Monday, July 25, 2011

The secret to hot weather hog hunting

Keith and I made an important discovery today. How to hunt hogs when it is miserably hot and the creeks are dry.

Fact: It was 105 degrees today - the hottest day of the year, so far.
Fact: So far, every day this July has been over 100, except 2.
Fact: Today we jumped two herds of pigs.

Here is the deal. Water is drying up with our long spell of hot weather, and the pigs are actually quite fussy about where they want to wallow. They want a place where they can walk down to the waters edge, no gravel, and nice shallow water and/or wet mud.

Several weeks ago, Keith went with me when I went out to Honey Grove to pick up my bees, and while I was working he walked over to a pond where we know pigs hang out. He shot a big sow over there as it got out of a mud hole.

Today we headed out to go over there again, but we decided to walk down the creek a bit first. I didn't really think I would be making any long shots, if any, and I wanted a light rifle, so I carried my Win 94, which I haven't shot in some time.
Keith was trying to sneak along close to the banks so any pigs wouldn't see us until we got in range, but I was trying to stay on high ground where I could see them ( pigs don't have very good eyesight, but they can hear extremely well.) So I saw a pig (I think a boar) down the creek. It got up out of the mud and was moving around slowly. It knew we were there, but didn't know if we were a threat. So I took aim with my 30-30 and missed! What? I usually hit what I aim at. It was around 100 yards, with iron sights, and should have been a gimmee. The pig hurried on around a bend in the creek. So we continued. Again, Keith was hugging the bank, so when I saw two more pigs as we rounded the bend, I couldn't get his attention. I was amazed the pigs were still there, but they clearly didn't want to leave that cool spot on a hot day. As I watched, another pig came down the bank and joined the first two. No piglets, so that's why I think they were boars. As I aimed, this third pig got directly behind one of the others, making a really big target. I aimed at the center of mass and fired again and missed again! So I am doubting my sights. We messed around, but of course, all the pigs in the World knew where we were after that.
We continued down the creek and a dog came out to bark at us after a bit. Smart dog, too. When I bent down to pick up a rock, he split.
We kept walking, but it was HOT and we were getting tired, so after a half mile or so we turned back. We'd walked further than I thought and it seemed like a long way back. As we got to about 100-150 yards from where I'd shot at the pigs, I saw a sow come down the bank into that same mud hole! Yippee! A bunch of little piglets followed the sow and another sow. We watched them settle into the mud. Than a third pig came down the bank and joined them.
We tried to sneak closer, but after a bit one of the sows stood up and we froze. It laid back down, but clearly we'd been made. We got a little closer, but when they all stood up, we both knelt and took aim. I let Keith take the first shot (the one where you have a chance of connecting) and I could tell it was a good hit. We both fired once more. This is a photo of the sow we found around the bend. Notice the razorback hair standing up? The sow was gravid and we felt good about this because we'd removed 10-12 feral hogs from the area with that one shot. That is our mission - to keep in check the feral hog population.

Lessons learned:
  1. Following the creek bed with the breeze in your face is a good tactic for hot weather feral hogs.
  2. Be sure to take a rifle with a scope, even though it is heavier than the carbine.
  3. Sight in your rifle periodically, whether it needs it or not.

By the way, we were half a mile downhill from the nearest point where we could get with the truck. We had no cooler, nor ice. We had no water and were both getting over heated rapidly. Did I mention that it was hot? So there was no chance of recovering good meat from this sow. We left her for the buzzards.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Going to the airport

I took Mark A-M to the airport this morning and Naomi and Haley wanted to go along for the ride. Well, of course we stopped at Outdoor World to see the fish tanks and stuffed animals.

They wanted their photos taken by this stuffed rabbit. Well, of course we can do that!

They tackled this Kodiak bear.

And they saw the rattlesnakes. I think there were three of them in there - all in a ball - but it could have been 4.

They just had to pick out a gun they wanted for when we go hunting together. (Just kidding.)

And we had fun with the bear.