Jim Chapman and Eric Henderson head out on a Texas hog hunt at Lone Star Hunts.
Here I was, back in Texas for another big game airgun hunt with Eric Henderson of Bigbore Airgun Adventures. We had planned to do the hunt in December; however my work schedule had precluded it. But then fresh into the New Year, I’d been called down to Dallas for a meeting …. and was able to schedule an open day for me.
About 4:00 the day of the hunt (not my favorite wakeup time) Eric rolled up to the front of my hotel in the "Bigbore Truck" and after loading my minimal gear we were off. To make my travel easier, I left my guns at home and opted to use his. After a two and a half hour drive northwest of Dallas, and still in the dark, we rolled up to the gate of Lone Star Hunts. This operation is run by ranch owner Allen Shaffer, who after running dove, quail, and puddle jumping duck hunts for a number of years on his 2000 acre holding, decided to expand the opportunity for feral hogs and trophy rams.
The ranch is open pasture with mesquite dotting the landscape, with particularly heavy cover along the creek running through the bottom lands. While Allen has a number of blinds and stands set up at strategic sites around the property, Eric and I both prefer still hunting, so that is exactly what we did. In this brief recounting of our hunt, I"m not going to go too deep into the story telling as I’m saving that for another time. It was a fun hunt with a lot of action and some tales that deserve telling in their own time. But to give a quick run down ..
We took four boar, hunting from sun up to sun down, each of us taking two animals. The way we hunted was that one man was shooting while the other worked the video camera. This always resounds to my favor, in that no matter how good Eric does on his stalk and kills, my shortcomings as a photographer come into play. On the other hand, no matter how sloppy my approach, Eric’s skill with the camera is going to make me look good. I quite like this arrangement
Eric showing his first kill of the day, which was another big sow. Eric hit this one square in the head while she was facing him head on.
Pig number one was spotted about an hour into the stalk, with me shooting. I was using the DAQ .308, and as we hiked away from the creek and up into a large pasture dotted with trees and mesquite we spotted a small group of hogs rooting. The first sighting was about a hundred yards out, and with minimal coverage we had to move slowly towards our quarry, freezing up whenever one of the pigs looked up. At about fifty yards I extended my shooting stick and set up for the shot. The pigs would not cooperate and kept moving behind the brush and tree limbs, which were sparse enough not to give cover, but heavy enough to block my shooting lane. After a few minutes of moving and adjusting without getting a shot, we dropped to the ground and crawled/scooted into about thirty five yards. The wind favored us and gave me time to set up, but I still couldn’t get a clean head shot so decided I’d take the lung shot. Squeezing the trigger I heard the thwack of the bullet and the squeals of my pig combined with his herd mates as they took off. My quarry did not go with them though as he dropped on the spot. There is more to this story which I’ll save for a later time; but the pig did have a little life left and as we were walking up popped back to his feet and charged Eric. This little tusker was literally within inches of slicing up his leg, which I did point out to Eric would have made compelling video viewing (if we’d been filming anyway). But in the end, this little 100 lb piggy went to the skinning shed.
Pig number two had Eric shooting, using Bob Deans .57 caliber titanium bigbore creation. As we were making our way along the creek in heavy brush, we heard grunting and squealing combined with a thrashing of the brush, as a herd of hogs moved through the brambles and bush along the creek. We spotted a small break away group move up to the border of the tree line not too far distant from where we’d taken my pig earlier, though we approached from a completely different direction this time. Eric slowly moved inside of fifty yards, again taking the slow methodical stalk and freezing anytime one of the hogs looked up. He would move in a couple of steps then freeze and hold, perfectly still, until he could move again. We were in camo and these animals don’t have the best eye sight, but with their acute sense of smell and keen hearing they are a real challenge. Once reaching a workable shooting position, Eric had a couple of different targets he could have opted for, but patiently let these go by waiting for the largest (and least accommodating) hog in the group to finally present a shot. After a few tense minutes the big sow turned facing directly towards us, I think sensing that something was not quite right. As soon as the shot opened, Eric let it fly. The heavy 400 grain bullet smacked into her head right between the eyes, dropping the 150 lb pig on the spot. While radioing back to Allen that we had an animal down, the heavy hog was dragged a couple hundred yards to a location the old ranch jeep could access, and thrown on the rack for the drive back to the shed.