Earlier this month, fellow intern Bryce Arens and I took a trip to a town in Southeastern Oklahoma called Indianola.
Bryce was writing a story about a new law that would change the rules of hog hunting, so we wanted to get a closer look at the people who participate.
We met Johnny Heskett and his “hunting buddy” Josh Kinsey at a McDonald’s in McAlister and followed them to their hunting spot on the South Canadian River near Indianola.
Bryce and I sat in the back of Johnny’s ATV and we toured the river bed looking for spots to set up traps.
Johnny’s recipe for hog bait was a mixture of corn, maple syrup and diesel fuel. He insisted that the diesel fuel was sweet, and that he had, in fact, tried it.
Once the sun went down, we headed back to Johnny’s truck, where he then informed us that he and Josh were going to sleep in the back of his truck.
“Y’all can sleep in your car, find motel, whatever you want to do.”
With the nearest motel 30 miles away, Bryce and I decided that sleeping in the OPUBCO company car was our only option.
The temperature was staggering.
For hours we tossed and turned in our tight sleeping quarters, covered in blankets, desperately trying to avoid the mosquitos that we could hear buzzing around our heads.
After 3-4 hours went by, we turned on the car, rolled up the windows, turned on the air-conditioning, and we were asleep within minutes.
We woke up early to go check the traps, all the way looking for tracks near the river.
Johnny took us on a crazy ride through the heavily wooded area on the upper bank of the river, driving a full speed, with nothing to protect Bryce and me from the endless branches and countless bugs that I had never seen before.
All in all, no hogs were to be found at the traps.
Bryce and I struggled to make it back to Oklahoma City without falling asleep on the road.
When we got back and both had a chance to bathe, we both found out that our bodies were covered with chiggers.
Everyone that I have ever talked to about chiggers has told me that they burrow into your skin and don’t leave.
Someone suggested that Bryce and I put clear nail polish on the chigger bites, to suffocate them.
I was later informed that using nail polish to cure chigger bites is an old wives’ tale, and that chiggers do not burrow. The affected areas take roughly two weeks to heal.
Bryce and I experienced what I imagine is what Hell is like… and we didn’t even see any hogs!
In the end, we did have a great time with these guys, and we definitely got to see what it’s like to be a hog hunter.
Even without the hogs, I think we told a good story.