BRIAN JOHNSON ON OUTDOORS — God provides for us through outdoors
As an outdoorsman, I would say that most of my hunting and fishing through the years has been mainly for sport.
Although I was glad to eat the animals that I had harvested, a good meal was more of a byproduct than my original goal. Over the last month or two, let’s just say that my way of thinking has changed.
I have found myself going back to my broke college years and relying on fish and game to put some food on the table. Living in Southeast Texas has turned out to be a great blessing in this regard since there is always something to hunt or fish for that will provide great table fare.
I have even made an extra effort to teach some of my friends and family members the skills necessary to “live off of the land”. Today I will be sharing one way that you can begin to be more self-reliant in the food department.
Option No. 1 provides the most meat at one time and it is to simply kill a hog. Wild hogs are an invasive species and can be found in high numbers all across the state. Farmers and landowners hate them because they are so destructive and disrupt the ecosystem costing then plies of money each year in damages. That is the bad part …
The good part is that hogs are the originators of bacon, sausage, pork ribs, and pork roast, all of which are welcome at my table. The ways that you can hunt hogs are almost as numerous as the hogs themselves. From bow hunting to hunting with dogs, rifle hunting to trapping, stand hunting, spot and stalk, helicopter hunting … the list goes on and on.
My personal favorite way to hunt hogs for sport is from a tree stand with my bow and arrow. However, this is far from the fastest most efficient way to put meat on the table.
If you are out for groceries, trapping, or gun hunting at night with a spotlight can lead to plenty of meat in a hurry. As always, be sure you have permission and are acting within the limits of the law before you head down the road with a rifle and spotlight. If deer are in the area, you could find yourself in a predicament in a hurry.
If you decide to try out the spotlight method, you will need two to three people to pull this off successfully. You need a driver, spotter, and a shooter. You can do this from a UTV or a regular vehicle in off-road conditions. The main thing is to practice gun safety.
With one person slowly driving, the other shines the light in areas that hogs are prone to be feeding. Once a hog is spotted, put the vehicle in park and let the shooter take the shot while the spotter steadily holds the light. Head and neck shots are best, so there will be no tracking involved.
Once the hog is down, the work begins! The skinning, gutting, and quartering will need to take place immediately to get the hog on ice as soon as possible. You can keep the hog on ice for a few days, but then you will need to process it and make it fit for the table.
The options here are numerous and let me just say that YouTube is your friend when it comes to cleaning, processing, and even cooking wild game. This part will take lots of work if you are a newbie, but keep at it and it becomes like second nature.
Once you finally get to the part where you are enjoying the pork with your family, you will likely feel a great sense of accomplishment. Before you take that first bite, I encourage you to thank God for your family, His many blessings, and for His amazing providence.
After all … He put these animals here to provide for us!
Brian Johnson, originally from Port Neches, is pastor of First Baptist Church of Winnie, owner of DuckDogTrainer.com and outdoors columnist for The News.
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