Rooters Story Time - by Pat Lewing from the April 2015 issue of Tuskers

John was awakened by the smell of red oak smoke with a hint of lighter pine; this reminded him of the old days of sleeping on the ground. It wasn’t long before the smell and crackling of the heater was overcome by a rich coffee aroma and the sound of fresh bacon popping in the skillet. He laid there taking it all in for just a moment then arose grabbing his overalls and boots in one swift motion. Bout time you got up, laying out with the dry cows will make an old man out of you Cecil said. Yeah I guess you’re right, how cold is it out side, John asks? Cecil replied just cold enough for a light jacket but you might need long johns. This comment was typical as Cecil was from the old school and tough as nails. Upon hearing Johns voice Ole Gabby went to barking from the chain spot. John smiled, it was a pleasant sound and his thoughts were that of, it sounded a lot better than the scrunching of a drilling rig brake. Gabby was a scatter bred mongrel, brindle in color, about 65 lbs. and real leggy. He had a clear chop mouth with an eager to please disposition. He was about 5 or 6 years old and knew all too well that come daylight he would get his chance to please his master like so many times before.
After devouring a camp cooked breakfast, the two hunters loaded the hounds and headed toward the corn feeders of the adjoining lease. At the gate waiting on them was Bill, an out of towner and his two teenage sons that Cecil referred to as Mutt and Jeff. After a few handshakes the party of five passed through the gate and off the hillside headed down into the bottom where a few rooter hogs had been denying the local whitetail population access to the corn. As they reached the bottom of the hill Gabby let out a couple of yelps, and then began to whine while staring at the latch on the dog box gate. John stopped the buggy and tripped the latch on the box releasing Gabby. As John was reaching for his tracker, Cecil was donning Maverick, a black game bred pit bull of about 55 lbs. in the latest Kevlar fashion. As Mutt and Jeff started to load their guns Cecil said in a stern voice, unless you boys get on a snake we won’t be a needing those, you boys been watching too much TV.
Only a few minutes had passed when Gabby set down on them with a steady chop. John looked toward Mutt and Jeff and said, come on boy’s time to put your hands on one. The three waited on Cecil and Maverick to take the lead and fell in close behind them. As they closed the distance Cecil released Maverick and waited to hear the lick. As soon as the thump reported back to the hunters they were running toward to what was now squealing instead of barking as Gabby was choking on some fresh swine ear directly opposite of where Maverick had landed. As John grabbed the two back legs and nodded to Cecil that his grip was firm, Cecil broke Maverick off and leashed him to a nearby iron wood bush. It was a nice sow about 150 lbs. and John had her flipped on her side. Cecil looked toward Mutt and Jeff and instructed them how to approach and where to place their knee, Jeff was hesitant so Mutt placed his knee on the neck and Cecil handed him a set of hobbles and instructed him how to properly secure them to the now subdued swine.
As Cecil instructed Jeff to call his dad to bring the buggy. John replied, we don’t have time for that now Ole Gabby has rolled out and showing bayed at 835 yards in the opposite direction. So they secured the sow to a tree and proceeded to head out. Jeff now filled with enough excitement to overcome his fears exclaimed I want to tie the next one. Cecil looked at John and said; see I told you hog hunters are made not born, you just have to add the right ingredients.