Working in an office all week can get quite tiresome, but when Friday comes, so does the excitement!!! Saturdays in my household are reserved for Bushpig hunting. Even our dog Moya who comes with us starts to get excited. Saturday Bushpig hunting is my reward for sitting in the office all week seeing to hunting emails.
My husband Clayton, our son Liam and I, all get so excited for Saturdays. Friday nights are early nights for us, but we first sort out our guns, hunting clothes, charge radios and of course pack a lunch box, so we have something to snack on whilst hunting.
Saturday mornings are early, before the cows even come home. Coffee is first on the list before anything happens. Camilla our little girl also knows what is happening when she sees Mommy put on her orange shirt and Aigle gumboots, and often cries when it’s time for us to go. Our nanny then comes in to look after her, and calms her down and waves ‘bye-bye’.
It’s a mad rush in the morning, we all make sure that we have something orange to wear; otherwise we have bright orange bibs we pull over our camo shirts. Safety first when Bushpig hunting! We leave home and drive in the dark, sipping on our camo-coffee mugs on route to the hunting area. We hunt in various locations around our area and todays location has been scouted during the week because a farmer called complaining of the damage he has seen in
his crops. Our regular group of guys meet up just before the sun starts to rise. In the dark a discussion starts on where to go or where to stand in this specific area we are hunting.
Once we know the plan, we all go get into position and wait. I stand on the outside hoping that a pig may run out of the maize and I may get a chance to shoot it. Running through green maize can be extremely difficult as you cannot see too far into it. I am fully aware of the dangers of these Bushpigs when cornered in a tight spot so I know my limits and let the brave, experienced men run in the thick maize.
Every now and then my husband ‘stays’ close to me and takes me into the maize, but he usually ends up running ahead leaving me on my own and this makes me nervous, but the adrenalin rush is incredible. Having 2-way radios between all hunters definitely makes communication that much easier and we all know where each hunter is located during the hunts. I much prefer hunting in dry maize or forest-bush. In this type of terrain I find a spot on a path-way that the Bushpigs regularly walk and wait there, or move up and down the pathway waiting in anticipation for a pig to come my way. This is only usually at the end of winter /early summer when the crops have all been harvested and the Bushpigs move into the forests and bush to sleep.
I have learnt over the years of hunting Bushpigs that, it is also important to check that the Bushpigs don’t suddenly run out of the maize. However they often run in circles and are shot in the maize by one of the guys that are brave enough to go into the maize. But on occasion a pig will break out and if you are in the right place and can aim and shoot quick enough, then you may be lucky and get the Bushpig. At the end of a hunt, photos are taken of the hunters with their pigs and then the traditions start. Our main tradition is that if you shoot and miss the pig, then you get a lash. The guy who has shot the most pigs, gets to choose a stick and gets to do the lashing. It is all good fun and everyone has a good laugh! It’s a long morning hunting pigs and often there are a few beers shared after all the formalities, I prefer juice to be honest!
Being the only lady hunter that joins the guys should be a rather daunting task for any lady-hunter but the ‘guys’ are all top notch gentlemen and look after me so well. (I even go with when my husband Clayton is off somewhere else hunting with his international clients.) The guys always ask me on the radio if I am Ok and although they all love to get their own pig, if I’m around they stand back and let me shoot first, getting so excited when I get a pig! I thoroughly enjoy my weekly Bushpig hunting. The areas we hunt are truly beautiful, especially in the early mornings as the sun rises over the valleys and we often find ourselves on mountain-tops with 360⁰ views. The thrill and the adrenaline-rush of running after the Bushpigs, as well as seeing friends, having good laughs and of course spending quality time hunting with my family, makes this the highlight of my week!
But when everything is done, I can’t wait to come home and spend time with my precious little girl Camilla….. I can’t wait for the day when she is old enough to join us on our hunts!
– Debbie Comins