Monday, November 3, 2014
SoCal Bowhunter Arrows His First Public Land Wild Pig!
My quest for a feral pig began four years ago on private land with a friend. I have been close to them, drawn on them, but have never had the opportunity for a clear, ethical shot...until November 1, 2014. That was the day my quest to put some wild pork in my freezer came to fruition!
Hunting pigs is incredibly fun, but is quite a challenge. Especially when you stink! I have sat numerous times in the past two years alone when I knew if pigs were around, they would smell me. Whether the wind was wrong or I was just plain sweaty, I wasn't going to get within range. Just a week ago, my friend Chris and I sat along a travel route that we were sure the pigs would cross through. As we sat, I began to smell the trees, earth, and then the odor coming from me. While faint, I knew a pig would smell it easily. I had taken the time to wash my clothes in scent-free soap, air dry, spray down, and still got sweaty enough on our hike in that I stunk. We didn't see a single pig that afternoon.
Chris knows pigs. In fact, he has made it his mission to help me learn pig behavior and set trail cams to find them. He had been disappointed that he hadn't been able to help find a pig to shoot. This week would change that as both of us went about our routines and then we saw it on TV - RAIN! There was significant rain being forecast for Friday evening into Saturday. Immediately we began to create a game plan. If I could make the drive up to meet him, we could be hunting pigs by Saturday afternoon. If I could make the drive on Friday night it would be even better, but it was Halloween and raining. Not ideal to be on the roads, so I passed.
When Saturday came, I was loaded up and hitting the road as early as I could. Chris and I both knew the pigs would be on the move. It was much cooler, the ground was wet, and the pigs would be foraging all day. That was our hope at least. It was just a matter of choosing the right spot to ambush them. We discussed ideas and paid close attention to the wind. We wanted our scent to be blowing in the right direction and not be swirling to give us up. The wind was perfect for only one location and we knew where we had to go. We began our long hike to a natural blind near a pig travel route.
I knew I wanted a pig really bad, so I was strict on my scent control. In fact, it's not really control because we are always going to stink. It's more like scent cover-up. My clothes had been in an ozone tote four an hour prior to me leaving. Then I sprayed everything down at the vehicle and brought extra spray in with me. Once we hit our ambush point we both sprayed everything down again. We probably overdid it, but we didn't care. I'd rather go over the top and increase my chances. It was now 2:00 PM. we sat down and waited.
Through the binoculars, we could see two sets of fresh tracks through the clearing. We made an educated guess that they were pig tracks. We hoped the rest of the group would come the same way. The wind was perfect and we continually sprayed down. It turned out we wouldn't have to wait very long.
I looked down at my watch. 3:06 PM. As I looked up, two black shapes silently appeared in the clearing. Both of us saw them at the same time and Chris said, 'You're on!' My body felt different than on other hunts. The adrenaline was controlled and I was focused! One pig stopped broadside at 12 yards. I ever so slowly raised up my crossbow and settled in on the pigs vitals. As the pig dug up the ground, I took the shot. It was less thirty seconds from when the pigs came in and I took the shot. The Scorpyd crossbow sent the bolt so fast that we didn't even see where it went. We heard the pig hit some saplings and then silence. Surprisingly, I was super calm and focused. I turned to Chris and smiled from ear to ear. We had done it!
If I had waited a few more seconds, the other pig may have turned for Chris to get a shot, but after hunting wild hogs for so long I was not about to give up the opportunity. We talked about the shot and knew it was a kill shot. I pulled up the binoculars to look through the brush and could see blood on saplings and undergrowth. It was going to be a fun tracking job.
We opted to wait an hour to see if any other pigs trotted through the area. It was a shot in the dark as they probably busted out of there when I shot my pig. As predicted, nothing happened, so we set off to trail my pig. The blood trail was easy to follow as the broadhead had cut through both lungs and left a wide spray of blood. My crossbow bolt was ten yards behind where I shot her. Even with the excellent shot, the pig ran nearly 100 yards! Those animals are tough! We found her in a small clearing and estimated her to be around 80 lbs. A perfect eating pig and no matter what, a perfect public land pig for my first ever.
I want to say thank you to Chris for sharing his knowledge and his hunting spots with me. He has been hunting pigs for a long time and could have easily said no when I asked him for advice. He and I have hunted numerous times together over the past two years and our patience paid off.