Harvesting a Hog with Hope

This story has been republished with the permission of Randy Madden. Randy was shooting “Hope,” one of two bows made by Bob Sarrels of Sarrels Archery. The bows, Hope and Faith, are identical mirrors of each other – one is right handed and one is left handed. They were made with the express purpose of being donated to raise money for Trad Gang’s annual St. Jude Children’s Hospital auction. Every year, Trad Gang members donate and auction off hundreds of items, worth tens of thousands of dollars – 100% of the money raised goes directly to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. After the bows were made, they were passed around the community for more than a year to drum up interest. While he had her, Randy was able to harvest a prize.

By Randy Madden

I was recently asked if Hope had a new story to tell, and as a matter of fact she does! But I better tell the story, so she doesn’t tell everyone about how fast my heart was beating and how bad I was shaking and how I almost messed the whole thing up!

After gathering with some friends last week I almost decided not to hunt, but my wife said I should go because I only have Hope for a few more days. So, I headed out the door around 6:20 that evening. I climbed up in the same stand that I used in a previously unsuccessful hunt around 6:40 p.m.

My feeder had already gone off, but I wasn’t worried about it. The trail cam pics show that the hogs usually don’t come by until right at dark or a little after. With a storm front approaching my hopes that something would move a little early was high. I didn’t hang my feeder light because these hogs have been hunted and usually won’t commit to the feeder if anything is out of the norm.

So, I sat and enjoined the cool breeze, which was perfect most of the time with an occasional errant swirl. I watched the doves, cardinals, blue jays, and squirrels take turns running each other away to take their turn at the free golden bounty. I sat there just enjoying the evening, contemplating what to do about the coons that seem to get the most of what is meant for the hogs. As the light started to fade I texted my wife and told her that if something didn’t come in soon I would be coming home earlier than normal as I was concerned of shooting something late with the storms coming. As last light came I was mentally getting ready to start packing up. I say mentally because I have to make myself quit or I would have stayed until I got wet.

Then I heard the slightest noise to my left and not very far away. I thought “Oh great, another dang bait stealing coon”.

Next thing I know I see a hog step out on the trail to my left at 5 yards. This sucker snuck to within 5 yards of me and I never knew he was there! Always amazes me how quiet they can be when they have to.

Anyway, I was already standing because I was about to pack it in so I eased Hope off the hook she was hanging on and got ready. I couldn’t shoot because of a few limbs from the cedar tree I was in but all he had to do was take two steps and he was mine. Well, he just stood there staring at my feeder and smelling the wind for a min which seemed like forever then he turned and headed back the way he came! Crap!! I thought he was gone.

After another minute long eternity, he comes out at 15 yards to the left of my feeder and I guess he was convinced all was safe because he walked straight in and started eating. It also amazes me how they can always be broadside to everything except you! I watch him eat for a few minutes and every time he moves, he always stops head on. One time he turns broadside and I start to draw and he starts walking to the opposite side of the feeder and I almost let one fly, but it didn’t feel right, so I let down. This goes on for several minutes and all I can do is pray the wind holds.

He finally walks back to the left side of the feeder and I know he’s going to have to turn around to face the feeder to eat so I put some tension on the string. Sure enough he turns to face the feeder and stops broadside. He’s about 9 yards, head down, wind is in my favor, and I start to draw. I honestly do not remember coming to full draw. All I see is the soft spot above his elbow and the next thing I know the woods erupt with a loud grunt and string is coming out of my tracker so fast I was scared it was going to break off.

After what seemed like forever it starts to slow down, then it’s slowly but steadily coming out. Then it stops. Then it starts going slow again. Then it stops again. Then it goes slow again. The next time it stops it doesn’t move. I keep thinking the worst like maybe the arrow pulled out, so I give him a few more minutes and I call my wife and ask her to bring my spotlight. After she arrives we start the tracking job. We slowly follow the string while constantly searching ahead as far as we can see. All I can say is thank God for my string tracker. Due to the downhill angle and the lack of penetration (only got about 6-7” of penetration, and only got one lung, but my Grizzly broadhead did its job) I only found eight drops of blood in about 250 yards. At the end of the string, I was ecstatic! He was much bigger than I thought, he weighed 272 lbs.

Therefore, I had to recruit my brother to help with the drag. We had to drag him about 150 yards to get close enough to load him in my truck. That was tough. As I pulled into my driveway it started to rain. For once everything went right. But that’s why we do what we do. All the times we fail are washed away by each success!

Definitely my best hog with any bow to date thanks to Hope.

Hope, 54#@28″, Grizzly 175 grain Instincts on D/F shafts, string tracker from Chad Orde.

You can purchase Hope, Faith, and hundreds of other items at Trad Gang’s annual St. Jude Children’s Hospital auction – 100% of the proceeds are donated to St. Jude.