Passing on the Traditions

By Haley Rivera

Working in the family business and seeing all the hunts our clients go on finally gave me the hunting bug. I was able to go on my first hunt with my mom and Wade last year in hopes of my first hog. While the experience was wonderful with being out in nature with no cell phones and just surrounded by nature, the hogs had other plans. With the weather conditions being as they were, very little to no wind, the hogs could hear our every move.

After hearing the hogs all around us with no hogs coming out, we decided it was time to move to another spot and try again. As we drove to our other location, a group of hogs ran across the road right in front of us. It was a bittersweet feeling for me because I finally saw the hogs I came here to get, but they knew why we were there. After trying two other spots that day, Wade, my mom and I called it a night. With the defeat, I was wanting to go out for a redemption hunt the next chance I had.

As time went by with our busy schedules, my mom, Wade and I were able to come back out to our Deer Camp and get ready for another weekend hunt at the Javeline Ranch. From the previous hunt, I came with my fair share of doubts, but I was hopeful at the same time that I was going to leave with a hog this time. As Saturday morning came we all were out and set up at the 3-way blind by 6:15 am. Once some time had gone by, we were not seeing any hogs yet, and Wade called the 15-minute mark. At this point, my hopes were fading and I was becoming doubtful yet again.

However, one hog was hungry because one of them finally decided to come out shortly after Wade had made that call. Now, my hopes are up and I’m doing my best to keep my eyes on him as he moves around. Once, he got into a good position for me to take my shot, I felt my heart racing and all the feelings coming over me. Finally, I look over at my mom and Wade to make sure they’re ready, and from 95-yards away the shot was made and he went down.

Now, I knew what all our clients felt after a successful hunt. My heart was racing, and I was still in shock after realizing that I had my first successful hunt! After, all the celebration we went down from the stand to see how I did.

Haley (right) and her mom Angel (left) poses with Haley’s hog and the T/C Compass II Rifle.

Once, I saw the hog I was in shock with how big he was. Loading him up took all three of us to get in the bed of the Yamaha. With it being early in the day, we head back to camp to drop off the hog, get him prepped to take the meat, and have some lunch. Afterward, to my surprise, Wade was going to let me go after a buck! This, lead us to go back and set up our blind with a lot of brush and twigs so that we will be hidden.

Now that it’s all set up, we leave for a bit to allow everything to calm down and allow the animals to be comfortable again before we go back for the hunt. Now, when it came time to go back for the actual hunt, there is never a dull moment with my mom and I. Wade had the honors of giving us a team nickname of Team Giggles which will always hold!

Team Giggles is all geared up for a safe ride to their blind!

When it came closer to 3:30 pm we went back out for another hunt that same day. When we got into our positions it didn’t take long for the deer to come out. We saw quite a few does before we ever saw a buck. Shortly after some time passed by, Wade got my attention and told me there was a buck on our right about to cross the creek. I then had my eyes glued and waited to see what would happen.

While we were out there, and as I was waiting for the buck to give me a perfect shot, in the back of my mind I was worried that one of the other deer would see us and blow our cover. Fortunately, they were all fairly calm which helped me a lot.

Shortly after the buck crossed the river, he went broadside for me and I made my shot. Then all the excitement came over me again. It took me a while to realize that I took my very first buck. He was a great 9-pointer that I took and I couldn’t wait to go over to him and see the beautiful guy.

Once we got him loaded up we headed back to camp to begin getting the buck ready for the processing stage and to get cleaned up.

I thought about how amazing a day we had, and how shocked I was to get two animals in one day on my second hunt ever. I look forward to another hunt next hunting season.