By Dustin Bomley Production Manager, Alpine Archery
Dec 23, 2007 – 2:46:52 PM
When the winter draws to a close in Northern Idaho there are only a few choices for hunting left open and available. One could chase mountain lions and bobcats or just wait patiently for the spring bear and turkey season that doesn’t begin until the 15th of April. If you are fortunate enough to have hound dogs or know someone who does, the first option is very viable. If not, like most of us, you wait.
During the Archery Trade Assoc. show in Atlanta, Ga., I spoke with Drew Butterwick. Drew is the host of “Art of Deception” TV show. Drew also owns a lease in South Texas called the White Antler Ranch located right outside of Dilley, Texas.
During our conversation, Drew invited Bob Proctor (President of Alpine Archery Inc.), Vince Kite (Sales Manager for Alpine Archery Inc.), and myself to go to South Texas and hunt wild boars. We all thought of this as a great opportunity to do several things. One, we needed to field test a new product that we were getting ready to introduce as a mid-year product. Two, we saw it as a good time to shoot some product promotional video. Three, we all needed a few days away from the riggers of everyday production schedules and deadlines.
We started making plans to head to South Texas. As it turned out, the only time that all of us could go was mid-April. Drew had mentioned the hogs would be pretty well educated, but we should still come down. The major hog hunting usually begins in late January and goes until the end of April. Since the hogs were pretty well educated by then, Drew told us to be ready to hunt them at night. This is not a normal form of hunting to a few guys that are used to hunting deer and elk during the daylight hours. So, we being manufactures of innovative archery products, took Drew seriously. We manufactured a stabilizer with picatiny rails on it and attached a tactical laser on one and a tactical light with a touch pad on another rail. To describe the setup, it looked as though a SWAT team had met Archery Manufacture.
Bob, Vince and I were well on our way to being prepared until we received a call from Drew. “The weather will be warmer than you are used to and the snakes are out in force”. Drew explained. SNAKES!!?? Until now we had not given it a thought. Scrambling to get ready for snakes would not describe the panic that all of us had. We have all seen snakes, but none of the three of us had seen a south Texas snake. We had all heard the stories about 6 footers. It is not a real comforting thought.
Back to being prepared, with snake boots, snake chaps, snake shot for our pistols and snake bite kits, we were off. Oh yeah, what about our bows? We would have forgotten them if it were not for us being in the archery industry.
We arrived in San Antonio early enough that we would be able to hunt the first evening. We made a few quick stops to get a legal hunting license and some food for the 4 days that we would be at the ranch. Arriving at the ranch, we were greeted and then changed into our camo clothing for the evening hunt. Everyone of us shot a few shots to assure that our equipment was ready for the hunt. Off we went for an experience that we would never forget.
Vince was first into his stand. Once situated, he was ready for anything. So he thought! Bob and I walked a bit and as we were getting close to his stand. “PIGS!” Exclaimed our cameraman Chris Martin. Bob went into full mission impossible stalk mode. I thought that I could hear the music. Dun, dun, dun, dun, dun. Hogs went everywhere, and Bob was not able to get a shot. We situated Bob into his stand and off to my stand we went.
We walked across a few senderos before arriving at the place were I would sit. We didn’t get into the stand yet, when Chris tapped me on the shoulder. I looked back at him and he was already filming as I noticed he was motioning that we had hogs in our midst. Without the time to use the rangefinder, I nocked and arrow and quickly came to full draw. The first hog that came into view was a brown color. I had already determined in my mind that I wanted a brown one as they were not as common as the black or grey hogs. The brown hog slipped into the brush before I could even settle into my peep sight.
Ahhh, pulling back that smooth Silverado and locking in on the sight and the hog. Now that’s excitement.
As I settled in, I noticed a few more critters moving around in the brush, so I stayed at full draw awaiting another one to offer me a shot. It didn’t take long and a black one came into view and stopped looking in my direction. I guessed it at just under 40 yards, placed my pin and like a slow motion video, I watched my arrow fly right over his back and into a piece of ironwood.
And with that he was gone! “Holy Smokes Batman” these little buggers are fast. I’d classify them a lot faster than a keyed up whitetail. My Alpine Silverado Sabre is shooting a good 292 feet per second with my hunting set up but one distance mistake put him out of reach for a second shot. The bow is quiet and pretty fast for a hunting bow but I never got a second chance with this pig. The whole situation puzzled me and my weeks of practice and confidence were severely shaken. Chris brought me back to the real world when he said that there were more coming and to get another arrow nocked.
Hog number 1 down and out. Fire up the BBQ.
This time I was ready, I ranged a few trees and brush and realized the farthest shot that I would have would be 38 yards. Another black hog walked into view and was unaware of our presences. I slowly came to full draw and at 36 yards held a bit low. I watched as my arrow struck the mark, entered and exited the quartering away hog. We recovered the 85 pound sow 70 yards from where I had shot her.
Vince had only been in the stand for a short time when he had a group of hogs come in right below his stand. He came to full draw and shot a short 25 yard shot and missed the shot. Go figure. Not able to get another shot, Vince went hogless the first evening.
Bob had a nice boar in under his stand and when he put the laser on the pig, everything went wild, pigs scattered and no hog for Bob either.
SNAKES??? I hate snakes. Even when they are dead I hate snakes!
On our way back to the ranch, we came across a few snakes. Bob took the opportunity to kill one of the rattlers. I stayed in the pick-up while the rest of the crowd played with the nasty little reptiles.
The second evening of our stay proved to have little activity as the weather was turning into thunder storms. It seemed as though the pigs wanted to hole up and not come out of the thorn brush and play. We sat in stands and saw a few hogs cross the senderos but not come into the stands. I tried to put a stalk on one lone boar with no success. The weather had everything held up as there were not even any snakes out trying to find warm rocks.
We went back to the ranch and fired up the BBQ and rested for the next day.
Day three and we were back into hog heaven. We put Bob on stand and Vince and I went into two different areas to try and stalk in on some more pigs. I found that spot and stalk was more fun and profitable than sitting on the stands. Vince had several opportunities and was able to stalk into range but proved to not be able to get a shot off in time. Like I had mentioned before, these little buggers are fast. What I didn’t note is that they never quit moving. To get a wild boar to stop is like telling a 2 year old they can’t play with their own toys. It just isn’t going to happen.
Vince was frustrated by not getting another shot, but still had a good time stalking the swine. Bob didn’t have much luck either, the educated critters noticed him in the stand and would not come all the way in for a shot. I was able to put a stalk on another set of hogs and had the opportunity to shoot. After 16 different pigs had crossed my path at under 40 yards I had a nice wild boar come out of the thorn brush at a mere 27 yards. That was mistake number one. I was already at full draw and when the grey, hairy beast cleared the thorn brush and cactus, he stopped.
Hog number 2, mistake number 2 and he didn’t go far after my arrow went through.
That was mistake number two as my pin was already tucked tightly behind his shoulder a touch low. I sent the arrow away watching it bury into his chest and exit stage right. As fast as he entered the opening he was gone along with every other hoofed creature within range of the loud squeal. I walked up to the point where he was standing when I shot and found instant blood trail. I decided to find my arrow first before trying to approach the blood trail. When I found my arrow, I looked down the sendero another 25 yards and there lay my second wild hog.
We traveled back to Northern Idaho and the cooler weather with good video, great memories and a plan to return to go hog wild another year. I would recommend a hog hunt to anyone looking for an awesome off season hunting trip. Most southern states offer some kind of wild boar hunting and with a little research you can find a very affordable outfitter to hunt with.