By RORYE O’CONNOR
MT. VERNON —
After 50 years, R.J. Backes finally got a boar.
On a “bucket-list” style trip after his retirement, Greg Backes honored his father’s memory by doing something he had always wished he had time to do — hunt a wild boar.
Backes said while visiting his grandparents in Florida as a child, he and his father, Robert Backes, would see wild boars along the two-lane highways in the southern state as thick as deer are in Jefferson County.
Backes said his dad always expressed regret that he didn’t have time to go boar hunting.
“My dad was a masonry contractor in the 50s and 60s,” Backes said. “He ran a crew of about 30 brick masons. He was an avid hunter and was really active in the church and everything. He passed away of a heart attack at age 40. I was in my very first class at my first year of college when they called me.”
Backes said he didn’t hunt from age 18 until his retirement, because he strongly felt the loss of his hunting buddy after his father’s death.
“I remember as a kid going bow hunting in the early morning in Pope County for deer,” Backes said. “We went quail and rabbit hunting in Jefferson County. I remember spending a lot of time growing up hunting with my dad.”
Now that Backes is retired, he has begun to hunt again. Last year, he and his brother organized a trip to Rebecca, Ga., to do what their father had always wanted.
“We wanted to take our boys, who are grown, and go wild boar hunting since Dad never got to,” Backes said.
A group including Backes, his two sons, his brother, his nephews and several family friends spent a weekend hunting wild boar on Red Pebble Plantation in Rebecca, Ga.
Greg Backes said the group has plans to go back to the Red Pebble Plantation again next year, though he felt it was near impossible to gather the group the first time.
“Nine of us were on the trip together,” Backes said. “Only one person out of the nine shot a boar.”
Robert “Bobby” Backes, Greg Backes’ son, who is based in Fort Beltwater, Va., was the sole person who was able to achieve the group’s goal. Greg Backes said his brother noted the appropriateness of Bobby getting the boar, because he’s named after the man for whom the trip was taken.
“I was just excited that anyone got one,” Greg Backes said. “It brought me to tears putting it all together. The trip was one of those things we could do to honor our dad’s memory.”