This year’s javelina hunt started off pretty much like previous years. Roy and myself left Roy’s home and headed down into Arizona along US 191 and then cutting over to Flagstaff and then on to Mesa where we spent the balance of the night at a friend’s home. We then managed to pick a couple bushels of oranges, lemons, and grapefruit for our return after the hunt was over. Then on Thursday we headed over to Catalina, Arizona and Bob’s home were we were going to spend the nights while hunting. We did notice that it was hot, and I mean hot for February and I had only brought one short sleeve camo shirt for the hunt, so off to Sportsman’s Warehouse to pick up a couple more. While there I spotted a couple boxes of Barnes bullets for my upcoming trip to Africa so naturally I had to pick them up since I was there. Now to start hunting.
Friday found us headed out to the hunting and parking area where we unloaded the 4 wheelers and made final plans on what we were planning on doing for the day. Bob was with us but since his 4 wheeler was broke down he was going to be in his jeep, Roy and I just hoped that he could get around some of the rocks down in the wash where we were going. We took off and I headed up to a water tank on the top of a hill overlooking an area that we called Hidden Springs. I noticed that Roy came up the wash below me to a fence checking for tracks without seeing any. I stayed there for a hour glassing but all I came up with was some mule deer on a distant hillside. I headed back down into the wash to head up to a parking spot that we had used many times before. I parked my wheeler and started up the hill to a saddle and large canyon on the other side. Once I reached the saddle all I was some cattle so I headed over and down into the canyon. I hadn’t gone very far when I spotted a couple javelin on the far side hill. As I watched them feeding I saw another one but couldn’t find any others. It was a female with two yearlings, not quite large enough to shoot yet, at least on the first day. I then spotted another one towards the bottom of the hill. He was a ways away so I made my way down towards him trying to be as stealthy as I could on the hard rocky ground. I got to about 130 yards and knew that was as close as I was going to get to this guy so I sat down and pull out my Thompson Center in 7-30 Waters. I braced myself for the shot with the pistol across my knees, placed the cross hairs of the scope on his neck and squeezed the trigger. The next thing that I knew was that this javelin was headed down the wash with no indication of being hit. I lost sight of him so I headed in the same direction that he went only to run into some mule deer that were wondering what was going on. I couldn’t see him so I went back to where he had been standing only to see a tree branch that had been broken by my 120 grain bullet with no blood on the ground. I hiked around down the wash trying to track him but the ground was too hard to find any tracks so I figured that it was a clean miss. I headed up the hill to where the others had gone over and glassed for a while without seeing anything so I headed down into the next canyon to check out the bottom. I worked my way around the bottom and up to another saddle when I spotted Bob up on the ridge glassing the area. He told me that I hadn’t chased anything out but that he had seen some deer that almost ran him over. These were the same deer that I had spotted after I had taken the shot. We then headed down to his jeep and my wheeler and then up the wash. I decided to head up onto the power line road to do some glassing but all I saw once up on top was Roy hiking on the far ridge. I talked to him on the radio and we decided to head over into the next wash and then to a shady area for lunch.
Lunch on this day and others consisted of Costco Chimy Chunga’s wrapped in tinfoil and cooked over hot coal from a mesquite tree, then smothered in some salsa that Bob’s friend had made up. I am still hurting from that salsa. We also had a cold beer to help soothe the fire down below.
That first afternoon was spent hiking up to the snake den that I found a dozen or so years ago and playing with the rattlesnakes that were out. I got one about 20’ out of the den and I guess that he was mad because he headed right towards me. Now here I was with a camera in one hand and a walking stick in the other trying to get this 4’ snake to head up the hill away from me which he finally decided to do. Bob and I took a lot more pictures and then headed down to the main wash. Roy had come into the den area from the top and while Bob and I were walking up to the den site he made a rattling noise across the radios. Bob was standing next to a bush and when Roy did this Bob jumped straight up and down the hill about 10’, he then yelled at me that there was a snake near where he had been. All I could do was split a gut laughing at him and trying to tell him that it was Roy on the radio. Roy now was laying on the ground on the hill across from us rolling around laughing. Bob threatened to get even sooner or later.
Roy then headed down a gas line to check out an area and I headed back to the water tank where I had been in the morning to do some more glassing and Bob headed for home. I didn’t see anything except for deer and all Roy found was tracks so we met back at the truck and headed to Bob’s home for dinner and a night’s sleep for the next day.
Saturday found us headed over to an area that we called Rock Springs. On our way in we spotted 30-40 deer but no javelin. Roy has a favorite spot to glass from in this area so I left him and headed further up the wash to another area to take a hike to check things out. After hiking to a ridge line and glassing for quite a while I headed down into the draw only to spook out a white tail doe that headed up the far hillside to join another deer. I headed up and around the hill that I was on and then down into the wash without seeing any other animals and then back to my wheeler. On my way down the wash I met up with another hunter so we BS’ed for a while before I headed down to where Roy was parked at. I went past Roy’s wheeler and down the wash to find a little bit of shade which there was very little of and started a fire for our lunch. Roy showed up just as I put the Chimy Chungas on the coals so we enjoyed a cold beer while they were cooking. After lunch Roy said that he was going for a hike into the area that I had been watching that morning, so I decided to do a loop ride to see if there were any fresh tracks in the washes that we had been traveling in. Then once back to the truck we compared notes with neither of us seeing anything.
Saturday night at Bob’s we were wondering just where we need to go to find a couple of animals. I had a bad feeling about the one that I had shot at on opening day so I said that is where I was headed to. I wanted to do some more tracking and looking and if I had hit him and he was dead I should be able to find him by the smell since it was getting up into the 80 during the afternoons and he had two afternoons to start to stink. Roy headed up to where the spring comes out of the ground at Hidden Springs and I went straight up to the area that I had taken the shot. I hiked into the area and then down into the wash. I went up and down every draw in that area but didn’t come up with anything which proved that it was a clean miss. I then hiked up and over the hill to a little bench and cove that the javelina liked to hang out in but didn’t see anything. I then headed over to the canyon to the south to hike out the bottom of it and up to the ridge line and then back to my wheeler. I did this without seeing anything other than cactus which there is a lot of.
When I got to my wheeler I could tell that both Bob and Roy had gone past me and up to the power line. I followed their tracks over to the next wash only to lose Roy’s so I followed Bobs down the wash and then up another where I spotted him up on a ridge glassing up on the far side hill. When I got to him he mentioned that Roy had actually seen a herd of javelina on the ridge that he was glassing and that Roy was right on top. We couldn’t figure out what Roy was doing when we herd his first shot, then a short time later another shot with a whack on the end of it. I knew that he had either hit one or a soft piece of ground. Roy got onto the radio and told us that he had found a herd of around 10 javelina and that he had hit one. I then went back to my wheeler and headed over into the bottom of the wash that he was chasing them in. I came up to one draw and figured that I would hike up to Roy to see if I could get into them. But for some reason I decided to head up the main wash a little bit further. Roy then got me on the radio and asked me if I could see him. Once I found him I told him that there was a javelina about 30 yards below him, he couldn’t see it. I tried to walk him into it but he just couldn’t get the correct angle to be able to see it. By this time Bob had come up over the hill and told Roy that he was pointing his walking stick right at the javelina but Roy still couldn’t see it. About this time the javelina had enough of us talking on the radios and pointing sticks at hem and he took off, it was the one that Roy had hit from the pool of blood that was left where he had been standing. I then decided to head up the wash to see if I could still see him on the hillside but as I came around a corner in the wash I spotted 6 or 7 javelina right in the bottom of the wash. They then took off into the thick brush as I was driving up the wash trying to catch up with them. Just as I got even with them they headed up the hill. I jumped off of my wheeler and got into a position where I could get a shot off if they were to stop. Just then one of them did but he was in a bush and then another one joined him. I now had two javelina in one bush with no shot and at any time they would be gone in a shot up the hill with me not even getting a shot at them. As I was sitting there with the crosshairs on both of them the one on the left took a couple of steps up the hill. That was all I needed and the T/C barked and the next thing that I saw was a javelina doing summersaults down the hill backwards, I had filled my tag. He would of rolled all the way down to the wash that I was in if he hadn’t landed against a rock that stopped him from rolling. Once I got up to him I noticed that he was a small one and that his tusk were just starting to form, but that was alright he’ll be good eating.
Once I had mine taken care of and hanging in some shade I headed up the hill to were Roy and Bob were trying to find some blood from the one that Roy had hit. We scoured that hill only to find a few drops and then nothing, he had just quit bleeding and had gotten away. I then took Roy back to where he had left his wheeler and then down to pick up Bob and take him around the hill to where he had left his jeep. Once Roy showed up we had lunch and tried to figure out what to do in the afternoon. My task was pretty much taken care of. It was hot and I had to get the skin off of my javelina and get him cooled off to save the meat. Roy decided to head over two washes in the direction that the javelina were running to see if they crossed that wash. So off we went.
Roy got over to the far wash and didn’t find any fresh tracks so he came back over to the wash where I had shot mine in and headed up a canyon knowing that they should be somewhere in it under some brush or shady tree in the heat of the day. Once he got towards the top he saw first 1 then 3 then more of them, he had found a herd. He then heard a noise above him and took a look to see one small one and a larger javelina. He decided to shoot the larger one and one shot later he had his on the ground. He figure that he had shot a female since the smaller one was with it but it was a large male. We were two for two on Sunday afternoon.
We are already making plans for our return trip in 2016. We have only been doing this now for 22 years and still learning thing about hunting them.
So as the Terminator would say: I’ll be back.
He may be small but he'll do