Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Florida And Back

I just looked at my last post, and it's been awhile. I used to write almost every day...I'm not sure what happened. I used to be bubbling over with thoughts and words of wisdom and look forward to sharing it. I need to get back into that, but life has been so busy lately and not exactly easy so we will see...

Mike and I recently got back from our Florida trip...which I also looked at as a vacation that I desperately needed.

I absolutely hate flying (don't ask me how I'll survive the flight to Africa) but we flew into Tampa since it seemed cheaper than driving. The first 2 days in Florida we basically did nothing....hung out, went hog hunting, went to a beach. Our outfitter Dave from Woodland Guides Outdoors was having vehicle problems and we weren't supposed to officially start hunting anyways...and we were there all week.

The third day (Tuesday April 3) we got up at 4:30 am, got dressed and headed out to the turkey property. The morning didn't start out so well....Mike was in a horrible mood, nothing seemed to be going right and me trying to cheer him up wasn't exactly working. (An optimist and a pessimist together in a blind doesn't always go over well.) Sitting miserably in the blind in the dark, we heard several gobbles and then nothing. We had a decoy set up about 15 yards in front of our blind to draw them in since this was supposed to quite the place for gobblers to cross.

About 8:00 I was fighting to stay awake. Guess I'm really not used to getting up so early!!! I took a Wildlife Energy shot in hopes of livening myself up, and it seemed to help. Then, at 8:30, two big gobblers appeared out of the woods to the left of the blind. Mike got his bow ready, I got the camera rolling. The gobbled a few times, made a beeline for the decoy and immediately jumped on it and started beating it up. Poor old "Scarface" was going to end up with a few more scars before the day was over.

I ended up taking one of the gobblers with the shotgun, and he went down like a sack of lead. The other gobbler, who seemed rather confused, flew up and hit a tree, then ran into the woods to the left of us. To top it off, I had managed to capture it all on film!

Afterwards Mike told me that the shotgun (Mossberg 835) threw me back into the blind, but I don't even remember feeling the kick.

It was agony sitting there watching my dead turkey laying there on the ground directly in front of the blind. But, since there was a very good chance that another gobbler could wander by, we stayed put in the blind.

We were sitting there updating our facebook statuses, texting, and blabbing away when to the right of the blind, maybe 10 yards away, I saw a huge gobbler making his way towards the decoy. It took Mike a second to notice the shocked look on my face, and me pointing at the turkey trying to get him to notice...but about 10 minutes later Mike had the gobbler on the ground, dead as a doornail.

Seriously, don't mess with us.

1 and 1/2 inch spurs on Mike's Osceola

I was the happiest girl alive when we got out to grab our turkeys and take some pictures. Besides the fact that I had just killed my first Osceola, and Mike and I had doubled...we still had 4 days left in Florida, and now had plenty of free time to shoot some hogs and just hang out.

I was so happy!

Unfortunately the day took a turn for the worst. An hour or so later I got a phone call from my dad telling me that both of my grandparents had passed away. It was so completely unexpected that I think that I was in shock for the rest of the day...I barely remember anything else that happened. Mike suggested taking a flight home, but since the funeral wasn't until the 14th, I opted to stay put. I needed some down time to relax and try to cope with the awful news. I could do that much better in Florida than I could at home with so many other people around bothering me and asking me questions. And, there is nothing better in the world than hunting to get my mind off of things.

Wednesday Mike and I did absolutely nothing...we stayed at our hotel room all morning and hung out at the pool, went out for lunch. Nothing particularly stressful, which was exactly what I needed.

I just want to live here

Thursday, after getting a call from a good friend of ours telling us he had set it up, Mike and I headed over to Tiger Island in Cedar Key Florida for some hog hunting.

Yep. That's Mike. 

Ten minutes into our hunt, Mike stuck a pig with his bow...unfortunately wild pigs are a heckuva lot tougher than either of us had imagined, and despite the vast amounts of blood, we ended up not finding it. Later that day we saw it running around like nothing had happened, and also got footage of it hanging out with several other hogs although we didn't know it was Mike's hog at the time.

I had pretty much accepted the fact that I wasn't going to get a hog. Several opportunities presented themselves, and then the pigs would either run away, a tree would be in the way, or the arrow wasn't right on the Barnett Crossbow I was using.

The sun was going down, it had rained a little bit...and then finally I got a shot at a 100lb black boar. I had to take a standing shot at 45 yards, but the arrow zipped through him perfectly and imbedded itself in a tree behind the pig. The pig ran a little ways and collapsed underneath some trees. Really, it couldn't have been more perfect. I was also happy to discover that Mike had managed to get it on film.

I was overjoyed to finally have shot a pig
We packed up the hog head and the meat and got into our little rental car that was crammed full of hunting gear, and drove back to our hotel. We stuck the meat in our hotel room refrigerator and asked the Denny's Restaurant next door if we could store the pig head and turkey tails in the freezer until we left the next day. The agreed. BIG mistake.

The next morning when we went to retrieve the head and tails, we learned that someone had thrown them in the dumpster. Speaking of angry.

Mike had to do some dumpster diving, but luckily we recovered the head and the tails...then had to run around like a chicken with its head cut off, trying to find a freezer to store them in so they didn't spoil. We ended up going to Big Lots for a cooler, and a Publix for some dry ice. I'm pretty happy we go to bring the head home (getting a skull mount) and the tails (getting blanket mounts) and of course the meat, which proved to be absolutely delicious. 

I'm not going to lie, I didn't really want to leave Florida. I felt like I was in my own little world, just hanging out and killing things...returning to Ohio would be like a rude awakening to real life.

Now that I'm back in Ohio, it's like my world has tilted ever so slightly, and hasn't quite righted itself again. But, I had a wonderful trip to Florida and made some great memories. I can't exactly complain, can I?

In a few weeks Mike and I will be driving out to Kansas and Nebraska, to hopefully complete our Grand  Slams...only this time my Dad will be going with us. I'm looking forward to another great trip, and here's hoping that the Rio's and Merriam's will be as easy to kill as the Osceola's were :)

Tiger Island Outfitters:


  1. Great post! Looks like you guys had a blast, congrats!

  2. This was the best hunt of my life beka! We doubled then i got to film youre hog hunt! i have traveled alot and hunted alot with you! and im proud of you and everything that you have done! you truely are the kindest hearted person that i have ever known!!! we will all miss you here and we love ya!!! keep up the good work and good luck on all of youre travels and hunts!!!

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  4. Thank you, Beka, that was a charming read with some super pictures.

    For me two passages especially shone out with real passion and really lit it up:

    The first was when you got a shot at your 100lb black boar: "the arrow zipped through him perfectly and imbedded itself in a tree behind the pig. The pig ran a little ways and collapsed underneath some trees. Really, it couldn't have been more perfect." - sheer delight and very prettily described!

    The other was simply your description of contentment: "I felt like I was in my own little world, just hanging out and killing things." - Oh, I can so identify with that. :)

    I've got some catching up to do with your backnumbers and I look forward to your next blog. Feel free to post any of your hunting blogs on my timeline. You are always welcome.