Ossabaw Youth Hunt With My Family

A 10-year-old shares the experience of his first hunt on Ossabaw Island.

Reader Contributed | May 5, 2024

Elijah Clark wanted to kill a hog on his first trip to Ossabaw Island. He ended up taking home a pair.

By Elijah Clark

It all starts at Ossabaw Island on the youth hunt in November 2022, and it was my first time ever on the youth hunt. I did not know what to expect.  All that was in my mind was being able to kill my very first hog.

I was with my Uncle Steve, Pop, who is my grandfather, and my cousin, Jack. It was Jack’s last time being eligible for the youth hunt. I was 9, and Jack was 16.

We went in a boat from Kilkenny Marina to get to the island, but first we had to check-in. When we got to the dock, I realized how big the island really was. Before this hunt, when I thought of an island, I definitely did not think of what I actually saw at Ossabaw. I remember carrying things to camp and wondering what it would be like sleeping and eating for the next four days.

The next day we signed in at the check station and signed up for our areas to hunt. Later that evening, we all had a meeting on the rules for hunting on the island. That night, we got our packs and rifles ready for hunting the next day.

We had to wake up really early at 4 a.m. to catch the trailer that took us to the area where we were signed up to hunt. We got to our designated hunting area that morning, and I was hunting with Pop. Once it got light enough to shoot, we turned around and saw a deer standing next to a log. The deer was stomping its feet and signaling that it was preparing to run, but Pop quickly helped me line up my shot. Right before the deer ran off, I took a shot and killed him. We tracked the deer and found him just a few yards from where I shot him. We discovered that he was a buttonhead buck. This was my third deer in three years, and it was so exciting to kill a deer at Ossabaw.  There was one thing still on my list—to kill a hog. That evening, we did not see any more animals, which left us with one more day that we could hunt.

Elijah Clark shot this deer in the first moments of his hunt on the Ossabaw Island WMA youth hunt.

The next morning, I went with Pop to see if we could find a hog. Once again, we didn’t see one, but I did see another deer, a doe, which I shot, and it ran straight through the palmetto bushes and thorns. We searched through the palmettos, and it really hurt! We found her right across from the thorns and palmettos. So that only left us with the afternoon to kill my first hog.

Uncle Steve had been hunting with Jack for the first part of the hunt. At our lunch break, Pop decided he would hunt with Jack that afternoon and that I would hunt with Uncle Steve. We hadn’t been out long that afternoon when we heard something moving near a muddy swamp where we were hunting. We did not see what we were hearing, but we could still hear it. We finally saw what we were hearing. It was three hogs!

I took my best shot at one of the hogs, aiming at its shoulder. The hog dropped to the ground! We did not take time to celebrate killing that hog because we still heard another hog close by, so we went over to where we heard him. I saw the hog standing in the muddy water, and I shot him in the shoulder. He jumped up in the air when the bullet hit him, and he fell dead in the water.  We did it! We had completed killing my first hog, but I didn’t just kill one, I killed two hogs!

When we went to recover the first hog, my bullet had hit him in the eye, even though I aimed for his shoulder.  We thought maybe it turned when I shot or maybe I just jerked the trigger. No matter, I killed it, and that’s all that matters. I was so excited to show Pop and to tell my mom and dad on the phone.

There was nothing better than going back to camp that evening and telling everyone the story of how I killed my first two hogs.

What I learned from the Ossabaw hunt is that it is always better hunting with family and friends. I never could have done it without Uncle Steve and Pop and the support of my family.

Ossabaw Island has a history of being a great place to fill multiple coolers full of venison and pork.

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