Wednesday, December 3, 2014

This Little Piggy...Ended Up in the Freezer

My phone buzzed from across the room indicating I had a text message. 'Want to go hunting Friday?' Chris must have been reading my mind. The week prior it had been really windy and now, the temps were high, but dropping in the evenings. 'YES!' was my immediate reply. Weather and wind was checked and the plan was set on where to go.

On the way in to our set-up, Chris and I chatted about coyotes. We both had seen a few in the past and wanted to thin the pack out. Over the past month, Chris noticed something very interesting with the relationship between song dog and feral swine. The pigs would stay put during the warm part of the day, but once the temperature dropped they were active. The main thing he noticed was when the coyotes began howling in the afternoon, pig began moving. If we actively hunting the yotes in this area, would it affect the pig hunting? We didn't know, but we opted not to hunt coyotes this day.

Up in our stands, Chris and I scanned the area, listened intently, and laughed at how many birds were around. There were so many cool looking birds. Small, large, and colorful! I caught movement 300 yards out and when I checked it out through my binoculars I was surprised to see a dozen or so doves feeding. I laughed and watched as they moved around in the shade of the shrubbery.

At 4:10 PM, the coyotes began their evening chorus. It was intense and pretty cool to hear. There were two, possibly three, distinct packs howling back and forth. We knew we needed to be ready for the pigs to start moving.

Back in NY, squirrels would drive us nuts jumping around in the leaves making us believe a deer was walking toward us. Out here it's birds. They drive you crazy. I kept hearing movement behind my stand and looking down I saw a large brown bird going through the leaves and looking for seeds. I turned around and the noise grew louder. I again looked down and there was the same darn bird making quite a racket. I looked at Chris and his eyes were lit up. He pointed behind the stand and said, 'That's a pig'. I told him it was that bird. 'No way that's a bird.' Then the bird hopped, making a loud rustling sound. We had a hilarious 'disagreement' about the bird vs. pig and how I had been staring at this bird forever. I hoped I was wrong. As the noise turned to crashing, I knew I was wrong. Through the brush, two black legs appeared and a pig entered the zone. Game time!!

We had sprayed down every hour with Dead Down Wind scent elimination spray. It's been one that worked for Chris and I in the past. Today would be the ultimate test. The boar came in and every twenty feet or so, stopped, lifted his head to sniff the air, and waited a few seconds before moving on. He made his way 25 yards behind our stands, right in between them and stopped. I estimated him to be around 180 lbs from where I was at. As he lifted his head, I could see his snout wriggling around. Our wind was blowing right to where he was standing. I thought for sure we would get busted, but I was wring again! He was satisfied and slowly kept walking around to Chris's side. At 10-15 yards from his stand, the pig stopped. I had no shot, but Chris had one. He had enough time to turn back to me, ask me if he should shoot. 'Take the shot dude!'

The lighted nock looked like a vapor trail as it disappeared through the thick hide. The boar bolted to some thick brush and began wheeling around. We couldn't see him, but we could see the saplings and leaves doing a dance. He squealed loudly and then let out a death moan. Yes, I said a death moan. Even Chris had never heard one do that before! The pig squealed a long, 6-8 second, high pitched squeal that tapered off to silence. In a couple years of hunting, it was the first pig I had even seen Chris shoot. It was exciting for both of us!!

We gave it until last light and began tracking it. We had to Army crawl through the pig tunnel to find the dead pig. Let me tell you, that gets your adrenaline up. We had our lights on and knives ready, but were sure this pig was expired. Sure enough, about 50 yards from the treestand, there he lay. Congratulations were given and we began the arduous process of getting him back out into an area where the gutting could take place. It wasn't easy, but we did it. I loaded my stand, pack, Chris's pack, and both of our bows while Chris loaded out the boar on his back. It was a much longer, tougher hike for Chris I am sure. The hunt was exciting and quite the adventure. Now I have to get back out there and put a pig down myself. I eagerly await that opportunity!


  1. Sounds like you guys have the area dialed in, Al! Congrats!

    Out of curiosity, why aren't ya'll boning the hogs out in the field instead of packing them out?

    1. Too much hair and dust to clean up after the fact. More control of it if I can do it in my garage. Both of us prefer to take the entire pig home and butcher it up. If it's over a certain weight we will most certainly be boning it out.

  2. What kind of stand did you use? What other climbing equipment?

    1. Hi Walt. I use a Lone Wolf Assault climber. It allows me more versatility as a bowhunter on public land.

    2. Albert,
      dont climbers wrork only on straight, thin trees with few branches? what about if you're trying to put a stand in an oak or redwood? I've never tried a stand an am looking for one for hunting on public land that can fit in many types of trees.

    3. Hi Walt,
      Most climbers work best on straight, thinner trees with little or no branches. With a little trimming, you might be able to use one on an oak or really young redwood. It all depends on where you want to hunt. Scout the areas first and see if there is a suitable tree or two or three that would be good for a climber. That Lone Wolf Assault is a very versatile climber and worth it's weight. Let me know if you need any help with it. Where will you be hunting? National Forest?

    4. Albert,

      Thanks for the reply. I'm in Sonoma County and will hunt in the vicinity and at Lake Sonoma where there's an archery season on federal land for pigs.

      The trees are mostly oak and pines. I thought these stands might work on such trees:

    5. I like the design behind the Twisted Timber stands, but for me, leaving a stand on public land is not worth my effort in scouting and placing the stand, only to have it stolen. This year alone I have heard of at least six stands being stolen , along with trail cameras near them. It's a sad state of affairs where people need to turn to thievery and vandalism.

      If you have a way to hide the stand well you might be ok. Good luck!

  3. Albert,

    Yes, it's amazing that people will go to all that effort to steal hunting equipment when a similar day of hard work would've paid better than thievery.

    I am in agreement that I need something I can put up and take down when I leave the hunting area. I know very little about stands and I think you're saying that hang-on stands cannot be setup and taken down quickly.

    I think I'm going to have to try this and report back results.