Trophy Wild Boar – Finally!
Since discovering hog hunting in November of 2014, it has quickly become a passion. I hunt as often as I can and learn as much as I can. I have come a long way from the levi-wearing .22-250 toting newbie I once was. Fast-forward to August 15, 2015 – Now equipped with a Tikka T3 Lite .243 Win with an ATN X-Sight day/night scope and a season’s worth of hunting knowledge, field experience and research, I finally bagged my trophy. And I mean, a trophy! I had taken boars before. I have a few 100lbers, a 150lber and I even got a 160lber at 4J Ranch in early August. But, nothing was close to the tusker I had been after for the last few months.
I chose to pursue this trophy in Bryson, Texas with Affordable Outfitters. I have found, after hunting over 10 times with them, that they have the best quality game in terms of size and challenge. These are Eurasian Wild Hogs. Free range – smart, mean and elusive. You have to have your shit together to even get a glimpse at them let alone a shot. Why is that such a big deal? Well, many “trophies” are taken in high-fence areas and in some cases, that makes it a touch easier. I’m not saying High-fences are bad, they just have their place in the challenge hierarchy. A mature, free-range boar is extremely smart and very hard to spot and kill. This particular hunt was not much different than any other up here with Affordable Outfitter. They had done great scouting and had put me up in a spot with a good chance at a pig. Not necessarily a trophy, but at least a pig for some meat. Trophy boars are few and far between and are inconsistent when they do show up in certain areas so it’s always a crap-shoot. But, there’s always a chance. So, here’s how it went down:
I was hunting Parker Ranch, Northeast of Jacksboro. I was in an octagon stand at a feeder in a field bordered by thickets. The feeder was about 70 yards away. Now, preparation for a hog hunt is the key to success. You spray down with scent blocker…then, you spray down again, and you keep spraying. I spray down every 30 minutes when hunting. You also cannot make any noise, whatsoever. Don’t bump the gun on the blind, drop your binos, slam a window or door, etc. Also, DO NOT use your cell phone. NO LIGHT. Nothing. Not a glare, not a flash, not a glow..nothing. Boars are incredibly smart and they know their environs.
I was in and all setup by 8pm. At 10pm a doe came in. I have a night vision monocular for spotting and I could could see her plain as day. She didn’t know I was there. About 10 minutes later, she got wind of or heard something she didn’t like, grunted and split. I knew right then and there that my chances of seeing a hog the rest of the night were very slim. Hogs listen to and interact with other animals and if a doe didn’t like something, the hogs ain’t coming around either. So, I sat and scanned…for the next 6.5 hours. Yes, a total of 8.5 hours of being a statue and scanning the same view over and over and over. Then, at 430am the doe came back. I watched her while she pranced around the feeder area…then she stopped and looked back away from me. That was odd. She seemed alarmed but didn’t run. I scanned a little more to the right and in the tall grass I saw two huge ears and two eyes. A Pig! With complete silence, I put down the monocular and pulled up my Tikka with the X-Sight. I powered it on, engaged the IR illuminator and watched as the deer postured to the pig. The pig advanced slowly. The deer finally had enough and trotted off. The pig turned back to my right and went back into the thicket. Hoping it would come back, I just stayed on the area where he disappeared. Finally, he came back. Very slowly. Sniffing the air….walking deliberately and moving his head back and forth. I knew it was a boar. He was alone and cautious. A ghost. He moved out of the thick and went in a wide circle towards the feeder. I knew he sensed something out of place and I needed to act. He turned broadside and was moving slowly from my right to left. I zoomed in, placed the cross hairs on his ear and squeezed. My .243 loaded with American Whitetail delivered. I didn’t know yet how big he was but that ear shot put him in the dirt. But, he was kicking. So I squeezed another .243 american whitetail off in his exposed chest (he fell with his ventral side facing me). He stopped kicking but I could here a loud clicking…like teeth gnashing. I had my S&W .40 cal on my hip so I headed out. I approached cautiously. As I got close I realized exactly what lay before me… he was HUGE. And he was gnashing his teeth at me. Huge cutters smacking against his grinders. I walked over and put a round right behind his skull with my .40. The gnashing slowed, but didn’t stop. I then put a round at a 45 degree angle behind his shoulder as to get behind his cartilage plate to the heart/lung area. He finally stopped. I then stepped back to look at the monster.
When all was said and done, he was 350lbs, had almost 4” cutters and was in perfect condition – no teeth missing or broke. He was Eurasian, of Russian descent, and a true trophy. We loaded him with a hitch winch and hauled him to the cleaning facility near my cabin. It took 3 hours to butcher him. All the meat is being donated and I caped him and he is now with the taxidermist waiting to be prepared to permanently gnash at me from my office wall.
I once again will mention Affordable Outfitters in Bryson, TX. This boar wouldn’t have been possible without the excellence and dedication in their operation. From the lodging, to the guides to the game and the facilities, this place is the best. Don’t come up here expecting to just get into a herd of hogs – be prepared to work – be quiet, do what they say, don’t use your phone, spray down and be PATIENT! They will give you the best ooportunity for a shot but you own the rest of that equation. If you want the best and most challenging game in a proud, family-run operation that works hard for you, check them out.