Now that I’ve recovered from driving all over Southern Georgia and not sleeping much for 36 hours, I feel comfortable putting electrons to screen about my JagerPro hunt. Without one bit of reservation, I can enthusiastically recommend them and, if you’re so inclined, I encourage you to book a trip as soon as time and budget allow. There is simply no other kind of hunting (or killing) like this . . .
I rolled into Parrott, GA (the closest town) around 4:30 PM EST on Monday afternoon. Another few miles brought me to the cabin at Mossey Creek Outdoors that would be our base of operations for the coming days. After dropping off my gear, I headed out to the attached shooting range to observe Monday night’s hunters establish their zero.
Once all of the hunters checked out on their equipment, everyone packed up for dinner and then headed to the field. I had the night to kill so headed down to Albany for some beers, burgers and some free WiFi. Having a fiancée working nights for the last year has taught me that prepping for an all-nighter is important – stay up as late as possible, and force yourself to sleep as late as you can the following day. I managed to make it to about 3:00 AM at the cabin before crashing. I highly recommend you do the same when you go.
Tuesday afternoon rolled around and I was invited to head out to the field to scout with my guide, Ron Guinn. Ron is the newest addition to the JagerPro guide team. He’s still getting a handle on which fields are good and which are are not so much. With more than 150,000 acres at their disposal, scouting is of utmost importance. Getting to see the damage these pigs do in the daylight was a real eye-opener.
What you see in these pictures is a very small representation of what the feral hog population is doing down in Georgia. Essentially, the pigs go to freshly planted fields, bury their snouts in the ground and start tilling. Some of these troughs go on for forty to fifty yards. Once they finish destroying one area, they move right on to the next. In some fields they are looking for last year’s leftover peanuts or corn on the stalk that they can knock down and eat.
I can’t stress enough how destructive these critters are. With peanut prices in excess of $2000/metric ton, the damage adds up quick. I know very little about peanut farming, but this article says that properly rotated peanut fields can produce between 2900 and 4300 pounds per acre and I saw multiple acres of peanuts chewed up by feral pigs. You don’t have to be a math whiz to see that the porkers are responsible for a lot of very real monetary damage.
After scouting we headed back, picked up the other two hunters for that night and took to the fields. Within minutes of arriving at the pictured field, we spotted feral pigs moving through the brush about 500 yards off. That’s a reasonable distance for a skilled marksman familiar with his gear. But new guys, new guns and thermal optics don’t exactly succeed at 500 yards in waning sunlight. So we waited for darkness to creep up and started spotting.
We used the same scope to spot that you see used in the promotional videos. It’s amazing how clear and crisp the night becomes using a high-end thermal optic. I hadn’t experienced anything like it before. We could pick out field mice and rabbits at 200 yards with no problem.
As long as we stayed quiet and minded the wind, we could stalk through the night with ease. The group of pigs we spotted at dusk reemerged about 600 yards away around 45 minutes after sunset. As we prepared to head off, my riflescope wouldn’t turn on. I had left it on back at camp and killed the batteries. Luckily, Ron was Johnny-on-the-spot and got us up and running in the dark within two minutes. Unfortunately, by that time our pigs had already started moving to greener pastures. Ron told us that it was no use chasing pigs on the move. They were headed somewhere fast and they were going to cover ground faster than we could.
So we did what any self-respecting hunter would do in the circumstances – we headed back to our command post, broke out the camp chairs and started shooting the breeze. Meanwhile, Ron would walk to different vantage points with the spotting scope returning only to pound water and replenish batteries.
This went on from approximately 10:00 PM until 1:15 AM. Having not seen a single pig, Ron packed us up and drove to another farm about thirty minutes away. At that point, I’d been up for about fifteen hours, my internal clock was getting screwy and I started napping intermittently in the camp chair while Ron stalked.
When the other hunters finally woke me up, it was 3:30 AM and a big boar had emerged from the trees. We moved fast and set up within about 85 yards downwind of the big guy. We all set up our shooting tripods, put the crosshairs on the pig, and waited for Ron to start the countdown. Two minutes later, we got a broadside view, Ron told us to take up the first stage of the trigger and commenced a countdown. On zero, four guns roared and I watched in disbelief as our pig did a little jump and ran off. I managed to squeeze off three more while he was on the run, Ron did the same.
I know for a fact that my first one hit. I was on a stable rest, we were close and the thermal scopes make it as easy as point and shoot. I doubt the two other hunters missed and I know Ron didn’t. Conservatively, that pig took three 168 grain .308 bullets at close range and never slowed down. I asked Ron if we were going to track the pig into the woods. I was met with a healthy bit of skepticism and was reminded that angry pigs in the dark Georgia swamps are not a good tactical decision. Sometimes they run off and die later. As an animal lover, that’s sad. As a PB&J eater, that’s justice.
All was quiet until around 6:00 AM when we saw another group come out of the woods. We started our stalk, felt the wind change and watched as a bunch of little piggies squealed off into the night. By then, the sun was coming up, and we headed home.
Would I do it again? Absolutely! Would I do things any different? You bet your ass. Here’s what I’d change.
- Go earlier in the year. Late January and February keep the mosquitoes and gnats at bay while making the images in the scope even crisper.
- Book a two- or even a three-day hunt. The learning curve the first night is enormous. You just can’t pick up everything the first night and still expect to have a successful hunt. I talked to three JagerPro employees and every single one lamented the fact that I’d only done a one-night hunt. If for no other reason than getting more at bats against those pesky pigs, you need to book the two-day hunt.
- Get my sleep schedule regulated right from the beginning. I trusted Ron to not let any hogs escape while I was snoozing, but I felt like a Grade A jackass snoozing away while he was busting his hump walking all over Georgia on three hours of sleep. Put in the time to get nocturnal. You won’t look lazy and you’ll be sharp when that big boar steps out.
Rod Pinkston, owner of JagerPro, offers these nuggets for success.
Guest hunters can improve their JAGER PRO experience in two areas; shooting and sleep.
- Practice shooting moving targets with a rifle at a home range. Practice distances of 25-125 yards at speeds of 3 MPH to 20 MPH. This training will help hunters become more efficient at multiple targets.
- Change your sleep cycle before arriving at the lodge. Most hunters get up early at home and drive all day to Georgia. They are already tired at 5:00 PM when they zero and then hunt all night. Start changing your body clock days prior to stay awake all night. It will make our nocturnal adventure more enjoyable.
The last point I’ll address is cost. At $550/night for a two-night hunt, this isn’t a cheap date. However, in the world of guided hunts, it’s a steal. You’ll pay at least $300/day at any self-respecting game ranch not including fees for each pig killed as well as guide fees. You’ll also have to deal with transporting guns and a host of other issues.
JagerPro is truly turnkey. You show up, they hand you a gun, you zero the gun, and take to the field. That’s it. No gimmicks and no tricks. $1100 for unlimited pigs using top-of-the-line thermal optics on some sweet-shooting Remington AR-10’s with access to more than 150,000 acres of farmland is a great deal. Here’s the cost breakdown on my trip for those looking to make this dream a reality.
- Airfare (Southwest roundtrip from Austin to Atlanta) – $300
- Rental Car – $30/day + fuel = $130
- Lodging – $50/night @ 2 nights = $100
- JagerPro Services – $550/night @ 2 nights = $1100
Depending on airfare, what you rent and how long you stay, you need to work hard to spend more than $2000. My trip (had I done a second night) would have run about $1600. That’s money well spent creating a lifetime memory with some of the best guys you’d want to meet, killing off one of the worst pests and using some of the coolest gadgets on (or off) the market. Book a hunt with JagerPro as soon as you can. You will not regret the decision.