Saturday, May 10, 2008

West Texas pig hunting

Spent the week hunting feral hogs on a deer lease ranch in west Texas near the town of Rocksprings. I love west Texas, and west Texans.

The people in the small towns of west Texas, like Rocksprings and Junction, are genuine and sincere, and unfailingly friendly and courteous. I was raised, in South Africa, to be polite, to say “please” and “thank you”, to refer to adults and strangers as “sir” and “madam”. Living in the “modern world” (such as it is) such courtesy is not emphasized and it seems one who practices such courtesy is regarded as some kind of throwback. Interacting with folks in west Texas reminded me of my upbringing, and I was transferred back to the place of my upbringing. I almost didn’t want to come back home.

Being so far away from the centers of "civilizations" with no major airline flight paths over the region (I didn't hear a single commercial jet fly overhead for the three days I was there), and with nothing to listen to at night but the wind, the song of the Whippoorwills and one's heart beat, and with nothing to look at but the lightning bugs and the bright stars overhead, must addle peoples' minds. [Note: If it's not obvious, I'm being facetious here] At a hamburger restaurant in Rocksprings, a budding poet placed the following sign on the wall [or something to that effect; I'm going from memory]

This is not a fast food restaurant. We go to great lengths to serve you the best food. If it arrives quickly, that is a bonus but not a priority. You are now south of the tension line. So sit, relax, stay a while and allow us to prepare your meal in the best possible way we can.

Ah ... nothing to listen to at night but the wind, the song of the Whippoorwills and one's heart beat, and with nothing to look at but the lightning bugs and the bright stars overhead. Sitting in a deer blind at 5am, waiting for the sun to rise, the tensions of my rat-race existence seemed distant and unimportant; the priorities of the “modern world” dropped WAY DOWN the stack. I haven’t slept so well in a long time ..... yes, in the deer blinds even.

And then the sun comes up.

There are Whitetail deer, Axis deer, Aoudads, turkeys and of course lots of feral pigs. All these animals passed by the blinds I was sitting in, but I wasn't interesting in hunting them. I was intent on shooting pigs only.

A small herd of Axis deer: a large buck, a young buck, two does and two fawn.

A troika of Whitetail deer.

But, when you're not hunting deer, at least one can take pictures of them through one's gun sights.

125yds ... could place the shot pretty much anywhere I choose.

From inside the bunker, looking out over the DMZ.

But eventually, patience pays off and the "target" passes by in front of one's blind. In this case a a red pig, weighing about 120lbs, passed by the feeder about 225yds from the blind I was sitting in. A single shot right through the shoulders dropped him like a rock. Nice clean entry but a nasty looking exit wound. The 200gr Sierra HPBT bullet must have tumbled.

On one of the days I was there, another piggy, a 150 pounder, was trapped in the ranch's hog trap, a huge fenced area about 30’x100’. It was my “job” to finish him off, to climb into the pen and face him off manno-a-manno. Two go in, one comes out. One has to admire the “never give up” attitude of the feral hog. He charged me. He was gonna knock me on my ass and run back out through the gate. One 240gr Hornady XTP/HP bullet from a Freedom Arms mod. 83 right between the eyes dropped him right in front of me. The poor guy had a tick attached to his eyelid.

Though clearly dead, since the bullet passed through the pig's head, the pig continued to twitched and jerk. I shot it again to the side of head, taking most of its face off. One has to respect the power of a 240gr XTP/HP bullet travelling at close to 1900fps.

I saved the piggy's tusks, each about 4" long. Thinking about it later, things could have turned out quite badly had I missed the pig and he hit me. The tusks could have ripped into my leg, leading to obvious bacterial infection and god knows what kind of other piggy AIDS in the pig's blood. I guess I didn't think about the possible consequences of missing the pig, because I wasn't planning to miss.

Am I embarrassed to say I love hunting and killing pigs? Uhhh ..... nope. It's a thrill.

Return airplane ticket to Austin, TX: $235
Two meat BBQ plate at Buster's BBQ in Austin: $9.35
Watching one of your hunting buddies chasing after a racoon with a .45, emptying the magazine in the process: priceless.

And, no, I didn't bring any of the piggy meat back with me. However, west Texas buzzards are eating well this week.

1 comment:

Weetabix said...

My goodness, but you've got me thinking. That sounds great. I haven't been that far from civilization in much too long.

Do feral hogs taste good?