Eric Henderson and Jim Chapman head out with big bore air rifles in search of BIG BOARS
I’d wanted to set up a pig hunting trip with Eric Henderson for quite awhile, and earlier attempts had fallen through. So when I found out that business would take me to Dallas, I gave him a call and we planned to hook up for a hunt. After clearing my meetings out of the way, the gear was loaded into my rental car and I drove over to EricÂ’s house. Phoning ahead, Eric said the plan was for Mark Bolson, Eric and I to connect up at his house then head over to the huge Bass Pro Shop out near DFW to eat, shop, and talk airguns. We had a good time getting to know each other; and after hanging out at this hunters dream store we called it a night and headed off to prepare for the (early) morning start. I said my goodbyes to Mark, as his schedule was not going to permit his joining in. I do hope on my next trip down that way heÂ’s able to make the hunt, as in the short time I’d gotten to know him I had the feeling he’d be a great guy to hunt with.
I left a wake up call for 4:00 am (that hurts to even say!!!) and was packed up and at EricÂ’s house before 5:00. We loaded up in his new truck (and I have to tell you that takes some doing Â… the man does like his gear) and hit the road in short order. We got to our hunting site at about 6:30, just as the sun was starting to creep up over the horizon. We had been following the weather and knew that it was going to rain, but hoped it would not be too heavy.
Once on site we suited up in full camo, grabbed guns and gear, then started off. The property was pastureland with stands of woods scattered about. These stands ranged in size from a clump of trees to several acres, and had a substantial growth of mast producing species. As we worked our way deeper into the property, we decided to see if we could call up a couple of coyotes. We were going to try to jump hunt some porkers, but thought that weÂ’d have better luck towards nightfall. And as we could hear the yotes howling thought we might as well start on songdogs and move on to pigs. After calling a while without effect, we decided to move on again. That’s when the rain started Â… and coincidentally the last time I was dry for the rest of the day. We hunted hard, stalking the morning away; we did find rubs and wallows, but came up empty on the porcine front.
As we were approaching mid day, we decided to head into a small town a few miles away and grab a quick bite, taking the opportunity to scout some property Eric had been given permission to hunt on the way. Driving along and glassing the fields we didn’t see any game, but did see a lot of starlings out in the grass and up in the trees. I had my DAQ .25 Outlaw charged, and when Eric suggested I test it out on one of these pest birds, I said “sure”. I popped one out at about 50 yards and sat there watching a stream of his brethren take flight in the opposite direction. We headed into town, and finding a little Mexican buffet tucked into lunch.
On the way back to the property to pick up the hunt, we stopped by the local feed store where Eric knew the guy running it. As we were speaking to him, we noticed some pigeons up in the rafters moving above and fowling below. Asking if we could thin these flying rats out for him, he responded “sure”. I won’t go into a blow by blow account; however I will say that my first shot improved ventilation by allowing the flow of outside air in through the roof …. just as I was squeezing the shot off the bloody bird hopped to the next beam. I saw it happening even as I squeezed the trigger. But after the first miss, there weren’t any more. We took a few more birds while the barn cats grabbed them running off with their unexpected bounty to feast. Finishing our pigeon hunt we moved out front where some of the locals were talking; one guy was saying there was a big boar dead on the side of the road that had either been shot or hit by a car. Another guy said one of the landowners had lost a couple of calves and a colt to a big bad tempered boar that didn’t like sharing the food plot with the domestics. We hung around talking and cooling down with a soft drink before going back to our hunting site.
We worked that land as the weather got worse, though I didn’t really care as you can only get so wet and I was already there. I’ve hunted with guys that like to take it kind of easy and with those that throw themselves at it , Eric is one of the latter. I donÂ’t know how far we walked/stalked that day, but at the end of the second sortie it was after 5:30. As it wouldn’t be getting dark for a while, we ran back into town for a fast burger and Coke before heading out for the evening hunt.
Driving down a dirt road and scouting for game, Eric stopped and asked if I could make out a group of animals that was about a quarter mile out, across a couple of pastures. I had a more powerful scope mounted and could crank up the magnification for a closer look. The animals in the foreground were obviously cows with calves, and what looked like some calves on their own behind that group. A little further beyond that was a herd of smaller animals moving about … pigs! And more than a couple. We grabbed our gear and moved off into the rapidly approaching night, making our way along a line of trees bordering a barbed wire fence. As we slowly stalked in we could pick out pig grunts and squeals mixed in with the bovine mooing. At this point Eric started a slow slog across a pasture following the grunts, with me following behind. As Eric was crossing the pasture the cows were going wild, crashing through the brush and running back and forth with their calves in tow. I watched Eric crossing the field, but as I started to move heard a squealing off to the left. It was getting dark and I had not grabbed a light before leaving the truck, but I was able to briefly make out a couple of pigs moving on the other side of the fence line. I worked my way along trying to get in for a shot, but found it so dark that I couldn’t clearly make out a target in amongst the trees. While following my targeted pigs I had gotten myself pretty well turned around. Cursing myself as a fool for not grabbing a light, I tried to get a fix on my location so that I could find my way back to the truck before it went black under the quarter moon and cloudy skies.
As I was trying to line myself up for the hike back, I heard the bark of Eric’s DAQ .50 from across the pasture. A few minutes later I saw the light from his Logan lamp flicker on and intermittently sweep an arc through the darkness. I watched as he moved along noting that it looked as if his light was filtered through trees. I didn’t want to be mistaken as quarry in the darkness and I didn’t want to make noise that might interfere with his hunt, so I stood and watched. After a few minutes I saw the light heading back in the direction of the truck, and started to cut an angle across the filed to intersect Eric’s path. The first thing he said when we met up was “man I canÂ’t believe you took off without a lamp!” followed by. I walked into a big herd of pigs! Then he recounted his story.
It turns out that as he stalked the pigs, the cows were freaking out all around him. As he approached the livestock feed laid out for the cattle he found himself amongst the biggest herd of pigs he’d ever seen, estimating there were around forty animals (not including the animals I was tracking, this was a big group of animals). A big pig approached moving directly towards him and at thirty yards Eric took the shot, just as the pig bolted. He wasn’t sure if heÂ’d connected, but the pigs cleared the area at the sound of the shot. He tracked the herd but didn’t get another shot.
So I ended the hunt wishing I’d taken the time to grab a lamp before moving out. Eric ended his hunt rethinking that shot over and over and over as one does in such situations, and we both left wishing we had more time to continue the chase.
I had a great time and found Eric to be a great hunting companion, the guy knows his stuff in the field, knows his airguns, and has a slightly convoluted sense of humor. As I’ve said before, any day in the field is good. I’d rather get my game, but when I don’t it doesnÂ’t diminish the experience. I can’t wait for my next trip down to Texas.
I should also like to mention that I had the opportunity to watch the Big Bore / Big Game hunting video Eric and Mark are currently editing. This is the best airgun hunting video I’ve seen, from any country in any language. These guys bring the viewer along on the hunt, and show how they approach the animal, set up the shot, and take their quarry. The camera work and editing are top quality as th bore boar. GREAT STUFF!! This video will be released to market soon .. and I’d strongly suggest you order a copy. it won’t disappoint!