Wild Pigs and Newbys

Bubblehide

Senior Member
Joined
May 13, 2015
Messages
1,643
So, this past deer season, I took a friends son (adult) deer hunting. The kid (no offense intended to you younger gentlemen), was new to guns, far from an well experienced, but good with safe handling. However, he was brand spanking new to hunting mammals. Long story short, last season I find a 3x3 bedded at about 370 yards, and spend about 20 minutes trying to get the kid to see it. He simply didn't have the eye for it, and was uncomfortable with the shot. So I set up and took the steep downhill shot. I split the deer with him, to ensure the trip ended as a positive memorable experience. Well, a short time ago he asked me for advice on a god all around hunting rifle, and he made the purchase, with me promising to take him pig hunting. So This past Saturday, he meets me at my place, I mount a scope on his rifle, and we were then off to the range to sight it in. A short time later I him dead on for 300 yards, and he takes over the shooting, and is just drilling the target. Long story shot, my Spring Break had started, and he knows it, and he's dying to go hunting. So Sunday morning we leave for public land, here in Southern Ca, totally unplanned. Now you have to appreciate the total lack of experience and knowledge of some newbies. On the way up to this spot, the kid asks me if pigs have horns, after a quick no, he asks, well do some have horns. After a laugh, he then informs me, that he meant "tusks".

Well, after a short hike (short for me), we back tracked to overlook a canyon that had some promising sign nearby. I figured that if the pigs showed up, they would drop into the canyon from the opposite ridge. and we'd have an opportunity for multiple harvests, and the possible advantage to move ahead of the pigs for a better shooting position if they dropped in below us. I glassed the canyon and came up empty, so I settled in and told the kid to wake me up if he saw anything. 15 to 20 minutes later, I wake and pick up the glass again. After about 30+ minutes of glassing and coming up empty, I nod off for another power nap. Now don't take my napping the wrong way, it's not narcolepsy or anything like it, nope. not a medical condition. It simply stems from being up to late, packing the pack at the last minute, and waking up early, to get an early start, just simple lack of sleep.

I wake once again, after a short nap, and almost instantly I spot a deer toward the top of the canyon, and then another, feeding. Pretty soon the deer questions start coming, and I'm starting to feel like I'm being pelted with them. No, not that I mind the question, as a newb, I expect lots of question from him. Nope, it's because of his timing. I tell him he's going to need to save his question for when we're not hunting. Silence ensues and about 10 minutes later, our silence is disturbed by a snort. The kid thinks it came from behind us, over the ridge. I tell him it came from near the deer. The kid can't help himself, he has to turn around, and then stand to take a better look. He sits back down, and wants to debate the emanating location of the sound, but I don't bite. One of the two deer we saw is now moving along slightly faster, and we then spot more movement, in the trees above where the deer were. Apparently the pigs were there the whole time, bedded under the shade and cover of the trees.

The pigs slightly separated into two groups, there was at least a dozen pigs there, and of the ones I could see well enough, they were good sized. I spotted one nice sow clearly, as she was in a small open spot, with nothing obstruction my full view. obviously pregnant, she had to be 250+ pounds. They were at 200 yards, and providing good shot opportunities due to the vegitation. I was expecting them to head down, into the canyon and eventually come out right under us, in a sweet opening, providing the perfect ambush spot, and a high likelihood for the opportunity of harvesting multiple pigs. No such luck, these pigs were headed to slope on top of the ridge opposite us. So we quickly moved position. I didn't like the shot opportunities presented (not for a newb hunter), so I told him to hold off. The idea here was to get him a pig, and if I had the opportunity, after he shot, I'd then take advantage of it. Knowing the area, I knew there was a gradual sloping semi flat football sized oak studded area where the pigs would slow down to feed through, they were headed right for it, and that day, it was virgin to our presence.

I tell the kid to hurry up and get his pack on, as we need to swiftly but quietly drop down to the bottom of the canyon and climb up the other side using a narrow pig trail, and catch up to them. I toss my pack on (it makes a really nice rifle rest) buckle up and head down canyon. It's not long, I have to stop for the kid, motioning for him to hurry. When he catches up, I tell him that if he wants a shot opportunity, he needs to literally stay right on my 6, otherwise I'll be the one taking the shot, and he needs to do it as quietly as possible. Slightly before the top, I stop for about two minutes, taking deep breaths, for two reasons. One, to catch my breath, and two to lower my heart rate. We then swiftly creep up to the top (can you actually swiftly creep). I poke my head over, and see nothing. Two more steps, nothing. Two more steps and I see the big prego sow.

Here in California, despite pigs being an invasive species, one that competes vigorously with deer, our Fish and Wildlife requires that we have a hunting license and purchase pig tags. Furthermore, Ca is not overrun with wild hogs, like parts of Texas, and perhaps other states, or areas within them. Subsequently, those of us that hunt wild pigs, at least most of us, like have them in our state, and enjoy the opportunity to hunt them year round. So in short, I generally try to take the time to identify which pigs are boars, so I can avoid shooting the sows, in an attempt to keep a healthy population. But I was with a newb, and I didn't want to blow his opportunity to harvest his first big game animal (yes here in Ca wild pigs are considered big game). I set the kid up in a good shooting position, and told him to take the shot, as I moved to his right, so I could be in a position to take a follow up shot if needed. and I waited and waited while the pig fed it's way along, the kid needed to re position, as the sow moved out of his shooting lane (it was only about 60-70 out). I whispered to him that he needed to take the shot, and take it now, as it would have been behind a large bush. I didn't think we'd get another opportunity, and the other pigs were significantly further and about to slip down a brushy canyon that provided little to no opportunity. Just when I was thinking that I would have to take the shot, if we wanted to put meat in the freezer, BOOM!, sow down. Despite the work we had put in that day, on limited sleep, our work was now just beginning.

Well folks, I just got back a few short hours ago, and tomorrow morning I'm leaving on a short vacation I promised to my wife. So the pictures will have to wait, unless Bruce reads this and is kind enough to post some of the ones I sent him.
 

Mischief209

Senior Member
Joined
Sep 29, 2015
Messages
208
Location
Central,Ca
Great story. Your a great guy for taking out alot of new hunters. Always enjoy your write ups. Do u still have plans to write a book. You have to be 1 of the most well respected and accomplished CA hunters. Thanks again
 
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Bubblehide

Senior Member
Joined
May 13, 2015
Messages
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Thanks Mischief209. I should have gotten to the book when I was taking time off. At the moment, I simply don't have the time. I have however done a bit of research for it, so you never know. But, don't hold your breath, if I do, it won't be anytime soon.

Accomplished, respected, those are some pretty kind words my friend. I'd say, like many here, I have a bit of knowledge, and I enjoy sharing it. So in short, being vocal makes me stand out a bit. But I am sure there are many here, and elsewhere, that are much more accomplished than I.
 
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Bubblehide

Senior Member
Joined
May 13, 2015
Messages
1,643
Bruce, don't I wish. But not on this group, I had a clean shot at the sow at 200, but wanted to get the kid an opportunity. I would not have gotten a follow up opportunity. Then while on the other ridge, the sow was again, the only pig providing a good shot opportunity. The fact is that we got lucky with the second opportunity on the other ridge, where the kid made the shot. By the way, I did find the bottom third of the pigs heart, wedged outside the body cavity, but under the hide of the front shoulder. First time I have ever seen a part of an animal's heart exit the body cavity from being shot.
 
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