I confess, the title is a little misleading, I was not hunting African exotics in Texas, but rather I brought the Airguns of Arizona big bore Bushbuck to bag some Lone Star hogs. And this high power tackdriver did the job for me ….. again! The rifle is a .452 caliber generating about 600 fpe on full power for three usable shots. But power is only one side of the coin, without accuracy it can’t get the job done, and the Bushbuck is accurate! I can frequently print clover leafs at 100 yards, which is about perfect for any big game I’ll be hunting with air.
My buddy Clay and I arrived at the ranch late on a Tuesday evening, and dumped our gear in the bunk house, then went out to catch up with a couple guys that had been hunting earlier that day. Most hunting here is done over feeders, in an attempt to draw the pigs out of the very dense cover. The ranch owner would drop hunters off at a number of blinds over feeders, or blinds along transit hotspots then broadcast corn in the road, in the early morning and late afternoon. In between guys would come in and eat or nap, but we’d hunted here before and had found that more and bigger pigs could be found mid day and hitting the thickets. It was hot and hard to force your way through the brush, but by going slowly and stopping to listen a hunter could locate pigs that had bedded down or were feeding under cover.
Next morning the others hitched a ride out to the blinds before daybreak, but we slept in, had a good breakfast, sighted in and in every respect were the pictures of lazy slackers. But when the ranchers stopped by to catch up before collecting the others, we climbed on the flatbed and rode out to the furthest point, jumped off and started out on foot. Not long after we heard some grunts and slowed into stalking mode, but spooked a small herd with one giant boar before I could get opened for a shot. They crashed away, and we kept hiking. About an hour later we herd more pigs rooting with an occasional squeal piercing the quiet. The wind was not in our favor so we started to circle around. At one point we had to cross a washboard road, and as we stood back in the treeline talking, two smallish pigs stepped out. I pulled up the gun to shoot, but before I could squeeze the trigger they slowly walked back into the trees. We waited a few minutes, not easy to do when you’re imaging your quarry slipping away, but they had not seemed alarmed, and I thought I could work in for a better shot.
As we moved back into the trees, following the pigs with the wind now in our favor, I peaked around a clump of vegetation and through the branches saw a bigger pig we hadn’t seen earlier. I caught glimpses of a smaller pig moving off, but had a shot through the branches at the big one, for a decent broadside. I lined up the crosshairs, and with the scope at 6X had a pretty good field of view. When I stroked the trigger, the gun barked, the pig squealed and ran into the brush where we heard it crash and thrash then go dead quiet. And when I walked up it was, as my bird hunting buddy Scott says, DRT (dead right there).
Clay and I dragged the pig to the road, then continued hunting. We pushed a couple more animals, I had an easy head shot (so I thought) on one big porker, but when I pulled the trigger a small tree limb I hadn’t seen exploded between me and the pig, it was his lucky day. By then it was late in the afternoon, and we knew that the other hunters would be heading for the blinds scattered around the property, so called for a ride and some help moving the unprocessed bacon back to the shed.
The Bushbuck is the first gun that Airguns of Arizona has built, and it’s a very promising start to this side of their business. I’ve got several new big bores and this is a happening area in airgun development these days. The thing that would make it perfect for me, would be a carbine version. I’d give up some power to make the gum more compact….. but that’s just me, and I find that almost every time I get a new big bore I make this comment. But, I can say without reservation that if you are looking for a big game gun this is one of my favorites and should be on your short list!
I’ve got a couple hunts in January and then off to SHOT Show. I bought a new set of snow shoes and have been doing a lot of hiking the last several weeks, and hope to use them on some predator hunts as winter wears on, so I’ll let you know how that works out. I hope you all enjoy your New Years, and will catch up with you next week!