Last week I talked about hog hunting on the 24 Outfitter Ranch. Wednesday morning, we woke up and took off for North of Abilene to meet up with an old buddy Junior Walker and hog hunt with him. When we got there, we also met Ryan Long, a buddy of Juniors that has a website called thewaywehunt.com. Ryan and his wife do some YouTubes on hunting, how to cook what you shoot, etc. and I look forward to doing some stuff with him as soon as I can get free for a few minutes.
On these two hunts I was hunting with an open sight Henrys USA 45-70. With my shooting abilities that limited me to 200 yards or less. I’m old school so I just couldn’t bring myself to mount a scope on my lever action. It just seems sacrilegious or something.
But six years ago, I did put on Skinner sights which I’d recommend on your lever actions instead of the old buckhorn sights. I find it a lot easier to hit smaller targets and get better groups with the Skinner sights.
This hunt was sponsored by Henrys USA who makes the best lever actions in America and using their 45-70 shooting Hornady LEVERevolution ammo. And Knives of Alaska/Diamond Blades, the premier knife companies in America. I was using the Diamond Blade Surge, The Pinnacle II and the Knives of Alaska Boar Magnum knife.
While stalking some hogs, Ryan stepped over a coiled-up rattlesnake. That will wake you up. I pinned him down with my shooting sticks and cut his head off (the snake, not Ryan). The Magnum Boar hunter may have been made to stick hogs but it would also be a good snake knife. I didn’t measure him but he was probably pushing 3½ feet long.
I left 60-degree Idaho and was met by a blistering 107-degree wall in Texas. At first we set in good passage ways until dark but due to the heat Junior said the hogs probably wouldn’t be moving until 2 a.m., which was indeed the case.
If I had of mounted on a scope, I could have had another 20 minutes of hunting at dark and of course with night vision gear we could of hunted in the dark. Next time I’m going to get some night vision gear. That’s the No. 1 way to hog hunt anymore.
We were seeing hogs at daylight feeding and moving back to their bedding grounds so we decided the best method of hunting would be to drive around until we saw a sounder of hogs and then try to sneak in on them. Spotting/Stalking is a whole lot more fun than setting in a blind anyway and we’d usually stumble on four groups every morning hunting like this.
One morning we saw a sounder of hogs a few hundred yards away feeding. Ryan and I took off after them. They went down into a drainage behind a stock pond into some thick mesquite brush. The wind was perfect so we moved along slow until we came upon them.
I excitedly popped out my shooting sticks and got ready. The hog I saw was about 90 pounds which would be great eating. It was back in the brush and covered by tall grass. I waited a few minutes for it to turn broadside and then touched one off. I can’t remember now but it was something like 50-70 yards, so plenty close. But … I missed.
The next morning we saw some hogs running through the brush when we stopped to open a gate. Junior and I took off after them. We got into the thicker mesquite and Junior motioned that we needed to head up the rise. We didn’t go very far and saw two hogs feeding ahead of us. One started feeding towards us. When it came out from behind a small mesquite bush, I squeezed the trigger. It let out a squeal and took off.
Like I stated earlier I love Skinner sights on my lever actions but when trying to take running shots I’d like to have on a buckhorn sight. The Skinner sight is a peep sight so it’s hard to get a running shot.
I couldn’t believe that I’d missed the first hog but later after the hunt I looked down and noticed that my peep sight had been knocked sideways and was canted out of whack. Uggh, no wonder I’d missed.
I flew home from the hunt and had to fly out again right away but I flew home again this past Friday. My youngest little princess is getting married this week but sometime this week between the festivities I’m going to sneak out on the high desert and shoot my 45-70 and see how far off it is.
To be honest, I think the rotten little porkers slipped in at night while we were sleeping and tweaked my sight. They’re devious little creatures you know!
We’re out of room but sometime I want to write an article about all of the cool night vision gear that Junior and Ryan have. It’s amazing what is on the market now.
Tom Claycomb lives in Idaho and has outdoors columns in newspapers in Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Colorado and Louisiana. He also writes for various outdoors magazines and teaches outdoors seminars at stores like Cabela’s, Sportsman’s Warehouse and Bass Pro Shop. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.