I was out in Central Texas on a hog hunt the last couple days, and really had a challenging trip. This was a case of making the hunt what you want it to be. The ranch I was on had feeders set up with blinds, and to cater to the hunters coming in they would haul you out in the morning and bring you back in the mid day, then. Back to the blinds in the late afternoon for the evening hunt. Just about every time I go out to do this, I see pigs. But what I’ve noticed is that I see a lot of small young ones, and that’s a good way to take meat pigs. It’s also to be honest, a pretty laid back hunt, less than 50 yards of hiking with a lot of sitting. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fun and productive approach, and greatly enhanced when you decide to use a big bore Airgun!
But I’ve been to this ranch before and I figured something out; if you’ve hunted pigs before you know they are smart. And the big ones that have survived long enough to get that way have figured out going to a feeder in the morning and evening is probably not a good idea. They tend to hold up in the thickets during the day and go nocturnal feeding when hunters aren’t around. So I alter my approach, when the other hunters in camp are getting up at 4:30 for the morning hunt, I stay tucked away in my sleeping bag. I let them have their time on the blinds, but when they get picked up at 10:00, I go off into the thick stuff on foot. This gives me 5 hours to work the rough stuff before the blinds are repopulated for the afternoon hunts. And by doing this I see a lot of pigs…. And some big ones!
I’ve been on a run of bad weather the last couples months; south Texas, North Mexico, South Dakota, California…… I keep hitting heavy rain and winds. This trip was no different, I was geared up for warm dry weather, and icy cold rain came from out of know where. Thirty minutes into my hike out, I was soaked to the core, and I swear my light canvas boots weighed five pounds each from the water they had absorbed. All of the sudden I heard squeals and grunts coming from deep in the brush. I slowly moved in and spotted the back end of a big boar at a stand still in the thicket. The only problem is that I didn’t have a decent shot. I tried to move around and find a shooting lane, but the vegetation and wind worked against me, I spooked him either by sound or smell and he took off disappearing in an instant. I put in six miles of stalking in a about five hours, and though I saw a lot of hogs, probably 30 or 40, I could never quite get the shot. I had worked my way back to within a mile of the ranch house and was cold, wet, and hungry, so decided to plod back in and take a break.
Walking down a plowed break in the thickets, I saw a smallish hog run out of the bush and head straight towards me! The wind was in my face and in my favor, so I slowly stepped back into the brush and let him close the distance. At forty yards stepped out, he stopped and started to turn, and I let the .452 Caliber bullet loose. It hit between the eyes and an inch down, cropping him on the spot. On walking up I saw he was small, probably hitting the 50 lb mark because he was wet, but still tender pork for the fire pit. Some of the guys were hunting for meat, so after going back for the truck we hauled and dressed the animal, and I gave him away. This was one of the smaller pigs I’ve shot, but in retrospect I was glad I’d taken the shot….. The weather got worse and it turned out to be the only hog I dropped in the two days I was out.
I did get in some fun small game shooting, using some small bores to drop rabbits, pigeons, ground squirrels, and the biggest bloody pack rats I’ve ever seen! But that’s another story I’ll fill you in on later.
No hunts this week, I’m sitting on a plane winging my way to Australia for a conference, and will be away until next week. The gun I wanted to use for the hunt above was the new AoA Bushbuck .452 Carbine. If I’d had this gun I’d have taken that big boar with a quartering shot, it’s doing over 500 fpe, but it came to me too late. But everything about this rifle is blowing my mind! I have 23 big bore rifles, and I really like most of them, love a couple, but nothing else matches this gun. The performance, shootability, quality of build, styling …… It’s something special. Next post I’ll tell you more about it!