My daughter will be 12 this week. She is an awesome kid, and has always enjoyed going hunting with me. Last year she drew her first big game (javelina) tag. You can read the story of that hunt HERE
This year, friend John wanted to try again. You can read my version of this year’s hunt story over at the AHT Forums.
Here is Mikaela’s version of this year’s story, mostly unedited. I know I’m biased, but she’s twelve. She spins quite a tale. Please welcome my Guest Blogger this week, Mikaela MacFarlane. ~DesertRat
The Sunset Sow
By Mikaela MacFarlane
Hunting with my dad is always a wonderful experience, and I really enjoy going with him. We always have fun, no matter what comes back in our game bag. The bag came home empty, until Jan. 24, 2010.
The day before, Jan 23, was a freezing day filled with long hikes and glassing for as long as 3 hours straight. I met some experienced pig hunters in that outing, yet I had my doubts. After all, was this MacFarlane Curse hereditary? We did spot pigs that day; however by the time we got to the said pigs’ whereabouts, they were long gone. We hiked another mile and a half to a road, where we were picked up and enjoyed lunch. I was kind of feeling sick, but I didn’t want to give up quite yet. So we ate around 3:45, and then set out for a new spot where we glassed for another hour and a half with no success. Finally, we decided to head home and get a well deserved rest.
The next day, we lost a few of our hunting experts with plans they were obligated to stay home with. However, we still had two of our hunters, and two was enough. Within an hour we spotted five or six pigs, closer than the day before, and the excitement on top of the hill began to build. Me, dad, and Josh set out for a pig, and John remained on the hill to keep an eye on our pigs. We hiked for about half an hour before we caught our first close up on the pigs. Our first view was of two pigs feeding together, but they moved before we could set up The Claw™ for my accurate and ethical shot at a pig. After moving for about fifteen minutes, we came across a beautiful sow about 70 yards away from where we were set up.
Despite the fact that it was an almost perfect shot, I began whispering, “I can’t do this.” Dad became a little frustrated, but when he realized what I meant, he eased up. The rifle wasn’t steady enough. I didn’t want the pig to suffer. So waiting a minute, Josh steadied the rifle so it barely moved. I waited. The sow finally turned broadside and I regained my confidence. I shot. The sow staggered into the bush it was eating and died there. I took two more reassuring shots to make sure she was in no pain and dead. After five minutes, we then proceeded down the hill, and found our gorgeous pig lying in a jojoba bush, with a gash in her side. After further discussion, we discovered my first shot was directly in the lung. The second one was through her but father back. The third was a graze, along her side.
We took a few photos and then we (Dad) began to gut our beautiful pig. The teeth on her were absolutely stunning! I have never seen teeth bigger than hers, anywhere. Trashing her insides, Josh carried our pig, and we made our way up the steep hill. After a few minutes, and I got to thinking, “I’m not a murder. Why did I kill that poor sow? What if she had kids?” Josh had sent a text message and I was constantly getting “congrats” from everyone. Those made me feel worse in a way. Dad’s word for this hunt, “slay” didn’t help either. I needed to see Mom. I knew she would understand. Tears rolling down my cheeks, I tried going up as fast as I can. Staggering, I collapsed onto a rock, and resting, Dad reassured me that I could take as much time as I needed to get up the hill. I was impatient to go home, so I snapped, “I just want to go home!” Thinking that I just wanted to sit there because I didn’t want to walk up the hill or down to the road, he became impatient. So he offered to take my gun. We argued, and then I shouted, “Fine. Take it.” He did, and now I realize why he was upset. Seeing that it wasn’t about me being lazy, he constantly asked, “What’s wrong? Are you ok?” I usually didn’t answer, and when I did it was with, “Nothing. I’m fine.” Eventually, he got back to talking about our hunt.
Finally reaching John’s truck, he gave me his congratulations; we loaded the sow into the truck, and headed to me and Dad’s. We thanked the men again, and headed for home. Almost as soon as we took off, I started crying and explained, “I didn’t feel right killing the sow. I’m not a murderer. What if she had piglets?” Dad calmly explained that it was better for the population, and that it hurt her less than dying naturally, or by being killed by a mountain lion. He continued by saying that animals don’t think like we do, and they don’t process pain like we do. When we shoot a pig, they don’t think, “Oh no! I’m getting shot! What about my kids? What about my husband Billy Pig? What will I do?” Rather, they think, “Run! Fight!” Then blackness.
After this pep talk and a bit of rest, I thought about it, and became excited again. Chorizo and a nice skull to remember this day! Also, to honor the beautiful sow that gave its life for me. Dad and Josh talked about me naming it. After thinking about it, I came up with the perfect name for her. We were near Sunset Point, so I whispered, before going to sleep, “Sunset Sow.”