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Years ago I tried to set up a pig hunt in Texas. I called around and checked what was a very new thing, called the internet. I found a place that sounded good. It seemed like a good deal. I called and talked to the guy at the other end of the phone number listed. I liked what I heard. His answers to my questions were what I wanted to hear.

A few days later, I was talking to a friend about the hunt and he said he wanted to go. It kind of grew from there. I called the guy back and asked about how large a group he could handle. 21 was the answer! After just a short time we had gathered a group of like-minded hunters and had sent our money for the trip. It had happened quite quickly. In three months we would be in Texas hunting wild pigs.

I had always heard how everything in Texas was big. I had visions of hunting on thousands of acres of land searching for a wild pig to shoot. The ranch had to be big, right? We were going with 21 hunters. A place large enough to handle a group like that must be big. Sometime during the first couple of weeks after booking the hunt, I noticed a change on the website of the "ranch" we were headed for.

The answer to my question over the phone from Texas was 234 acres. And yes, it was high fenced and pigs were trapped in other places and turned loose within the confines of the ranch. That was totally different than what had first been implied. That was no different than going to the local butcher shop and shooting pigs in the pens outside the slaughter house. And with 21 hunters in that small of a place, it would have been very dangerous. Where would the clear shot have been?

I talked to the group and we all agreed to cancel the trip. It was not the hunt we had been led to believe it was. Most of us never got our money back, and that really soured me on Texas hunting in general. The worst of it is, that guy and others like him are still out there. This particular guy, is one of the first ones to come up on Google if you type in "Texas Hog Hunting". When "Free Texas Hog hunting" is at the lead of the ad you click on, run the other way. That is unless you don't mind hunting on a postage stamp.

What do you need to look for when searching for a place to hunt pigs? Recently my desire to go to Texas on a pig hunt had come back. But the sour taste in my mouth was still there. Words like "trophy fees" and "limits" can give you the idea that each pig has been paid for and thus a limit on what you shoot and a trophy fee is charged. I had no desire to hunt the butcher's pen!

You really had to dig deep to find out how big a place you would be hunting also. Most times it is not advertised. Sometimes it is and is a dead giveaway. I found hunts offered on as little as 80 acres where the hunters hunted at different times of day. Pigs were released for each hunter and the hunt was over once the pig was shot. How can that be fun? How is that sporting at all?

I hunted some property in California years ago and it was around 5000 acres. I figured that was a good goal for me to find for our Texas pig hunt. Lots of calls and searching finally paid off, and I had a place I thought would be what we were looking for. Deposit checks were sent and preparations were made. I have to say I felt some trepidation sending the check.

We picked a time of year (spring break) so my daughter could go, even though it was not the ideal time of year to hunt pigs. Pigs don't like the heat and move less during the day when it is hot. Our outfitter said that we would mostly be hunting in the dark from stands. He mentioned a brand of light that they use for their guns and I began looking into something I had no idea about.

"Wicked Lights" began to stand out during my search. If for no other reason than they had some great videos out there. If it could be shot at night, there was a Wicked Light video showing it being done. There are many other lights out there for a cheaper price, but in the end we ordered 4 "Predator Pursuit" kits from AllPredatorsCalls.com. It was a chunk of change, but the quality of the product received was worth it.





Daughters .243 ready to go!



My daughter and I showed up at the gun club late on a Sunday evening hoping no one would be there so we could try out the lights. As luck would have it there was a couple there shooting a new to them rifle. Luckily they were just about finished. For us to shoot with the lights off, there had to be no one else there. It's a safety thing. As it turned out the Gun Club Board were having a meeting and that broke up just as I turned out the lights. They were very interested in what we were doing, so we had an audience.

The lights are adjustable for windage and elevation. That took a bit of time to get that corrected on both our rifles. Then it was time to shoot. Since most of our shooting would be in the 50 to 75rd range we tried that first. No problem seeing the target through the scope. The lights could be focused to a large area illuminator or a fine spot for longer shots. Soon there was paper with some well-placed holes in it. So it was time for my daughter's favorite thing to shoot. Time to ring the gongs!

The gongs are set at 197 yards. The ringing hit on each is met with a smile on the shooters face. I have to admit, ringing the gongs is my favorite thing to do also. It was impressive how bright the lights were at that yardage. Easily enough to identify a target whether using green or red LED inserts. With the white light inserted, the warning in the instructions was clearly understood. "Do not shine this light into someone's eyes nor look into the lens while lit." Wow!

The lights can be easily moved from rifle to rifle with the attachment of a small "rail" piece on each rifles scope you might what to use. The lights do have a bit of movement after being mounted, and I was a bit disappointed in this, but in the end it really did not matter when it came time to shoot. It's a great product and I need to be checking the regs and see if some night time varmint hunting is in order, around here.

We arrived in Texas with enough ammo and rifles to put Santana back in his grave if he had risen and tried to take the state back for Mexico. It had been a long drive to Texas, and after Christian, our outfitter showed us some close stands we could climb into, we chose rather to call it a night and get some sleep.

Being old makes you vulnerable to some things the young can avoid. Christian had warned us, that with this warmer weather, the rattlesnakes were out. They had killed 4 the day before. He warned us to pay particular attention when going out in the night time to use the restroom. Well my daughter could wait till morning, but those of us with a few more years on us had to make our way through the ravenous hordes of slithering fanged ones to relieve ourselves. As it turned out we did not see a rattler during our time there.

This is a semi guided hunt and thus Christian showed us the blinds we would be hunting. He made some recommendations but in the end it was our choice. I figured my daughter and I were going to sit in the same stand. She's just 15 and I was sure she would not want to be in the stand all night long by herself. I was wrong. That first night, no one was prepared for how cold it would get. It's hard to stay in a stand when you are freezing.

My daughter was in a stand closest to camp. We used cell phones to text with so as to keep in communication. Efficient and quiet. Around 1 or 2am she texted she was walking back because she was getting cold. I feared for myself, if something happened to her on the way back. The wife would kill me. First, she flew alone on a plane for the first time, switching planes and now she is walking back to camp in the dark, where all manner of critters were aligned to do her harm. I texted back it might be best to leave some details out of her daily chat with mom!

You lose all perspective when it is dark out. The feeders have small LED lights on them that are your only gauge of where the pigs will come in. The lights get brighter when something walks under them. That lets you know to look and shoot. After you stare at this light long enough, it will begin to dance around in the air. Your brain knows this could not be happening, but still the light will dance.

It really gets your attention when the light gets brighter. Your senses are heightened. Having never seen a pig under a light like this and having nothing to gauge the size of the critter, it is possible to mistake other creatures of the night as your prey. That first night, three of the other creatures met the pointy end of a bullet. I was glad I was not the only one to make this mistake. No pigs were harmed this first night.

The next day we visited another ranch of the four we could hunt and ran into four nice eating size pigs out during the day. They all died and we learned again how to butcher a pig. Sometimes you just have to be lucky. Not one of them was over 80lbs, but two of their hams are in a brine right now in my garage waiting to be smoked in a few days.





We got no real sleep this day because of taking care of the pigs and because it was really just too hot to sleep in the cabin. So we headed to Childress Texas and their WalMart to see if they had any thermal underwear. We did not find any and the next two nights we would just take our sleeping bags to the stands with us. We did however find a Sonic drive in and had some refreshments. Seems every town in Texas had a Sonic Drive Inn.



That night we were on the stands before the light faded. Normally 8pm. Right away my son had turkeys and deer at the feeder. Texting really worked well for this hunting and it was great that we had good service. Soon the word Bobcat came across my screen. But my son had forgot to load the gun and had pulled the trigger on a dry chamber. The cat heard that and turned towards the sound. At that close a range, the sound of jacking a shell into the rifle got the cat moving, and the following shot was unsure.

Raccoons were a frequent visitor to the feeders. Their eyes reflected the green light from the rifles right back, just as green. Their visits helped to keep us up during the long night. To sit in a stand at night like this for eight hours is not easy. Your friend in the stand was your phone, and the places you could visit within its digital world, helped keep you awake.

Around 4am we would leave the stands. I would stop at each stand and pick up its occupant. As the last hunter was gathered, a herd of pigs ran through the head lights. Out came the sleepy crew and guns were loaded. I had a great shot and took it before all were ready. From the sound of it, a solid hit for sure.

Did I mention it was dark outside? The green light from the rifles would wash out the color of blood. We searched the area as best we could. We found some fresh tracks but could not find any blood. All were tired and so we went back to the cabin for some sleep.

I am not sure if I slept at all. Either way it was less than two hours before I got up. I had never undressed before climbing in the sleeping bag. Only my boots had been taken off. The sun was still below the horizon as I came out the door. But it was daylight and time to go check on my shot. Dad followed me out the door, but there was no other stirring from within the cabin.

It was not far to where the shot had been taken. We found the dry cow patties, dad had left as a marker. We soon found the tracks where the pigs had jumped at the shot. But there was no blood. Then dad saw my pig lying there. He called me and I ran over. It looked to be still alive. But dad said he thought it was dead. I grabbed dad and was giving him a big bear hug when the pig stood up and charged towards us.

I screamed and spun dad to the side, almost throwing him. The pig turned at my yell and ran away. I ran back to the truck and grabbed my rifle. Dad kept track of the pig. It did not go far and soon I was back and shot it in the shoulder. The shot did not seem to phase it. Time to put this critter down. A shot to the head and it was done. This pig was much bigger than the other one.



Back to the cabin we went for some help to load the pig. We also had to look for the bobcat. My daughter declined coming with us when we arrived by not moving. So the four of us loaded the pig and headed for my sons blind to see if we could find the cat.

We found no blood at all. We fanned out in the cat's direction of travel when it was shot at. We circled and circled and found nothing. We spent some time looking but to no avail. Everyone was working their way back to the truck. I decided to take an odd looping track back to the truck. And then I saw it. "Davey, can you describe that cat you were shooting at?"

My dad first used that sentence some years ago when he found a deer or elk he had been looking for. It has been used since when an animal seemed lost but was found. I had been hoping I would find the cat and thus would be able to use the famous words!

The smile and look of relief on my sons face was thoroughly enjoyable. He had come with the hope of shooting a bobcat. He knew there was a trophy fee and knew what it was. He had been trying for years to get a cat, whether a bob or cougar. He had seen both at various times but this was the first to really give him a shot. It was a great moment.







We spent a portion of the morning that was left cutting up my pig. The cat was placed in a kill bag and put in the freezer in the cabin. My son and daughter left for town to get some ice cream. We played cards when they got back, and then it was time to crawl back in our blinds for another night of watching the dancing light. It seemed we had just got out of the blinds. Maybe only 4 hours at the most had been used to sleep since last we were in the blinds.

This night, there was activity at all the blinds. Deer, raccoons and others came along shortly after sundown. The green light of the rifles had no effect on the critters. I guess they just don't see it.

My feeder light came on again as I looked up from the phone. The light from the phone, even on its lowest setting, blinds you for a bit. It takes time for your eyes to adjust so that you can see into the darkness again. Slowly, as plain as day, the form of a pig was clearly seen eating corn under the feeder. I brought the rifle up and rested it on the windows ledge. I did not even turn on the rifles light because the light from the feeder illuminated the pig clearly. Bang!

The phone lit up with texts of "who shot?" The pig had run off in the direction it was facing. I had not heard the distinctive sound of a good hit. It was a close shot and I could not believe I had missed but there were no signs I had hit it. It was so dark and with minimal chance of seeing blood in the dark we again waited for morning light to look for my pig.

During this time my daughter was texting that she could hear pigs all around her blind. She was in a blind that was about 6 feet off the ground. She had heard them the night before also. This night though they were there a long time. They did not go to the feeder though. My daughter tried to open the side window to look down but it made a noise and the pigs were gone. They came back a bit later but because they were right below the blind she just could not see them.

When I picked her up, the ground around the blind was as though a tractor had plowed up the ground. It is amazing how well they had worked the ground. I can only imagine there was some fresh roots or some succulent tubers they were after. Whatever it was, was more desirable than the corn from the feeder.

When I had dropped my daughter off at her stand that evening, I was feeling malicious and texted these pictures to my wife with the caption, "Last Known Location of your daughter." It was not met with good humor!







Again, after only a couple of hours sleep we were out looking to see if I had hit my pig. Right away we found blood at the feeder. Obviously a good hit. It was not gushing blood but it was easy enough to follow. After about 60 yards, a red stain sticking out over the low lying brush could be seen.





The coyotes and bobcats had eaten most of my pig. There was a 30 yard circle where they had been dragging the pig around. We wondered if maybe a mountain lion may have been there, but could only find the tracks of bobcats and coyotes. They had left only the front shoulders intact. Likely had we been paying attention, we would have seen the critters scatter as we drove up. It was all that fresh.

Our Texas pig hunt was over. We had a 150 quart cooler full of meat. We had sampled the chops of one pig and knew what we had in the cooler was exceptionally good.



In fact I believe the best ever wild game I have eaten. The outfitter came by and picked up the cat for transport to Dallas and the Taxidermist. Hands were shaken and after a last look around camp we were off.

Lessons learned! Plan your hunt it January or February. Heat is not your friend when pig hunting. Listen to your outfitter. When it is hot you cannot sleep well and you get very little sleep. At such close quarters, shoot for the head. Don't leave the truck without a rifle in hand while looking for a wounded pig. Put the pigs down in their tracks. Don't share with the other wild critters in the area. Time spent in the wild with your friends and family is time well spent.

While there in camp we got to meet a guy that was turkey hunting. He is a friend of the outfitter and is in fact an outfitter himself from New Mexico. It was as though he had always been your friend. It is hard to describe, but it was very enjoyable meeting him and his son. Without reservation, if you are looking to hunt trophy elk in New Mexico, you could not do better than to go with Chris Lucero and hunt on his 82,000 acre ranch. Well at least he is the exclusive outfitter for the ranch. Take a look at Screaming bull outfitters online!

The meat has been processed and there was more there than I thought. The long drive and sleepless nights will long be remembered till we are able to again make our way south to Texas!



Homemade pork sausage frying in a pan. Good but would have been better with a bit more spices!



Some roasts off a hind leg!



Chops ready for the frying pan!
 

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I love it, thanks for posting.

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This is on my bucket list. One of many hunting trips yet to come.
 

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Super cool write up on the hunt. Sounds like you had a great time. Hopefully down the read I can do one of these hunts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This is a relatively cheap hunt if you have a couple of people to go with. If I lived in Southern Utah, this would be maybe a twice a year event. A few hours in a truck and you are there. With the price of fuel right now the cost is very reasonable.
 

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Good read. I have been to Texas twice and hunted wild feral hogs, South of San Antonio. We hunted them with bow and arrow both times. There used to be a place over by Price that had hog hunts as well. They were not fenced in and ran wild on a large open range ranch, but were more of a farm hog rather than a feral. Not the same as Texas, but still a good meat hunt. My wife wanted to try it, so she and I drove there one spring and she shot one with her bow and arrow as well. Hers went about 400 lbs. Good memories. She got so hyped up and full of adrenalin that after she shot the critter, while walking back to the truck, she ended up with a migraine. We were going to go again the next year, but Utah banned them. It has been a lot of years since I went to Texas and hunted, I would like to go again. We hunted feral hogs and javelin on archery only hunts.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
This is all low fence hunting. If you check the website for Lw Ranches it says, this is hunting not shooting. We hit it at the wrong time and thus did not get as many as we might have earlier in the year.
 
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