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I was headed to Quinlan, Texas to hunt on the Shinn Ranch, and meet some of my friends from www.texasboars.com at the Third Big Dog Outing (BDO III). I was really looking forward to my first ever hog hunt with a gun, and my first ever night hunt.

As I crossed the Lousiana-Texas state line lightning streaked the darkened Texas sky. It was raining so hard that I could only see about 100 yards ahead of me. At the time I thought that the rain wouldn't last long, yea right, 120 miles of pouring down, nearly blinding rain. But eventually it did stop, and the skies cleared on another beautiful sunny Texas afternoon.

I finally arrived at the Shinn Ranch where I met up with Tim Hicks, one of my Pro-Staff members, who also guides for the Shinn Ranch. He was telling me about the perfect set-up that awaited me later that evening when I got to my stand to hunt. And it was a perfect set-up. No one had hunted it in months, it was freshly baited both with corn and my Hog In Heat Urine.

While waiting for the time to go to the stand I went over to where the guys were gathering for the BDO III. A lot of the guys were already there and were starting to set up camp. A small city sprang up fairly quickly made up of tents of all shapes and sizes. I would miss all the shenanigans that happen at the BDO because I would be on the stand both nights. But being on crutches I couldn't keep up with the guys and dogs anyway. The stand would be much better than waiting around the campfire for everyone to come back in and tell the stories.

And as I had previously stated, it had rained a lot. The creeks were all out of their banks and still rising. But everyone, including myself was there to hunt, so hunt we did.

I had stayed a little longer than I should have at the BDO gathering. The guys over at the Shinn Ranch were waiting on me when I got there. I shook hands with everyone and then suited up in my Bugproof Ghillie Suit, and sprayed down with my Scent Destroyer. Then we were taken to our assigned stands by Les Walker.

The first group of guys had already been taken out. Les had returned for myself and Harold. Les stopped at my stand first, and Harold was still with us. What happened next is something I don't think anyone of us will ever forget.

I had polio when I was 2-1/2 years old. My right leg has virtually no strength whatsoever. I looked up at the stand I was to sit in, and thought, I can get up there, heck it ain't but about 12 or 15 feet high. Well with Les's help I did get up there. BUT upon reaching the top, I could neither keep going or back down. I couldn't get into the seat, the platform wasn't big enough for me to do any moving around on. I was wondering how I was going to get down out of that thing, when I fell off of it. I reached the ground unharmed, Thank God. I don't know how I didnt hurt myself, but I only had minor bruises. (It didn't take as long to come down as it did to go up).

I think I amazed us all when I said "I'm Allright" and got right back up. All of us have limitations and I had just realized that particular type of stand was one of mine. I loaded back up in the 6-wheeler and we took Harold to his stand before searching for one I could get SAFELY into. Les asked me if I wanted to go back to the bunk house(he was scared pretty bad for me). I said hell no, I'm here to hunt.

We found a shooting house overlooking a large pasture area. It was getting on towards dark by then. I got up into this stand pretty easily. It had an inclined ladder made from wooden 2x4's with wide steps. Right on up in it, no problem.

Harolds Boar taken at the Shinn Ranch in May 2002Well, I was finally hog hunting with a gun for my first time, and still alive and unhurt no thanks to myself. I got settled into the stand and started watching all the wildlife around me. A hummingbird went about his business about 10 feet in front of me for a few minutes. Cardinals all over the place, and other types of birds I didn't recognize.

The nightsounds in Texas differ quite a bit from the Florida, Alabama, Mississippi sounds I am familiar with. I had been up for nearly 24 hours due to the drive over, and getting around to seeing everyone at the BDO III. The wind was swirling and would make waves in the knee-high grass of the pasture. What were the things I was seeing? Or was I just seeing things due to lack of rest? It was my first night hunt, and hunting at night was taking a bit of getting used to.

Well I didn't see any hogs that night and the rest of the night, including getting out of the stand was uneventful. We went back to the bunkhouse, and helped (watched) Harold and Kevin Shinn clean Harold's nice boar he took. It looked like it could have went over 200 pounds. It was a nice fat one and very healthy looking. I was proud for Harold. Day 2 would prove to be a good bit more exciting.

DAY 2 of the May 2002 SHINN RANCH HUNT