“Andy you really don’t have to go to church if you don’t want. What if you kill something tomorrow? Just skip it.”
“No way dude. I’m doing both. I need church.”
I wear myself out. Like most, I have priorities I must attend, and fun stuff I want to do. Conflicts arise. My opportunities to hunt are growing smaller as the needs and desires of my family grow larger. The temptation to place the fun stuff ahead of what’s important is ever-present and the easiest solution is to either drop the fun or change my priorities. Those options suck. So I choose wear myself out, and get both done despite the above internal conversations.
And so I found myself climbing into my stand at 6:15 on Sunday morning last weekend. The wife and kids went to my mother in law’s place, and I to my parents. Sitting in the dark, I scroll to my free bible app, and do some reading. Yea I know, a hunting sin. But I like to read while I hunt. As daylight approaches, I put in my earbuds and listen as a Mike Rowe sounding guy narrates one of Paul’s letters to the early believers. Nestled among the limbs of a large pecan, Middle Lilly Creek on my right, Indian Hill and Graveyard Hill to my left, I scan the horizon for a herd of pigs or perhaps one of the big bucks we’ve seen on our game cameras. Meditating on life’s meaning while deep in the forest with a gun in hand is spectacular.
At 7:15 AM a nice young boar appears next to the creek, moving from right to left. I chuckle as I aim my rifle, thankful one’s made its appearance so early. The unhurried pig walks casually, nose to the ground and disappears behind a limb in front of me. He emerges, and I aim for the neck, sigh, and fire. I hit a bit forward, behind his ear, but it resulted in instant death. He didn’t take a step.
So here it is, a quarter past 7. I’m a 75 yards from about 12o pounds of unwrapped organic, free range pork. 3/4 mile from the ranch house. Bible study starts at 9:45 and it takes 15 minutes to get to church. The race is on.
7:37 I forgo normal field dressing being so close to the truck. I am sick of my tailgate getting bloody, and decide to drag the porker to the buck pole. When I shot my bear, I worried dragging it would damage its fur. Not even close with that rugged and thick skin. Same truth applies to pigs.
7:50 I pull up to the house and we get the pig lifted onto the buck pole. Only a small section of the shoulder showed signs of being drug, namely a small patch of fur was gone. It did get a little dusty. It’s still much better than a bloody tailgate.
8:45 I’ve gone through two of my Piranta blades because I snapped them in half. Importantly, I’ve yet to cut myself despite moving quickly to get it processed. I’m going to look into the Bolt from Havilon to see if it’s a little more sturdy. Pigs are tough to skin.
9:06 Took longer than I thought, but the skin is off. I went all the way past the nose because I plan to make some head cheese. Dad come’s out dressed and ready, but I’m not quite done and still have to gut it. I tell him to take off and I’ll meet him in class.
9:25 The pig is in the cooler. Now for a quick shower. No time for more pictures.
9:45 Class has begun. I stop and purchase five bags of ice, covering the porker completely. I have 6 hour drive home, and have to work Monday so it needs to cool fast. It’s about 80 degrees now.
9:50 I am seated in class. I’m rewarded with a thought provoking lesson. For all intents and purposes, I appear like any other Sunday church goer. Except for the feint smell of pig and the blood on my pants.
By 8:00 PM I have the pork wrapped in cellophane and butcher paper and labeled in the freezer. I’m exhausted, but happy.