First, one of the hunters had to postpone his hunt due to heart issues. That was a blow to our enthusiasm. About two weeks later, a second hunter had to postpone his hunt due to blood pressure issues- another blow to our enthusiasm. Our group was made up of late 60’s and early 70’s age group. Seeing 50% of our group having to postpone their hunts sent a clear message to me about the importance of having good health and how Father Time and Mother Nature silently and slowly takes their toll on a hunter’s window of opportunity.
We departed this last Monday. Our hunts days were scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, but there was a major storm coming across Texas and Oklahoma. It was scheduled to pass our area late Tuesday afternoon and into Wednesday morning. Skylar told us that he had a very large group arriving Thursday aft, but if we did not have our limits by Thursday morning he would allow us to have a shorten hunt on Thursday morning to try to fill our package. I have always found Skylar to give it his best to enable hunters to fill their limits and leave his ranch happy.
Tuesday morning my buddy, Paul, killed his first hog with a crossbow. Paul has always shot a vertical bow, but due to some shoulder issues he is currently having to use a crossbow.
I shot a hog high in the shoulder and knocked him on the ground. I thought I had spined the hog and it was paralyzed. Wrong, before I could nock another arrow the hog had gathered traction. I watched the hog and my lighted nock swiftly travel away. I waited about 45 minutes, found blood and began tracking. Skylar arrived with his dog, Maisy. She is a 2-½ year old jag terrier. She first tracked a hog for me at 13 weeks old. Tracking was good at first, but then signs showed the hog had joined a herd so the scent tracking ability was lost. We did find the back portion of my arrow with the lighted nock still glowing. The other part of the arrow remained in the hog. Since I had clearly drawn blood that was one of my three hogs in my package.
We took a short food break and were back on stands at 11:30 AM thinking the rains would be arriving around 2:00 PM. The winds were gusting to 25 mph. Needless to say what animals we saw moving were extremely skittish.
The rains never arrived before dark, but the winds did diminish enough to have some late movement of hogs and exotics. I shot a hog about 7:40 PM. Skylar arrived for pickup around 8:15 PM. Skylar turned Maisy loose and she immediately picked up the blood trail and disappeared into the darkness. In just a second, we heard her yelp. My pig had expired in about 100 yds.
The rain front came through Tuesday night/early Wednesday morning. At 6:30 AM we had clear skies and a breaking of sunlight in the east. We were carried to our stands and it was one beautiful morning with the moisture being blown off of the trees with a steady westerly breeze. The exotics moved first. Then the hogs begin to move in to the stand. I drew down on a nice hog five times, but never had a clear shot. I mainly spent the morning photographing animals. As the morning progressed the winds entered gusty conditions again.
Wednesday aft the gusty winds were out of the NE and NW directions with the passing of the front. These winds are not the prevailing winds for the area. Paul and I both hunted from elevated platform stands. The elevated platforms did helped to shield our scent. Skylar told me that the platform I hunted on had not been hunted in several weeks, but there were tracks all around the stand and semi-wallow in front of the stand. Afternoon activity began around 5:00 PM and was steady until dark. I had four pigs come into the stand at 7:30 PM. Two mature pigs and two shoats. I could see tits on one of the sows, so I knew which one was “mama” of the shoats. I did however have a clear shot of the shoat’s aunt. The hog presented me with a quartering away shot. I squeezed my thumb release and the pig was DRT. The pig was the ideal “eating size” at about 60-65 lbs.
I never got down off of the platform. I wanted to wait to see if I would have a chance at some of the monster hogs I’ve heard about and seen on the ranch. Unfortunately, they never showed up. I studied the other animals reaction to the dead hog and blood on the bait sight. I quickly learned the animals were more concerned about their well-being, rather that about others. During my afternoon hunt, I had a total of 27 exotics and 57 hogs at my stand all well with bow range. I was an interesting hunt considering the wind did not really begin to decrease in speed till about 7:00 PM.
When I returned to camp, I learned that Paul had shot a small pig to complete his package limit. Somehow when he shot the a one hog, his bolt ricocheted off the ground and struck another pig. When Maisy was turned loose on the blood trail, Styz, one of Skylar’s guide and Paul discovered that two hogs had been struck by the bolt. The two hogs were dead within ten feet of each other. Paul had just got himself a “Swine Twofer!”
In two days of extremely rough weather conditions, we had shot 7 pigs and recovered 6 pigs. I would classify that as a pretty successful hunt. After deboning our meat, we had successfully filled a 120-gallon Igloo cooler and headed home.
Our conversations on our return trip home centered on thankfulness that we were able to make our hunt without losing any hunting time because of the rain. We also talked about when all of our group would be healthy enough in future days to hunt together and “declare war” on the hogs at the Diamond C Bowhunting Ranch.
Many thanks again to Skylar and his staff for being so accommodating and helpful to providing us an opportunity for another memorable, fun bowhunt.
Should have kept shooting as long as hogs were showing up!
My boy was hunting at our family ranch last week and killed 21. Should have had more bullets... Saw twice that many that he couldn't shoot because he was out of bullets. My folks shot 14 the week before. Never saw a feral hog out there before 5 years ago.
Although tons of fun to hunt, they have become a major problem in Texas. Hell on fences, water sources, crops, etc. Sounds like there are several poisons that work very well on pigs. Hopefully, they will get accepted by TPW to start using soon. Getting a lot of pushback from the hog hunting groups though.
It is cool to see lots of animals and shooting pigs is always a hoot! If you get them cleaned well and cooled down quickly, the meat is awesome as well! Those 60-80 pounders are "Eat'n Booner's" - perfect for eating. Love to slow cook a whole one about that size over a good pile of mesquite coals - yummy!
That is pretty cool that Paul was able to get a double! Sounds like a great time with a good bunch of guys. Hope I am still getting after it and having fun like that when I am 70!
Kaput is the first approved pesticide to hopefully eradicate the hog problem, but it is tied up in court battles in TX. The Texas Hog Hunters Assoc. teamed up with the Environmental Defense Fund and basically got a court injunction against the product.
I went to a MS Wildlife Federation meeting week before last and heard a presentation on the use of Kaput by a MS Game and Fish representative. The drug is basically a warfarin-based toxin. Warfarin is rat poison. Medicine for humans is Coumadin (used as a blood thinner). According to MG&F rep's research on the matter, he shared three reason why Kaput probably won't be accepted:
1. Inhumane- takes too much dosage and long for a hog to bleed to death 2. Contamination- when predators (mammals and birds ingest the toxin, they they get contaminated. Also, a special type of feeder is need to try to prevent other animals (squirrels, coons, opossum, etc.) from ingesting the toxin 3. Cost- 5 gal. bucket is $100 ($20 per gallon).
This is going to be an interesting battle to watch- considering the damage the animals are causing to farmers, ranchers and land owners. They are so prolific and beyond control at present.
One more reason the Kaput pig poison will not work. The regs state that you have to find and BURY all the pigs. Nobody is gonna do that ! It works so slowly (they say), that the pigs may be on another place when they die. East Texas is so fragmented by small places that the pigs you see today may be two properties away tomorrow. I'm afraid Kaput is just that, kaput !
savage, please tell us how y'all kill pigs on the Eastern Seaboard. I'm dying to know ........