alabama and for those that are not adept with the stick and string, gun season will open before the month closes.  We get to watch via social media and other outlets as the big bucks begin to roll in other parts of the country as the peak of the rut hits those areas.  November brings much entertainment to enjoy along with some seriously spectacular weather.  Too bad it only lasts 30 days.  
       I slipped out for two morning hog hunts over the weekend, this time toting the Mathews bow.  Slipping through the hardwoods of the swamp on Saturday's hunt, I soon heard the squeals that broadcast an argument over a sow.  I slipped closer and found several boars putting up a ruckus over a sow.  They were pushing, shoving, and chasing each other in and out of a patch of briars and into a more open patch of woods.  I waited patiently, hoping for a shot at 30 to 40 yards.  Soon they came right to me be in the briars where I could not shoot and they got very close, spooked, and were gone.
      Later in the morning I heard hogs again a quarter mile from the last encounter and caught up with the same group.  This time I stuffed an arrow through a big speckled boar from 34 yards.  The arrow hit him in his chest, right behind the shoulder and low.  It appeared to be a heart shot.  He ran, then wheeled around and looked back my way, then took off through a cane thicket.  I waited 30 minutes and then went to inspect the scene and search for him.  
       My arrow passed through and he kicked it out about 10 yards into his escape.  The back half of it was covered in blood.  There blood began to spew and as I began to track it through the leaves I felt sure he would be lying close.  For the next two hours I followed blood easily through the woods for a distance that I later estimated using Google Earth to be around 1200 yards.  Finally it decreased to a speck here and there and I threw in the towel.  I had realized much earlier that I must have hit him too low for the heart or lungs and though he was bleeding quite a bit, no vitals were hit.


      The next morning I returned and had an encounter with two boars that I saw about the same time they saw me, though not knowing what I was.  Hogs have poor eyesight and struggle to decipher a hunter from other movement in the woods.  If you surprise them they often do not know what you are and if they do not smell you, they will hang around to figure it out before exiting the scene.  
        The most wary of the two turned to face me at 30 yards and began chomping his teeth and making challenging nasal snorts.  I stood motionless with an arrow nocked.  After a minute or two he turned in the other direction and I drew, almost getting a shot through an opening before they trotted off.  
        Farther along I spotted another big boar through a thicket of saplings.  He was standing in a sunny spot under a big red oak.  Though I could not see his head, his body appeared alert and I was certain he detected me.  Moments later he walked to the left and stopped in a thicker area where I could not see him but I suspected he was still there.  Again, it was the case that he knew something had walked up but he wasn't sure what it was.  
        I nocked an arrow and took a few quiet steps forward and then chomped my teeth a few times and tried to imitate the snorts of the hog in my latest encounter.  I simply hoped he would slip closer for a better look.  Instead he came my way at a full run.  He was coming in a 25, then 20, 15, and then I drew.  He was still in the saplings and there was no clear shot for an arrow.  He saw the movement of my draw and veered around my left side and ran out about 25 yards.  I had one shot and just as I settled the pin behind his shoulder he was gone again.  I let the bow down and as church time was nearing, I headed for the truck, but not without a little more knowledge of tactics to use in hog hunting.    

 

October 29, 2013

       I did not make it to the woods this weekend as a family trip to the beach took me southward.  I do have a video to share from my black powder hog hunts this fall.  This is the first of my videos using a GoPro as well as the video camera.  Unfortunately several of the hogs I shot were through the brush which made focusing on the hog difficult with my camera and on a couple of other shots I pulled the trigger just as the animal was leaving the field of view.  Self filming is tough indeed, but I think you will like this short video.  Watch for a real cool GoPro segment around the 3:55 mark.  
        I am hoping to finally get some food plots in the ground this weekend.  Limited time and limited moisture have kept this project on the shelf.  Hopefully we will get a little water later this week but it has been quite a dry spell for the last two months.  

 

 

October 24, 2013

       My first trip on the road with Leigh and Travis was a super fun trip,  just as going to any hunting destination with close friends and spending some serious time in a tree would be for anyone.  Having the cameras rolling just added another dimension to the experience.  I learned a lot and realized how much more I have to learn.  There is a lot more to shooting a deer on camera than just shooting a deer.  That was no surprise.  I've killed a lot of deer in my life but never with the camera of a TV show over my shoulder.  I'll be glad when I get a few kills under my belt.  I think I'll relax a little then.  Well, maybe.        
       Sadly, we did not get the kill(s) we needed.  Our main guide, SuperDave, at Edge River Outfitters had some huge bucks on the game cameras but we couldn't get one in the sights in two days of black powder hunting and one final day with the Mathews bows.  The first afternoon I had a shooter 10 point down a hill from me in the brush and timber.  He was 190 yards away, checking out our greenfield where several does were feeding and some younger bucks were sparring.  I just knew he was going to come on up the hill and let us get some better video and a clear shot.  Instead, he turned and headed back into the brush and we never saw him again.  I saw does and young bucks on other hunts but just could not get a big Kentucky buck in the sights.  Travis had a big one under him one morning well before shooting light and another working in that busted them when the cameraman moved at the wrong time.  Leigh's luck was just as sour.  She was hunting the big 10-point that she drew and held on back in September for a long time as he would not step out from behind a tree.  She never got that shot and hoped to settle up with him on the trip but it was not to be.  He was a no show.  You can see my full photo album of the trip at this link.       

          

 

October 15, 2013

      Archery season opens this morning in most of Alabama.  For the first time in a lot of years, it does not open in all of Alabama on this fifteenth of October.  The southwest area of the state, which happens to cut across my home area of Wilcox County and has the ten days of extended season, will not see their archery season open until the 25th of the month.  Us Alabama bowhunters are so programmed to hit the woods on the fifteenth of October, I wonder how many forgot about this change and headed to the woods anyway.  Hopefully there were not many that did, but I expect there were some.  Change is hard to get used to.    
       The woods in our area are just full of acorns.  I stalked around Saturday morning and where I found the most concentration of acorns I saw plenty of deer and hog sign and often the deer and hogs themselves.  I killed two more hogs with the Traditions muzzleloader.  Once again, if I had not been trying to video with two cameras and shoot as well, I might have gotten a few more.  But if having fun is the objective, I certainly exceeded the goal.  
       Early bowseason is the time to kill a mature buck in these Alabama woods.  It takes very little time for the deer to become accustomed to deer season and go completely nocturnal.  Already having an abundance of food and plenty of cover, a hunter's best time to strike is early in areas that receive even the lightest hunting pressure.  So put your chores off until later in the season and get out there this weekend or the next.  Chores will wait.  They always have for me.  
        I am Kentucky bound on Friday morning for three days of black powder hunting with The Chase.   The coming cold front will arrive just right for our hunt and I am expecting great conditions during our stay.  Stay tuned...


Still picture from the GoPro camera.    


One of two this past weekend.

 

 

October 8, 2013

      The hot and humid weather was not pleasant to hog hunt this weekend, but I pressed on regardless of the conditions.  Acorns are hitting the ground at a good pace, mostly water and red oaks, but I was able to find some overcups as well.  I slipped up on a group of hogs early Saturday and got one, then kept hunting through the remainder of the morning.  Around 10am, I crept to the edge of an overcup bottom and a big boar, the largest I have had the chance to shoot in some years, was in some brush at the edge of the opening.  He saw movement and got wary but could not smell me.  His poor eyesight could not confirm if I was danger or not but he began to walk away from me, mostly concealed by a briar thicket.  I never turned the cameras on as it would have been too difficult of a task.  I just wanted to kill this hog.  
       He finally passed through a tiny opening about 60 yards away and I took what I felt like was a good freehand shot.  He ran to my left and made a semi-circle around me at a distance of 75 yards.  I could not clearly see him but only a flash as he ran through the woods. He stopped and I thought he was dead, then he took off again.  I searched for 30 minutes afterwards and never found a drop of blood, much less him.  I can only surmise that I missed.  What a bummer.    
       I got in one more quick hunt Sunday morning before church, stalking back to that same overcup bottom hoping to see that hog again.  The first hog I came to I heard crunching hickory nuts well before I could see him.  When I finally got close enough to see him, he spotted me readying the cameras and vanished.  I slipped along a little farther and found a group of hogs working along the edge of a cypress swamp.  The second hog of the weekend went down soon after amid a cloud of black powder smoke.  
       The weekend after next is my first hunt with The Chase.  We are heading to Kentucky on a three-day black powder deer hunt at Edge River Outfitters. I have been checking out the game camera pictures they have posted on their Facebook page and could not be more excited.  They have some great deer and hopefully we will bring a few of them back to Alabama.  Stay tuned...

 
10/5/2013 


10/6/2013 

     

 

 

 

October 1, 2013

      I got in two morning hog hunts over the weekend and one dove hunt.  All but one hog hunt was productive.  It was a gorgeous weekend with weather that was beginning to feel like we have turned a corner on summer.  And it is about time for that as well!  
       I never got a shot during Saturday morning's hog hunt but Sunday morning I connected on two boars with the Traditions muzzleloader, both of which I captured on video.  I saw a couple more boars as well but no other groups of hogs.  Acorns from the red and water oaks are falling and the hogs are lapping them up as fast as they can.  The video is still in the editing phase and I'll have it ready within the next week.
      For those that tried the links to the Big Buck Contest flyer, I apologize that they did not work early last week.  They have been fixed in case you want to scroll down and try again.
      Stay tuned.  It is going to be a busy fall.  


First hog Sunday morning


Second hog Sunday morning

 
Screen shot on the computer from the GoPro footage of the 
second hog shot with the Traditions black powder rifle.   
       

 

September 24, 2013

      The light rain early Saturday morning, which looked much more intimidating on radar, kept me from making a planned hog hunt with friend Terry Sims.  It was one of those mornings that we awoke and checked the weather and seeing a huge line of rain that appeared nearly on top of us, we made the call to stay home.  Daybreak came and only a few drops fell.  Two hours later only a few more drops had fallen.  The radar fooled us.  Rain did come later in the morning but we should have gone to the woods and made it run us out rather than rely on a radar that made the storm appear to hold more water than it did.  I know better.   
       The Wilcox Area Chamber's Big Buck Contest flyer has been released and this is going to be another great event.  If you hunt in Wilcox or county that touches Wilcox, you should get into this contest.  New to the contest this year is an archery division.  There are so many prizes and different ways to win and I can not imagine a better contest anywhere in the southeast.  Over $10,000 in prizes are at stake.  See the flyer at these links.  Page 1Page 2.  
        I am still getting my schedule together for some hunts with The Chase show this fall and winter.  If you are on Facebook or Twitter, look for or follow The Chase and keep up with us all year long.  On Twitter, look for "thechaselt" and me "williammalone2."  Follow this link to The Chase's Facebook page. 
        A new website is being launched called www.trophystack.com that I believe is going to be a big success.  I have had the pleasure of meeting the brains behind this venture and I am pleased to let you know about it today.  They have a unique and simple way of scoring your kill or catch and you can upload it directly to the website, create your own trophy room, and share with other outdoorsmen all around the country.  It also ranks your "trophy" in numerous categories.  You can do a quick and free sign up right now at the site and begin using it.  Once the app is released in a few weeks you will be able to easily upload from the field.  Check it out and join in the fun.     

   

 

 

 

 

September 16, 2013

      A few weekends ago my dear friends Leigh and Travis Creekbaum asked me to come along as a third member of The Chase on some upcoming hunts filming for season four of the show.  I was taken by surprise and was in shock at the invitation but somehow I managed to accept the incredible offer.  I thought maybe one day I would get to be president of the fan club, but never dreamed I would have the chance to strike out on the road with The Chase.  Knowing how much fun we have had on the hog hunts here locally the past few years, I can only imagine the good times we will have in other locales.  The opportunity to spend more time with such awesome friends and do something I love, not to mention meet even more of the greatest people in the outdoor industry, has left me a little speechless.  I do not know yet where adventure will take me but I am pumped to say the least.  The Chase is sponsored by Matthews so I have put down the bow I have shot the last few years and picked up a sweet shooting Z7Extreme and have been hammering the target every day.  The Traditions muzzleloader is dialed in as well, so I'm ready for whatever comes my way.  Stay tuned!     

 

            As promised last week, here are some pictures from The Chase's hunt during the Brad Powe Memorial Hog Rodeo.  


Non-Stop Hunting Co-host Jeff Ensor and The Chase's Leigh Creekbaum, waiting on hogs.


Jeff Ensor rolls the camera as Leigh smokes a hog!


Videographer Joseph Maier, Jackson Ryley (Scott Pet / Big Tine Feed) and William Malone


Leigh Creekbaum and hog shot with her Traditions muzzleloader


Jackson Ryley drove 10 hours from Indiana and killed his first hog the first afternoon of the hunt!


Jordan Ryley, Jackson's wife, got her first hog as well during the weekend.


Travis Creekbaum and a hog shot with his Traditions muzzleloader.


Leigh Creekbaum and another hog shot with her Traditions muzzleloader

 

      Thursday afternoon my four year old Andrew and I went back to the Swamp to look for a piece of camera gear that was unaccounted for from the prior weekend's hunt.  We were not going to the woods without checking a few spots for hogs and sure enough, before we could get to one of the feeders a hog stepped into the road in front of us.  Andrew jumped behind me and held his ears as I leveled the Traditions muzzleloader at the hog and fired.  He toted a huge hole in his neck for fifty yards and then piled up in the pines.  


Thursday evening hog with the Traditions muzzleloader

       Sunday morning,  I made another brief outing before church.  I got to the third feeder and having not seen any hogs yet, decided to sit down and wait a little while.  I readied the main camera on the tripod and then set the GoPro beside me and began to turn on the wireless function to be ready if a hog appeared.  As I cruised through the menu of the app on my phone I glanced up and a hog was right in front of me, just 20 yards away, walking right at me.  I never heard him and have no idea from which direction he came.  I turned on the camera with my left hand and readied the gun with my right (with no chance to turn on the GoPro) at about the time he saw me and wheeled to run.  I fired and he piled up 30 yards away at the end of a massive bloodtrail.  


Sunday morning hog with the Traditions muzzleloader

     These two hogs were the first animals I have killed with a muzzleloader.  I have been having a big time getting used to shooting one.  Initially, it seemed a chore to clean after each shot or two but I am getting the hang of it by this point.  The 250 grain, 50 caliber slug punches a massive entry and exit hole in the animal and leaves a much better blood trail on the hogs than most centerfire rifle rounds do.    

       

 

September 10, 2013

      The hogs humbled us this past weekend.  There was no shortage of sweating in the humid, south Alabama heat, and walking, through the hardwoods of the property, but in the end we had far less hogs than I had envisioned.  Sitting at the feeders the stale air would shift one way and then the other, spreading our scent in all directions and alerting the hogs to our presence.  Every hog in the woods is as wary of human scent as a 5+ year old buck and the steady wind from any direction that we needed did not occur.  We ended the weekend with 5 kills on camera and a few more that were not filmed.  It was an incredibly enjoyable weekend for me, spending time with such close friends and making even more friends as well.  
      Along with Leigh and Travis Creekbaum from "The Chase," Jackson Ryley and his wife Jordan drove down from Indiana for the hunt.  Jackson is the top sales representative for Scott Pet, the manufacturer of Big Tine feed that is endorsed and used by Leigh and Travis.  Cameramen for the weekend were Jeff Ensor and Tres Lowery who both flew in from Texas.  Jeff is the co-host of the "Non Stop Hunting" tv show on The Pursuit Channel.  Cameraman Joseph Maier from Pike Road, Alabama also joined us for the first half of the hunt.
      Both Leigh and Travis got two on film and Jackson killed his first on film.  Jordan killed her first hog as well, but by that point in the weekend we were back to two cameramen and her hunt did not get filmed.  We had other close calls and encounters as well.  Jackson shot a hog that ran and we missed the direction it went due to all the smoke from the muzzleloader.  It left no blood trail initially and we found it later in the weekend.  An unrecovered kill does not make the show.  Travis approached a feed barrel Saturday morning and huge hog was there but got spooked before a shot could be made.  We jumped a group of hogs on our of our stalks and Travis made a quick shot on a running sow, knocked her down, but she ran off and we did not find her.  
       I am not sure if we got a whole show filmed for season four of The Chase, but Leigh and Travis will be back in February for more hog hunting and we'll certainly have it done by then.  Ideally they will only have room for one hog show because they will kill so many deer this fall and winter.  Season four is already shaping up well with months of filming to go.
       If you have not seen it yet, the hog episode of The Chase filmed last September will air again this week on The Sportsman's Channel.  It airs Wednesday night at 6:30pm CST and Saturday afternoon at 12:30pm CST.  Another hog episode filmed in February will air later this fall and I will let you know when that is as we get closer to the airing.  

       Overall the Brad Powe Memorial Hog Rodeo went well and we made a little money for the scholarship fund.  Numerous kids and adults killed their first hogs and existing friendships were strengthened and many new ones made.  We enjoyed some great entertainment Saturday evening at the Davis's hunting camp and ate some fine food as well.  We estimated 400+ attended the event, braving the hot and humid weather.  A special thanks to all who did attend, some who drove several hours to reach us.      
       If you are a Facebook member, "like" the Brad Powe Memorial Hog Rodeo page and you will find well over a hundred pictures from the event.  I will be adding a few pictures here later tonight so please stop by again this week.    

 

September 4, 2013

      Two months of preparation will come together for two and a half days of hog hunting beginning tomorrow afternoon as another hog hunting episode for The Chase show is filmed in the swamp.  The feeders and barrels are being hit hard each day and night.  I pulled data cards from the Plotwatcher cameras last night and studied the latest pictures.  The hogs can be patterned about 80% of the time and will leave you guessing the other 20%.  That certainly means we will be hog hunting rather than conducting a hog shoot.  Thankfully the weather is looking favorable with a very slight cool front coming in that will at least drop the humidity levels for a few days and the rain should stay away.  
       Please remember that everyone is invited to this Saturday evening's event at the Brad Powe Memorial Hog Rodeo headquarters on the western side of Camden (Possum Bend).  Beginning at 4pm we will have vendors, musical entertainment by numerous acts, an amazing southern buffet, and we will cap it off with a showing of two outdoor shows that were filmed at last year's event.  No admission is required but please bring your wallet as we are accepting donations to the scholarship fund.  If you have questions about how to find the event, call me at 334-525-0462.  
        I will have a few pictures to share with you next week, however, if you are on Facebook, I suggest you look for and "like" the Brad Powe Memorial Hog Rodeo, The Chase, and friend me (William Malone) as well if you want to see pictures throughout the weekend.    

 

August 28, 2013

      We are finally enjoying some drier days and cooler mornings and it is beginning to feel like fall is just around the corner.  The game plan for the The Chase's hunt next weekend is coming together and hopefully we will have some cooler temperatures and a steady breeze that will prevail from one direction.  
       Having a permit issued by the game warden, we are able to hunt hogs over corn and Big Tine feed.  Big Tine, endorsed by The Chase, is a supplemental feed heavy in calcium and minerals and shown to increase the antler size of deer.  I have been amazed at how the bucks show up to it when they do not come to corn.  I am running several Moultrie feeders and also have my rolling barrels at these locations.  The hogs are draining the barrels in two to five days but the feeders are keeping some food on the ground several times a day and the hogs are staying close, even when the barrels run dry.  
        Hunting hogs over bait is not as easy as you might think.  Plotwatcher game camera footage shows that they do not come running each day when the feeders dispense the food.  Some days they come quickly, some days there is a delay of an hour or two, and some days they simply skip showing up at some of the locations.  They are tough to pattern.  Furthermore, sitting at one of these locations when it is really hot and humid and one's body is giving off way more scent than is desired, coupled with a swirling breeze, is simply unproductive.  Hogs are different than deer.  Does and young bucks will not usually bolt at the first smell of a human.  Hogs will and every hog, no matter the size or age, will run like the wind in the same fashion that a 5 year old buck will at the first scent of man.  Put a little pressure on the hogs and they will go nocturnal.  
        So we are going to do some sitting over the feeders and some sneaking in to check the food at the most opportune times.  And we plan to do some stalking through the hardwoods, keeping the wind in our faces and hoping that a few acorns might be hitting the ground a little early. 
     
        

August 21, 2013

      We are closing in on the 3rd Annual Brad Powe Memorial Hog Rodeo and this year's event is looking bigger and better.  I am hearing from many more stalk hunters that are entering this year and I know the dog teams are going to turn out well again.  For the Saturday afternoon and evening event of which everyone that reads this is invited, we are going to have some great entertainment, food and vendors.  Performing beginning at 4pm will be Summerlyn Powers, Camilla Tutt, Jess Meuse, Valerie Stewart, and Randall Haley.  We will close the night by showing two outdoor shows on the big screen.  First we will show the "In the Woods with Ron and Jerry" episode as Caleb Little, the youth raffle winner from last year's rodeo, hog hunts with Ron and Jerry.  This episode recently aired on The Pursuit Channel.  Closing the night will be a showing of "Scentblocker's The Chase with Leigh & Travis," filmed at last year's hog rodeo and recently aired on The Sportsman Channel.  
       We are selling $20 raffle tickets for youth (under 16) to have a chance to be on TV with Ron & Jerry on a hog hunt.  All youth that enter the stalk division will automatically be entered, though they can still buy additional chances.  Sign up forms are available at area stores to enter the event in the stalk, dog, or trapping divisions and you can also download the form at the website, linked above.
       Meanwhile I am laying the groundwork for another good hog hunt with Leigh & Travis.  We have feeders and barrels at five locations and have been drawing a good number of hogs at each place.  Plotwatcher game cameras are watching each location throughout the day.  Unfortunately hogs can be tough to get in a pattern and sometimes they feed early and sometimes late in the day and sometimes they are feeding through the middle of the day.  They are more predictable at some locations than others but one way or another we are going to stack some up for another great hog episode for "The Chase."  Here's a YouTube video with a glimpse of what I have been seeing at our feeding locations.  In the past our most exciting hunts have been stalks through the hardwoods, looking for hogs feeding on the earliest of acorns to drop from the limbs.  
       Our summer break has ended at this blog and I'll be updating weekly as we go forward.  I'll do my best to get it done on Tuesdays but bear with me and a busy schedule.  

   

 

 

July 1, 2013

      We are just over two months away from the 3rd Annual Brad Powe Memorial Hog Rodeo.  This year's event is taking shape and it looks like this one will be the best yet.  We are ramping up the entertainment for Saturday evening to go with another great spread of food.  We are expecting a few more hunting teams to join in this year and all of our hunting celebrities will return including those from "Ladies in Camo," "In the Woods with Ron and Jerry," and "Scentblockers The Chase with Leigh and Travis."  Stay tuned here for more news from the rodeo as we get closer.  
      My Fourth of July will be spent scouting for hogs and getting my focus on how we are going to get the best of them once again as Leigh and Travis Creekbaum film another show during the weekend of hunting.  This time will be different as steady rains have kept the low areas in the swamp full of water.  The hogs are not concentrated as they have been in recent dry years.  It is another puzzle to put together and hopefully we will have the hogs pinpointed for when the cameras start rolling.  
      "The Chase's" third season kicks off Wednesday evening at 6:30pm CST (July 3rd) on The Sportsman's Channel.  (The show also airs on Saturday at 12:30pm CST.) The hog episode that was filmed at the 2nd Annual Brad Powe Memorial Hog Rodeo in September of 2012 will air on July 31 and August 3.  This is going to be a very exciting show featuring 13 kills with the Traditions muzzleloaders.  The show filmed this past February will air later in the season, mostly likely around late October or early November.  
        I had the opportunity to attend the National Wild Turkey Federation's National Leadership Conference a few weeks ago in Augusta, Georgia.  Volunteers from across this country and Canada came together to learn more about the NWTF.  We heard one of, if not the, most interesting speaker I have ever had the pleasure of listening to--Shane Mahoney.  From Newfoundland, he is one of the top conservation minds in the world as well as the foremost authority on the Woodland Caribou.  He really brought it home as to how America has led the world in conservation of wild animals and how important we are to the survival of every species there is.  If you ever have 45 minutes and want to hear a very interesting guy, click here and watch this speach on YouTube.  This is very similar to what we heard in Augusta.  


       While there, I had a chance to visit with Michael Waddell.  He was with us for the weekend's events.  If you are not an NWTF member, I would encourage you to join.      

 

 

 


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