The massive black hog was so close that I could smell it.
My daughter twisted slowly to her right, trying to position her rifle so that she could see the boar through the scope. Just as quickly as it appeared the big boar vanished in the brush behind us heading for an appointment with the neighboring hay meadow for an early evening rooting session.
Most of the time a missed shot opportunity isn’t that exciting, but when you’re sitting on the ground and the only thing between you and a 200 pound hog just 20 yards away is grass, you get a whole new perspective on hunting. That’s right; we were on the ground leaning up against a spindly pine tree. No ground blind, no ladder stand, just two hunters hiding the best we could and it almost worked.
I know very few hunters who don’t spend the majority of their time sitting in a stand and that’s a shame because every year there are some nice bucks taken by grounded hunters. You just have to take a few extra precautions when going standless.
On the hunt mentioned above, I used some pruning sheers to cut some small pines branches to place around us to help hide our movements, and trust me when you’re hunting with a 12 year old girl there will be movement. Some small handheld sheers are relatively inexpensive and can fit into your backpack. Clip a few limbs, strategically place them and you can turn the base of any tree into an instant blind. Remember to carry a few facemasks also because you want every inch of you covered since you are now eye level with your prey.
The advantages of hunting on the ground far outweigh the disadvantages of not being inside a box or on a ladder. First, you can set up anywhere. You’re not limited to a box or ladder in the same place it has been for the last 10 years. If you happen to locate a new bedding or feeding area you can hunt there instantly. Second, not hunting from a stand makes you mobile on every hunt. If you see a buck that just doesn’t want to come in, you can put on a spot and stalk. Try that in your box blind.
While ground hunting isn’t for everyone, I definitely converted by daughter to open air hunting. She’s already asking to go sit back there again and promises this time she’ll be ready when that hog walks by.