Thursday, July 10, 2014

Hog Wild

I turned 40 this past August and my dear bride Karen decided to soften the blow of my entry into middle age by sending me on a wild hog hunt with Cabela's Outdoor Adventures, further cementing her status as World Champion Wife. Since I didn't think it would be nearly as much fun to go alone, and I relish every bit of time I get to spend with him, I invited my brother Steven to go with me and he was only too happy to go.

With that in place, the planning and anticipation stage of the trip began. Steven starting researching rifles, and I started blowing the dust out of my .30-06 with 150 grain Winchester Power Points. I had bought my Model 70 back in 1999, when Karen and I were still living in Texas and I had fantasies of going hog hunting down there. Somehow, four children and two pastorates later and I had never fired it at anything other than targets. It was time to fix that. Six months and a lot of dreaming, packing, and shooting later, we were ready to go. Steven found a great deal on a (very gently) used Kimber .270 and another one on a Meopta scope. He also got the directions to the ranch. We left first thing on Monday, March 31st, with plans to be at the ranch by dark.

Well, we didn't make dark. That is, we didn't make it to the ranch we would be hunting at dark. A mix-up with the outfitter meant we were at the other ranch owned by the same outfitter, conveniently located some 2 hours west of where we needed to be. Oh well, it's only another 2 hours down the road on top of our 12 hour drive, right? We rolled in quite late, but we were greeted by the guides, dinner, profuse apologies (and later, a check for the extra mileage).

We unpacked and rolled out of bed the next morning at 5:45 to meet the guides at 6:15 and go hunting. It was a beautiful hunt, with deer and turkeys wandering around keeping us occupied. Steven didn't get any action on hogs, but about 9:30 I had a herd of pigs come trotting through, but did not stick around waiting on me to pick out a boar. At 10:30, my guide showed up in the truck, which flushed the herd back out into some open woods 200 yards away. I rested the rifle, and a hog dropped at the shot. Later that night, we found another one in the same area--the one I actually intended to shoot. When I shot, the bullet passed through the chest of hog #1 and landed in the cranium of hog #2 (which is why she dropped immediately). The night hunt wasn't productive for either Steven or I. We both missed nice boars at last light. Mine was another 200 yard shot, and apparently lightning doesn't strike twice in the same day. Steven's was about 1/2 that distance, but he didn't discover until the next day that his rifle was shooting 6" low of point of aim, hence his bullets were sailing under the hogs and hitting the dirt.

My "bonus" pig
The pig I intended to shoot, but didn't locate till evening

Steven with his sow.
The next day, Steven got his scope adjusted and then headed to his stand. On arrival at the stand, two sows took off running. I should mention that when pigs run, they are experts at flat out getting gone. But Steven threw the rifle up and dropped one with a spine shot at 110 yards. Redemption! Honor restored! My stands, meanwhile, weren't productive at all on the second day.

I shot another big sow at dusk on the last evening, this time with Steven's slug gun at about 35 yards. Boom! A quick twitch, then the lights went out for good. I had another opportunity at a boar about an hour later, but had to move to get into position and spooked him.

Last night pig

View from the Lodge-Eastern Oklahoma in spring is beautiful!
All in all, it was an amazing, fun hunt and one I would readily do again. Definitely among the best birthday presents I ever received, and a great memory made with my brother. The ranch is both huge and beautiful. The "little" ranch we hunted was "only" about 13,000 acres, while the one we landed at initially is over 28,000. I'd never seen spring in the eastern Oklahoma cattle country before, but it is beautiful. The guides were nice guys and worked hard for us. The cook made great food. And in case you're wondering, wild pig is delicious!

No comments: