Teaching A New Hunter
By Jason Houser
The author helped Jeff Embry, the owner of ECW hunting calls, take his first feral hogs.
As hunters, we must pass our love for the sport on to others. This can be done in multiple ways, such as storytelling to try and pique the interest of others, giving a gift subscription to a magazine, or taking a hunter out for their first hunt.
Now, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a child that needs to be introduced. Many adults need an introduction to the sport we cherish so that it will continue to thrive.
I had just that opportunity in April of this year to take a “new” hunter out. At a trade show back in January, I overheard Jeff Embry, the owner of ECW hunting calls, express interest in hunting hogs, but many things were holding him back.
Jeff is a retired Navy veteran that does not have opportunities that others do. He is still a small business owner where he dedicates just about all of his time so his business will flourish. Every dollar he earns is put right back into his dreams, leaving little extra to go on an out-of-state hunt.
Hearing his wishes, I went back to the hotel and made some calls to my friends at No Mercy Hunting Services in Oklahoma to see if we could get this veteran on a hunt. I knew without a doubt what the answer would be, and they did not disappoint me.
The next day I found Jeff in the exhibit hall and extended an invitation to go hog hunting. Fast forward a couple of months and many phone calls later planning our trip, we found ourselves in Oklahoma ready to hunt.
To say Jeff was excited would be putting it mildly. I don’t know how to explain it, but he was somewhat giddy. I hope I can say that about a retired servicemember.
Arriving at camp the first evening, we settled in and rested for what the next day would bring. Waking up well before the roosters, we had breakfast and a couple of pots of coffee before heading out the door.
Meeting up with our guide for this trip, we were given a basic introduction to hog hunting, such as shot placement, recovery, and more.
Piling in side-by-side, we headed out. Now, I will say that Jeff was a little nervous about these hogs. His head was filled with horror stories of hog attacks. When we dropped Jeff off at his stand, he surveyed the darkness with his Super Bright Headlamp from Bossman Outdoors. Confident he wasn’t going to be mauled as he made his way to the stand, I bid him good luck and continued to my stand.
Jeff’s weapon of choice was a Henry rifle chambered in .457. Jeff had no intentions of losing a hog. Again, this had to do with the horror stories of how tough hogs are even after being fatally wounded.
As the morning started to become active with birds chirping, turkeys gobbling, and everything that makes spring so unique, the peace was shattered with the sound of a rifle in the not too far distance, then another. Only one gun in the woods would make all that ruckus.
I immediately got on the phone and messaged Jeff about what happened. He explained that several hogs came into the feeder, and when two broke from the pack, he had his opportunity.
Now, I think Jeff would have given John Wayne a run for his money as fast as he maneuvered the lever-action on that rifle of his.
The shots were perfect, and the hogs never took a step after being hit. The challenging part for Jeff was that he was going to have to stay on stand another couple of hours before he could get to his hogs. I still had hunting to do, and I didn’t want the area disturbed until I had an opportunity. I know deep down inside this was eating him up as he wanted desperately to get his hands on the hogs.
Well, my opportunity never presented itself, and we finally made our way over to Jeff. Pulling up, the first thing I noticed were two hogs practically laying on top of one another. Then I looked over at Jeff, and the smile on his face said it all.
Jeff went on to kill another hog later that evening, and even I managed to put an arrow into one the next day.
But there is so much more to hunting than having an animal on the ground. The opportunity to take Jeff on this hunt probably meant more to me than it did to him to kill these hogs. That is what hunting is all about—spending time with family and friends and getting new hunters involved. The animal on the ground is just an excellent bonus.
So, the moral of this story is when you have the opportunity to take someone hunting, even a person that was a stranger just a couple of months before, do it. It will mean everything to that man or woman, and the satisfaction of getting someone out in the woods is unexplainable. This is what we have to do as hunters to keep this tradition going for generations to come.