Paul's turkey thread got me itching to go hunting but since I cannot, I thought I would post up my pig hunt story that occurred about a month and a half ago now. Plus my freezers still fairly full I do not need to just yet. That and later this year I am already slated to go on a couple deer hunts out of state via invite. I am going to cover a lot of territory on this post and it might be fairly long. A link to download the pics for this is at the bottom of the post. Um moving forward I am descriptive so if you do not wish to read nitty gritty details skip the paragraphs with ** in front of them. Also be warned the pics are graphic as well.
First off you can no longer go on Hog Hunts in Utah, as of May the legislature made all pig hunting outfitters shut down this service and destroy the animals because of a bunch of reasons, all stupid mind you. I guess the biggest reason is they are worried about a feral pig outbreak sort of reasonable but all the pig ranchers do not want their money escaping so ya makes no sense really. However I would welcome a feral pig outbreak, no tags required no bag limit war on the pigs, I would be in heaven. Per the Rancher though the legislation was signed in without even being read, now that the law they passed is actually understand they are upset about it and it’s a good chance it will get overturned early next year. Still the damage is done and I hope it gets reverted. Contact your local representative plz.
I have not been hunting besides jack rabbits in about 17 years, so I am a newb again or feel that way no gear and so on. So I acquired all my gear, but it’s not been tested and not confident in what needs to be done and so forth. So one of my student’s invites me to a pig hunt with his family, I am going to leave the location undisclosed but it’s a fair drive from home. So I am just all whipped up with excitement to get out there and I got everything as ready as can be. I could list out a huge amount of gear that I got and tested and some good some bad etc. Now this is a garunteed guided hog hunt on I want to say like 100 acres of private land. Why did I do this, well I do not have to worry about law and tags and maybe my gear not working or not knowing what I am doing. I considered this a test outing to confirm skills and tools in action without the possibility of ruining meat. I want to go out and do the full on real deal hunt but not until I can confidently say I am ready for that, in which I now am. Also these pigs are private pigs but they are a half wild half farm style pigs, still dangerous just not as much we will get to that.
So the day to leave for the hunt, I am waiting and waiting for my buddy to arrive, he has no cell and he is running really late. After 3 hours late he finally calls me all broken down on the side of the road with a passerby's cell phone, saying he can’t go, got to get his truck fixed before Monday morning for work. Its Friday now, so this means I am going it alone? This is a lot of work, I dunno if I could handle it all myself hence why I brought him. Any hoot I head out alone not willing to pass this up.
I Get out there really late Friday and setup camp right before it got dark. Isn’t it amazing how food always tastes better when your camping. So I crash out ready to wake up at like 4:30am the next morning. I awake about 2am and I can see something poking on my tent fabric. Physically see something poke and run across it, the sound of that on the nylon is what woke me up. So my adrenaline is kicking in a bit, I got my 9mm and my AR-15 right there fully loaded ready to rock already but I am thinking if it’s a bear this isn’t going to do jack and I am screwed if it decides to attack. I am sitting there for 10 mins as this randomly occurs and I am clutching my AR. I am getting tired its late but being nervous too, so I finally say screw it next time whatever critter this is puts its nose on my tent or claw or whatever it is I am going to punch it hard.
Tension mounts, boom punch dat mother. The whole tent erupts in a tidal wave of sound as all the snow on the roof of my tent comes tumbling off. Turns out it was snow all along breaking off the ice pack up top and catching in the folds of the nylon and making the noise and the physical indentation. It was not snowing when I went to sleep so I didn’t realize it had snowed either. Also I listened for ever but I never could hear any footsteps or breathing. So ultimately I almost put a few holes in my tent and freaked myself out. Being in the middle of nowhere all alone in the middle of the night can be an interesting experience.
Early Sat morning I setup to meet the group in town and head out to the private ranch. We get there and since I got in late last night I didn’t get to zero my rifle as I expected I would do my buddy not showing up threw off my schedule. So I ask if I can zero before we head out and there like sure as others did there bows and such. He says you see that propane tank out there, nail it and you will be okay. Mind you I have a quick detach scope so every time you change it out you have to re zero slightly usually a 1 moa offset. I am using my Remington 30-06 with a viper vortex 6x24x50, I dope everything up for zero and then calculate the remaining distance because the tank is like 280 yards away. I have a bi-pod and I prefer shooting prone, but cant with the brush so he says use my quad on my trailer while standing, its real awkward shooting position. Anyhow I am not stable at all I am regularly high but on the 4th shot after adjustments I nail if towards the top. I am not feeling confident at all now. Having a crowd of 15 people behind you cheering you on doesn’t help. But we head out.
As we come to the crest of this bookmark style canyon we see the lay of the valley and there is two pigs in it fairly spread grazing. About 280 for one and 350 for another, before a word is really discussed beyond distance gauging this guy whips out his rifle and sticks and drills it. Doesn’t even twitch it just drops, I was like dang, nice shot and defiantly not a talker when he is staring at dinner. The group turns to me and says mike the other pig is yours; I had to head out later that day so they were going to let me take an early pig. So not being confident in my current zero I asked to use the rifle just used because we know it’s dialed in, he was happy to let me. Again shooting in a position I stink at with sticks at 350 yards with a 7 degree down angle. I wait the pig positions and holds still for me with head up high and I send it. The pig at the same time decided to put his head down and I miss. Everyone glassing for me is saying I would have hit if he didn’t move. I was going for a head shot since I am going for the meat not trophy. I ditch the sticks and pull out a backpack and go prone ready to take the shot the way I like it.
The pig has now stuck his rear at me though, he is investigating where the bullet hit. So I am sitting here for 10 mins just waiting. Finally he rears his head up again and turns to the right. I drop the round right in through his upper right shoulder and right out his left eye, perfect headshot; the pig drops like a rock and doesn’t even twitch. So we start glassing around for 10 mins and make sure no other pigs are in range in the brush etc. We are about to start heading down into the canyon when lo and behold my pig has resurrected, he is up like nothing happened prob with a big headache and missing and eye and is still grazing. At this point the trip could not have gone worse and I feel pretty embarrassed.
I finally just shake it off, nothing has gone as planned at all for the past two days and I say to myself that was the point of this to find out so I can fix it. I am saying okay let me borrow you rifle again so I can put him down, I do not like making dinner suffer any longer than necessary. The guide says hey wait no, take him with your own rifle, you said you wanted to learn and test your gear so do it, do not cop out now. I am thinking to myself your right. So I finally settle in with my bipod, prone, pull out my range finder and range him, 403 yards now. Dope up my rifle per my calculations; take in account the angle, there was really no wind, thank goodness for that. Okay everything is dialed up and I am ready to shoot, once again though since the pig is walking away he has his rear turned towards me. 10 more mins of me starring at his tasty looking hams he finally lifts up his head and turns it to the right. I lay a perfect shot right in behind his right ear and out right between his eyes. A perfect shot first time with my rifle at a good distance, the pig just drops like a rock. I feel relieved you could say especially being the show for everyone behind me.
I finally get to the pig, get to inspect the shooting and figure things out. The first shot that hit him wrapped around the skull and came out the eye socket knocking his eye out, also knocking him out but it didnt penetrate the skull it would seem. The second from my rifle right to the back of the head under the ear and out right between his eyes. Not sure what caliber his rifle was but it was a marlin I Want to say 243. Now I have cleaned plenty of animal growing up on my grandparent’s ranch in Texas, but again it’s been 17 years and that ranch is now sold. So I watch the guide clean the first animal, no real surprises I have done it just been a long time. So we go to my pig and he stands over me and just instructs as I am doing. Easy peasy, some people it bothers to gut an animal for me it doesn’t really bother me at all. Pig defiantly has a unique kind of sweat sweaty smell to it but the pig smell was more fowl to me then the cavity. I kept the tongue & heart. Next time I am going to keep the stomach for tripe and the intestines for chitins or to make sausage. Being my first time in a while I didn’t want to bite off more than I could chew. I went and got my quad and sled and hauled my pig to my trailer. I hauled several pigs that day and cleaned two.
After cleaning it was cold enough to not worry about the meat once cleaned and I went and joined the other hunting party groups throughout the area for a couple hours till we loaded them all up and went to the slaughter house. I am going to sort of try to keep this summarized I think we took 8 pigs that day and they took another 6-7 on Sunday. I would say the first shot of the day at 300 yards and a dead drop was the best shot of the whole day. My shot from my 30-06 I would say was the second best but defiantly the longest of the day. Two attempted to take them with bows and well ended up taking them with a firearm. I could go on about how many shots were fired that day for real, but once the day was over I actually felt really good about how I did compared to some of the other hunters. We even had a lady in the group that took her first animal and a 14 year old that took his first animal. So plenty of other people there were learning but several very experienced hunters as well. I think I fared well all in all.
At the slaughter house we skinned and quartered all the animals, most left them to be fully processed. I jumped in and skinned my pig with help to speed it up. They sawed him right down the middle and quartered the pig into 4 parts only. I packed up and shot home to get home late Saturday night.
Sunday at home I finished breaking down the animal and testing all my tools and smoked him in my smokehouse for 10 hours. Start to finish of processing the animal takes roughly 7 to 8 hours. I shot about a 320 lbs pig and came home with roughly 230 lbs of meat. The trip cost me in total all costs included about 550 bucks. We did the math and at the grocery store it would have been 700 to 800.
Monday I was on a plane for a week out of town in Idaho for work.
Bottom line results all my gear checks out, Quad, sled, para 550 cord, worksharp knife sharpener, knives for gutting skinning and breaking down, porter battery driven saw zaw, AC-DC truck power converter, animal hanger, bone or wood mini hand saw. All camping gear rock solid, Rifle, all my glasses, kestrel, range finder etc I am G2G for future hunting endeavors. Moving forward my rifles are ready to go and there distance capabilities is just constantly being pushed further every time I go out. I am actually planning on taking in a doe depredation hunt later this year a dear with my lapua at 800 yards. I might end up doing it at 600 but if I have enough time to practice between now and then 800 should not be out of the question.
I had a great time even if at times it was a little awkward or embarrassing, now I know them rather well they are good people and I am confident in my capabilities. Just going first is nerve racking. I have been invited to go out to other private property hunts in Idaho and Wyoming for other various none guaranteed hunts IE the real deal.
Oh before anyone asks what’s up with darth vader pic, its my cousin and we wear that gear when working with the smokehouse.
And pic 185 I am standing right where the pig is at looking at the cliff I shot him from right in the middle of the frame, its right next to the bump on the cliff that I cannot make out what it is but it’s the only thing that stands out. I want to say I think someone is still up there glassing I think in a chair.
To download the pics go to http://mytriggerguard.com/misc.html
scroll down to the very bottom and right click the link that says pig hunt and choose save as, it’s like 30mb of pics.
Lastly I am hooked again next time my freezer stocks start getting low it will be time to plan another hunt
Any questions be happy to answer them.