After my buddy, Ken, had taken 5 piglets off my place in north Texas during the previous couple of weeks, the only game images showing pigs were of a singular boar. I had sat for him twice with no luck. The sounder that contained the piglets apparently had gone elsewhere.
Storms had just passed through and the temps were in the mid 40s and dropping to the mid 30s. I arrived at around 7:00 PM to my staging area and suited up for what looked to be a long evening, making sure I had snacks, fluids, extra batteries, and then opened up 6 chemical warmers to help keep me toasty. Winds were expected to remain at 20+ mph from the north for the evening. It would not be dark until well after 8:00 PM.
So I drove onto the property, parked, got out my rifle and chambered a round. Lastly, I put on my hearing protection and I started my short hike to a pop up blind/tent I hoped would shield me from the wind for the evening. It was placed less than 20 yards from a feeder in a food plot where the boar had been sighted the last couple of times, but was also 50 yards north of another feeder that the pigs had not visited in a long time – weeks.
My trek up took me about 300 yards up a car trail where I spied some small hoof prints of piglets in the post rain sand. FRESH! The last part of the trip took me by this southern feeder about 35 yards to the east of it, separated by trees. I circled around to the north, scanning the food plot for hogs. Nothing. As I crossed the food plot, the wheat and oats were about knee level and hid a small flock of doves feeding at the feeder that flew up suddenly and startled me quite a bit. There must have been at least 30 and the noise they made was surprisingly loud.
I walked past the feeder and into a small grove of trees that contained my pop up blind at about 7:30 pm It has been sitting in the same spot for a couple of years and is anchored in place by nylon lines, one of which must be stepped over to get to the door. So I stepped over the line that was on the northeast side of the blind and happened to look south to the other feeder that just came into view as I was crossing the line. Underneath the feeder was a big grey hog!
This was great, but I was sort of stuck. I was about 2/3 visible to the hog if it looked at me. I was straddling a nylon line that limited my movement. Even worse, I am not a great offhand shot. I really prefer to make rested shots. About the only option was to use the supports of the pop up blind to help support my off hand for a more stable shooting platform since I could not move around and brace against a tree or go prone. My aim paralleled the top edge of the blind, but was clear of it.
As I watched the pig through the scope, I saw that the head was behind the feeder leg as it was eating. It was moving around a little bit, but mostly stayed behind the leg. I didn't want to make a vitals shot because the pig might run. So I waited, looking for signs that it had winded me and might take off running. Keep in mind that the wind is still blowing steady and I am upwind of the pig. Also during this time, I saw a second, smaller pig appear from behind a tree near the larger pig at the feeder. It remained mostly or completely obstructed and I did not have a shot at it.
Finally after maybe a minute or two, the big hog took a couple of steps backwards and I thought I had my head shot, but then turned to the right, away from me. So I took a vitals shot with the hog significantly quartered away from me. Like a magician, the hog seemed to disappear from view in a surprising amount of smoke/debris from the rifle. It was there before I fired and inside of a second had vanished. I had no idea where it went.
I did know where the smaller hog went. He came out from behind the tree and ran towards me about 30 yards at full speed. I fruitlessly tried chambering a second round to fire at this second hog, but he turned west into the trees and was gone before the spent case left my gun.
I don't know where my hog ran except it didn't run toward me. So I went to the feeder to check for blood to see how badly it was hit. Nothing. I scanned the ground with my thermal scope to see if the warmer blood would show up. Nothing. Then the feeder went off and I was startled for a second time this evening.
I next did a brief search inside the treeline around the feeder and found nothing, so I called up Ken to ask for help to find the hog that I really thought I had hit. So I started into the woods and managed to find the hog with the help of the thermal scope. It had traveled roughly 50 yards into the trees, briar, and poison ivy.
Ken arrived and we got the hog righted for pictures and located the entry wound. There was just a small amount of blood around the wound and there was no exit wound. The shot entered about mid body, but traveled through the liver and then made a mess in the lower chest. We cut her open and discovered 5 piglets. Not only that, but we discovered that there was an additional fatality. The muzzle blast from my rifle blew off a corner of my pop up blind.
Also, it was quite interesting to discover from the camera watching the feeder that these were the last two hogs remaining from a group of hogs that had been at the feeder for 3 hours until I shot one of the two remaining individuals. This was really surprising because there was still a considerable amount of corn on the ground. They had loitered for a long time, but not actually eaten that much corn. Amongst the group were my sow, other another sow or two, piglets/shoats, and the boar I was after.
Sow and Piglets ~225 lbs.
Remington 788 .308 shooting Silver State Armory Sierra Match BTHP
FLIR PS-32 thermal spotting scope
More pictures from the game camera, fetal piglets, and blasted pop up blind are here...