Springtime in Idaho is magical. We have a flurry of outdoor activities. Bear hunting, turkey hunting, mushroom hunting, crappie fishing and, last but not least, whistle pig hunting! I love whistle pig hunting.
How can you not? It’s a low-key hunt, there’s a ton of shooting, and it’s a great hunt to start kids on. The last few years, I’ve written articles on the top three whistle pig guns and titled it “The whistle pig trifecta."
I’ve been swamped this year with seminars and articles and have not gotten to whistle pig hunt as much as normal. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve gotten out, just not as much as I want. Now, I leave for Texas to hog hunt with a Caracal .300 Blk., Riton Optics scope, Puma SGB knives and Roxor quads. In the spring, even with extended daylight, there are still just not enough hours in the day.
But back to the trifecta. What is it when you have five guns instead of three? Is it a five-fecta? So with that, here are my top five guns I’ll be using this spring.
Don’t discount airguns as a good choice. They’re quieter, so whistle pigs pop back up faster, and they’re safer because they don’t skip across the prairies like others might. I use a .22 cal. as opposed to a .17 because they have better killing power. You’ll want to use high-quality pellets to obtain maximum accuracy. I’ve had good luck with their Premier Ultra Magnum Hunting Pellets and hit one last week at 66 yards. My Marauder is my most accurate airgun.
Hands down the 10/22 is the most popular .22. No doubt in part because of the amount of after-market accessories available. I put a Boyd’s stock, Brownell’s bull barrel and a Timney trigger on mine (the only original part is the action). You’ll want to carry at least two 25-shot clips because when the shooting is hot and heavy it will feel like you’re only carrying five-shot clips.
This spring, I’ve been testing Federal Champion ammo and getting 1/2- to 3/4-inch groups, but with the CCI Mini-Mag .22 LR SHP ammo, I got a .15-inch five-shot group recently. That is as good as I get with Eley ammo, which costs five times more.
HENRY LEVER ACTION .22 WMR
How can you not love a Henry .22 Magnum? Forever I’ve wanted a lever action .22 since jack rabbit hunting with a buddy who had one 40 years ago on the deserts by El Paso. But I’ve also wanted a .22 Magnum, so I opted instead for a .22 Magnum instead. In a pinch, I can even shoot hogs with it.
I’m using Federal 50-grain Champion ammo. I haven’t shot open sight in 100 years, so any inaccuracies are because of my lack of skills, but surprisingly with the Skinner sight that it came with I am getting some good groups and it’s performing great on whistle pigs.
Ever since the .17 HMR was introduced at the SHOT Show a few years ago, it has been a barn burner.
So for this spring I’m throwing in the Mossberg M817. Because I was going to be shooting small targets, I mounted on a Riton Optics 6-24x50 Scope. It is an awesome scope. It’s an adjustable objective scope, which is great because I’ll be shooting from 10 feet out to 150 yards.
For hunting this spring, I’m shooting CCI A17 Varmint Tip ammo. In case you wonder why people love the .17 HMR, CCI ammo zips along at 2,650 feet per second with their 17-grain bullets. That’s smoking hot.
CARACAL CAR814 A2 PATROL .300 BLACKOUT
You may think a .300 Blackout is a bit of an overkill, but in case I run into any mutant whistle pigs, I’m ready! OK, truth be known I’ve got a loaner Caracal to test on a Texas hog hunt, and I thought it’d be fun to also test it out on whistle pigs. At the SHOT Show, I stopped by the Caracal booth and told them about the upcoming hog hunt and Jeffery persuaded me to check out his .300 Blk. I immediately fell in love with it. It is a sweet shooting little gun. With their 30-round clips, I am ready to send multiple hogs to hog heaven.
I will be hunting with Slow Glow so I should be getting 10- to 20-yard shots, so I mounted a Riton Optics 2-7x32 on it. I’m only shooting at 20 yards but am getting down to .2 groups (Kicking out a flier) using Nosler Ballistic Tip 125-grain BT ammo. This will also be fun to hunt whistle pigs with.
Well, enough writing. Whistle pigs are attacking school kids at bus stops. It’s time to go out and do our civic duty and protect them!