Wild Hog Hunt 2019
Given the difficulties 2020 has given the world stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, I figured this might be an opportunity to share one of the hunts last year with a couple of friends. After several weeks of deliberation, we landed on the decision to take a weekend hunt for wild hog. Full disclosure, our experience with these animals were limited and to say that we found ourselves amazed at the characteristics these animals possess would be an understatement. Conduct any amount of research on wild hogs in North America and you will quickly find just how large of a problem these animals have created in many states. With constant breeding and a destructive nature, the wild hog is considered to be the most destructive invasive species in North America. This has led to much debate regarding the most efficient way to control the spread and population of wild hogs whether it be through no tag limit hunting or trapping. Whichever methodology you prefer the fact remains that this species is becoming more of a nuisance as each year passes.
Now that is enough back story on wild hogs in the United States, after all we are here to talk about the hunt. While choosing what firearm to use I narrowed my choice between the Ruger 308 Scout or my newly acquired Windham 450 Thumper. While the bolt action 308 is one of my favorite rifles to shoot I could not pass on the opportunity to see what the 450 could do. Once the bags were packed, we took the 8-hour drive to the hunting lodge and prepped for the next day by making sure the guns were sighted in correctly with a little bit of range time. Afterwards, we did a little bit of scouting with the guide. The first thing we noticed, that was a complete surprise, was the absolute destruction that these animals can cause. The area looked completely destroyed and torn up with very few patches of grass left. It is one thing to read about how much damage they cause, it is another to witness it.
The first day of the hunt we stumbled upon a sizeable hog north of 300 pounds moving around with a group of about twenty. As I took aim, he moved just enough to place another hog directly behind him and as a result I made the decision to pass on the shot in fear of wounding the second animal behind it. For me, this was an important reminder of why I hunt the way I do. Take shots that you know you can make to ensure you put down the animal as quickly and humanely as possible. Hunt to fill the freezer and waste as little as possible. Finally, make sure you are confident in your ability as a hunter before you even leave the house. These are the guidelines in which I hunt by and are no means meant to represent everyone. Some hunt for the trophy, others for the food. As long as you are enjoying yourself and not breaking any laws let your reasons be your own and God Bless. On the second day the guide took us back out around 8 am, with my buddy this time taking the lead for the group. About 30 minutes in, he found the hog for him. As we got within range his wild hog was attempting to breed, Tim being the decent human that he is let the hog finish his business and as the hog walked away, Tim fired a well placed round into the lungs. This is where we found out just how tough these animals can be as it took an additional two shots to put him down. Now mature male hogs have a thick subcutaneous layer of tissue that is called the plate or shield. This is used as a protective function while fighting for breeding opportunities with sows. It was amazing to see how thick the plating was and only strengthened my respect to how resilient these animals truly are. Once we packed up the boar and dropped it off back at camp we broke for lunch for an hour and got back on the hunt by 1130. As we began walking down towards a favorite watering hole, we found our large friend from the first day starting to trot away up a hillside. The guide and I quickly pursued up the hillside for a couple hundred yards eventually stopping thinking we have lost him in the trees. Until what felt like out of nowhere, he appears again about 80 yards away. I quickly took aim and fired a shot directly into the lungs, again I am amazed by the will of these animals. Instead of running, the hog decided instead to charge our group, only pulling up about 30 yards away where I then fired another shot this time directly into the heart. The weight was lifted with a quick clean kill and the pressure of completing a successful hunt. We had about four hours left in the day and the last member of our group was up by the time we were able to drop the boar off. After a few hours of hiking, we were losing daylight and the likelihood of all of us filling the freezer diminishing. Finally, a blonde boar comes out of the ridgeline and in perfect range for him to take the shot. One shot and the boar took off falling down the hill along the way and laid to rest about 80 yards from where he was hit.
All in all, this trip was a massive success great stories for the group to take home along with a several coolers full of wild game. Certainly, one of the more unique experiences of my life, one that is better shared with good friends, a warm campfire, and a few ice-cold beers. Whenever the little one is able to enjoy the spoils of the hunt with you, in both the wild game meat and the mount is always an added benefit. As always, I would like to thank you for taking the time out too read this blog post and I truly hope you have enjoyed the read.