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Ca_Vermonster's picture
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My Pig Hunt

Well, I am back from my hunt at Tejon Ranch.  It was an experience, something I wish everyone had the opportunity to do.

After having my buddy opt for knee replacement instead of a hunt, I headed out solo on Friday morning.  Got to the ranch, and at noon, they cut us loose.  First problem though, apparently it had been misting/drizzling all night, and the roads were crap.  I did have a 4x4 that my buddy gave me to use, but he had normal street tires on it.  I was limited to the main canyon there, but the road through it is almost 15 miles, so plenty of room to spread out.  I drove for a while, looking for pigs on in the draws.  At 1:15, barely an hour into the hunt, I found some fresh rooting, and thought the draw looked nice, and decided to take a walk.

Headed up a nice draw, kinda flat at the mouth with tons of mast bearing trees.  One thing I noticed here, I have never seen so many acorn, nut, other type of food trees.  Unbelievable.  Found that it split into 2 draws, and one had a firebreak in it.  I chose that one, paralleling a thick creek bottom.  I walked about 5 minute when I heard what I thought was more of a growl/meow, like a big kitty.  Coulda been a pig, I thought, so I sat listening.  As I sat there, I look to my left, and on the road 50 yards away are a nice 3x3 and 4 does (Those were the first of probably 50 deer, and 15 bucks or so, I saw, all within 100 yards).  Well, a few minutes later, I hear a squeal, so no question, pigs!  I look around, and there is a nice clean path though the creek to a level plateau on the opposite side.  The wet leaves were silent, made for great creeping.

I followed the trail, and after 50 yards, peeked over, and there they were.  I saw a sow with some piglets walk away across another draw, and a second pig.  I slowly moved to a tree in front of me, and started seeing more pigs.  They were within 40-50 yards, no clue I was there.  Got the shooting sticks ready, and started scoping them.  I need to add here, that the only pigs they ask you to hold off on are wet sows.  Now, being inexperienced with pigs, and being insecure about making a mistake, I cranked the scope up to 9x to identify them.  I now had 4 pigs, all about 120-160 pounds, feeding all around me (Oh, and I hear a noise behind me, and I turn to see the does had walked up to 20 yards and were staring at me).  I looked over the pigs, and all 4 had teets.  Only one was sagging, but still, I wasn’t sure if they were “wet”.  After 10 minutes, and them closing to 20 yards, they started to leave.  They walked down a trail at 15 yards.  I finally said screw it, I don’t think those are wet.  The biggest walked into my shooting lane, I throw up the scope. $*%^&!!!!! A scope at 9x and 15 yards isn’t a good idea, all a blur.  I quickly tried to adjust it, but she made me.  Off she went across the draw.  After they were over the little ridge, I slid after them.  Crested the next ridge, and I see some walking up the ridge, and hear a huff/snort as the dominant sow charges into the trail, looks right at me, and takes off up the ridge.  I hear a noise to my right, and 20 yards away in the tall grass, starts the conga line.  Another 15-20 pigs follow her lead, walking by me and up the ridge.  I think I was biased by the size of the original sows, so I let the whole parade go by without raising my gun.  I tried to get back on them, working them till dark, and lost them.

So, I beat myself up pretty good back in camp, not knowing if I’d get another chance.  I drank some beer with a couple guys I knew, trying to come up with a plan (And more questions).  Second day came, and while I saw probably 30 pigs, they were all at 500+ yards.  I did see a couple of bull elk, lots of turkeys and deer, and some beautiful country.  Called the guys at the end of the day, quite disappointed that I’d blown it Friday.  Talked to them, and got another pep talk.  Feeling a little bad, because my 6 year old son was calling every hour asking if I had shot anything yet.  More beer with my friends, and decided, as they said, why leave pigs to go find pigs.  I also talked with a guy skinning a nice boar, and he gave me a place to go the next morning, he said “guaranteed”.  Couldn’t hurt.

Sunday, last day, only have till noon.  I started at sun-up, glassing the hills where I’d seen the 25-30.  Nothing for the first 45 minutes, so I decided to move.  Headed to the “Guaranteed” spot.  As I was driving, passed a couple guys with a pig in the pickup, and told them where I was headed.  Oh, that’s where they shot it….. $*@#^ .  Still give it a try, get to the spot, and looking for a place to pull off I see another truck coming out of the canyon, pig in the back. $*%&!!!  Just got it right down the road, where the other guy in the truck also got one yesterday.  Well, that’s 4 pigs in about 18 hours from there.  I was dismayed, but still sat where the guy told me to go.  After 15 minutes, and 2 more trucks passing the road below, I said screw it, gotta get mobile and spot some pigs.

So, I get in the truck, and head down one firebreak that had been mentioned by someone else.  Not 5 minutes later, I go past some massive wallows, through a small patch of green field, and round a corner into an oak flat.  I just pulled off the edge of the road to bino, shut the truck off, and immediately see pigs walking through the oaks at about 100+ yards.  I jumped out, off the edge of the road, and threw up the gun.  Now, since Friday, my 2 friends both told me to stop thinking, and “just shoot any damn pig!!!”.  Well, there were 7-8 in this group, all decent sized, no piglets.  One glanced at me, but they kept walking.  Most were bunched up, but there was one trailing the group by about 5 feet.  I put the crosshairs on that one, took off the safety, and squeezed the trigger.  Click!  (Remember, nothing comes easy)  So, I rack in a round, take aim again, and bang!  Dropped him in his tracks.

Ran up to him, and was surprised to see a big boar.   I had taken their advice, and hadn’t thought about anything, including the fact that the big guys are usually the last in the group. Anyway, he was still kicking.  Thought it may be nerves, cause the shot looked perfect (turns out I spined him), but when I kicked him in the a$$, he reared his head and squealed.  I took one more Coup de Grace’ in the back of the head, and he was done.  As I sit here now, I am going to check the one tusk later.  I think it was already broken, but I need to see if I shot the damn tusk off when I plugged him in the head.

So, he turned out to be a really nice one.  185 pounds dressed, big enough for the “Big Pig” of the weekend on the north side.  Gutted him, and luckily I had brought a gambrel with me.  In the hour I was messing with him, nobody drove by, so I had to load him myself.  I was able to hoist him up into a tree, and back the truck under him.  Got him skinned and quartered back at camp, and headed home.  The pleasant surprise was yesterday when I was deboning him.  I have heard from everyone that a big boar would basically need to be entirely ground up for sausage, because most were really rank.  He definitely was the most unpleasant thing I have smelled, while standing over him.  Nasty!  However, not wanting to waste good loins and backstrap, I cut some off.  Took the whole loin, simply S&P and browned it in some olive oil, and threw it in the oven.  It was melt in your mouth delicious, and 100% serious, flavor-wise, tasted just like a pork loin or chop from Costco.  Gave it to my buddy who was helping me, and he agreed.  His family raises and butchers hogs in Arkansas, and he hunted pigs there, and says he’s never had a boar taste that good.

So, since the meat is good, gonna keep all the backstrap and rest of the loin.  Left one hind quarter to make into a ham, and bringing in the rib cage to the butcher, he said he might be able to make short ribs.  And the rest will be made into some great sausage.  So, my freezer will be full, and most importantly, It will be mostly with animals I killed myself.

Sorry for the long story, but I don’t get to tell too many. Oh, and thanks to Ed for the copper ammo.  Worked like a charm.....Wink

 

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Great story and it looks like

Great story and it looks like your luck is changing this year.

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Good job Sir!!!! Congrats on

Good job Sir!!!! Congrats on your harvest and an excellent story.

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Congratulations!  Don't

Congratulations!  Don't apologize for documenting your story so thoroughly.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading every word of it!  Seeing so much wildlife in one trip sounds amazing, so to get a great pig on top of it is icing on the cake, or, in this case, backstraps in the freezer.  Congrats again on your great hunt.  Thanks for sharing your story and pictures.  Enjoy your freezer full of meat!

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Way to make it happen Sean !

Congrats on a great hog ! Thanks for the great story and pics ! Thumbs up

Quinton

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Congratulations!! Fantastic

Congratulations!! Fantastic story and a great hunt.

I've killed heavier boars than that but have yet to get one with cutters nearly so nice. And like yours they have all been good eating despite what people say about them.

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FANTASTIC!

You have well and truly broken your dry spell!  Congrats!

First deer, now a hog, what's next?

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Thanks guys!  Pretty stoked. 

Thanks guys!  Pretty stoked.  I cut out the loins and backstrap myself, and dropped the rest off at the butcher yesterday.  When all is said and done, I should have about:

40-45 lbs Sausage--- 20 lbs Italian, 10 of that in links. 10 lbs breakfast, and 10 lbs Apple sausage links

A 20 lb ribcage, cut into spare ribs and short ribs, maybe even some babybacks.  Yield about 10 pounds of ribs

A 17 lb ham.  Cutting it into 2 half hams, a ham hock, plus one center cut 3/4 inch ham steak.  He cures it in honey, salt, some other stuff, for 7 days then smokes it for 6-8 hours. 

Only got about 1.5-2 lbs of loins, surprisingly small.  But the backstrap, after I trimmed alot of the gristle, got 2 full gallon ziplocs of boneless chops.  Maybe 35-40 chops.

Wade, yes, the cutters were nice, but as I said, I want to look closer and see if I blew that left one off, or if it was an old break.  Mike, I don't know.  The last hurdle for me locally is an Archery deer and turkey.  I have hunted archery for 15 of the least 20 years, give or take, and yet to take an animal.  I have until the 31st of this month, but not sure if I will get out.  Used up alot of the credit from the honey-do list over the last month.  We'll see though.  Turkey is just 3 months away, and I haven't shot one of those either in 6 years of trying.

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It's hard to tell from the

It's hard to tell from the picture but it almost looks blackened on the end a bit. That would indicate an older break to me.

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That's one thing i was

That's one thing i was looking at, but I also dragged it about 75 yards prior to the photo.  Wondering if I did cake it with dirt.  I don't think so though, I am pretty sure it was already broken.

Joined: 12/15/2012
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Wet Sows?

Nice story. I just came back from a hog hunt as well. Those are some nice whets on the boar. I am a new hunter. I am curious on what they mean by wet sows. Since I hunted on a deprivation permit we were told to hunt as many hogs as we can. We were never told to leave wet sows. There were 5 of us and we all averaged 2 hogs each. Totall we got for the weekend was 9 in total. It was a veteran sponsored hunt by another fellow veteran. Looking to do more hunting in general. Shoot, my hog tag is still good since I ended up not needing it due to the deprivation permit. 

  But please explain to this new hunter on wet sows...Want to learn more and gain knowledge and experience.

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