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Monday, July 12, 2010


Bow Hunting Hogs Texas Style

In spite of potential mid-day heat, visiting Escondido Ranch can be very refreshing, as you hang out in the river for most of the day and hunt early in the morning and later in the evening. On this trip we were anxious to bow hunt feral hogs. We had been talking about reducing the feral hog population with our bows for several weeks. I was getting very excited and anxious to start the afternoon hog hunt as I practiced shooting my bow.

After discussing strategy as to which area of the ranch we would target for hog hunting, it was decided that we would seek out the feral hogs at a ground blind at the top of the ranch.

That evening, Tony and I slowly approached the blind and eased around the brush to get a glimpse at the feeder. Sure enough, a large herd of Aoudad were at the feeder. Excited, we started glassing the field to see if one of the big trophy males was in the area. We saw several animals in the 25 plus inch range, but the large trophy size male Aoudad were not to be seen.

As I eased into the ground blind, the Aoudad moved on and vanished into the brush. I settled in and waited. It did not take long for an Aoudad to move towards the feeder followed by the rest of the herd. Within about 10 minutes of grazing, the entire herd lay down about 25 yards from the blind.

As the evening progressed, the Aoudad moved on into the canyon. I sat and watched the sun going down over the hill as the cedars faded into gray. I was beginning to think that the hunt was over, when a large feral hog emerged from the shadows and trotted towards the feeder.

I ranged him at about 35 yards, pulled back and released my first arrow ever at a live animal… Alas, the arrow sailed over the hog’s back. But, I was not upset. In spite of the miss, it was awesome to have the opportunity. It was so intense!

I was gathering my thoughts and trying to come down from the rush, when the same feral hog came back for a second glance at the feeder. With a renewed sense of purpose, I snuck out of the blind and stalked to within 20 yards of the animal. My first thought was to put down the bow and shoot the hog with my pistol, but the rush of a potential bow kill was too intense. I drew back, placed the pin on the hog’s vitals and released the second arrow. Oops, and another miss! Sigh… The shadows grew long and there would be no more opportunities that evening. It was time to pack up.

The next day, we strategized about the best place to video my next feral boar hunt attempt. We chose an elevated tree stand which could situate two hunters. Tony was on the camera and I was the shooter. Within 30 minutes, Tony spotted a feral hog making his way from the canyon. Although, I was unable to see him, Tony whispered that it was a large feral boar. Tony is simply good at identifying the sex of many animals. Must be all those years spent on a farm.

The hog wandered within 20 yards of the stand. Before Tony, even had a chance to tell me to shoot, I was already drawn and I released the arrow. The arrow hit the boar just behind the ear. The animal fell straight down and expired immediately. Needless to say, we were excited. I was thrilled to have my first kill with a bow. And as an added bonus, we got it all on VIDEO. Sweet!

As we were taking pictures of the harvested feral hog, we received a call that there were more feral hogs by a river blind. Tony and I quickly loaded the black feral boar in the back of the truck and headed down to the river. Determined to harvest another feral hog, we probably set a record for the amount of time it took us to get to the other side of the ranch.

We parked a couple of hundred yards away, jumped out and began our stalk. It was getting dark, but the fading light was on our side. It would be much harder for the feral hogs to see us with the sun at our backs. We made a successful stalk into the wind. As we emerged on the edge of the brush we noticed a much bigger problem. We had two bull elk in velvet and a trophy axis mixed in with the feral hogs. We had to wait.

Tony made sure we had a clear shot before giving me the go ahead. The arrow quivered through the air, and as on the day before, right over the feral hog, skipping and sparking along the rocks. The hogs jolted away from the feeder. But since we did not expose ourselves, the feral hogs saw no immediate danger and re-approached the feeder. By that time, I already had another arrow drawn. Tony gave me the distance and the arrow cruised straight into the hog. It fled into the brush with the rest of the animals.

Another fist pump and a few high fives we were two for three with a bow that night, new Escondido Ranch record for bow kills in one evening! We retrieved the hog and made our way to the cleaning station. We took a few pictures and arrived at the main house for a few cocktails and a delicious dinner.

A special thanks to the Wiseman Family for another successful hunting weekend!

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