Texas hog hunting

Bill Olson, the publisher of “Texas Outdoors Journal” called me a while back and told me that he had a Texas hog hunt lined up for us and asked if I was in? Of course! We were soon lined up with two of my favorite outdoor companies — Henry Repeating Arms and Knives of Alaska. What’d be cooler than hunting hogs in Texas with a lever action? And then of course KOA makes the best outdoor knives on the market.

Bill was soon picking me up at DFW in Air Olson (his Ford pick-up) and off we went to 24 Outfitters in West Texas which specializes in providing dove hunts, sandhill crane hunts and also have a long-range shooting facility. We arrived there Monday afternoon and met owner Ryan Gardner and the ranch foreman and shooting coordinator/trainer John Joeris. We unloaded our gear and then hit the gun range to sight in our rifles.

Bill and I were going to be shooting Hornady LEVERevolution 325 gr. ammo in our Henrys 45-70s so we needed to get them sighted in. Bill also had to sight in a new rifle he’d just bought. John was a big help and taught me a lot about what it took to reach out to 1,200 yards. I knew wind can play havoc with your bullets but I didn’t realize how much it can out at 1,200 yards.

John also enlightened us as to some of the necessary gear that it takes to compete in the long-range competitive world. I don’t perceive that I will ever be in that world but it was good to learn so I can estimate the windage factor more accurately in my shorter-range hunting situations.

We then went out looking for hogs at dusk and found a few but couldn’t connect with any with our Henrys 45-70 since they were 350 yards out in a wheat field. I walked across the wheat field and hid while Bill hunted from the other side. All I saw was a coyote and a few deer. After dark we made it back to the lodge (which was originally Ryan’s grand folks house) and were greeted with the best barbecue brisket that I’ve ever had. Ryan can smoke a brisket. On top of hunting and shooting, I also learned some new barbecue tricks.

The next day we got up before daylight and went looking for hogs. That’s one good thing about hunting by the shooting range, the hogs were used to being around shooting. I hiked across the wheat field and set up again. After 20 minutes I thought I’d better step out a couple of feet and glass and see if I saw anything to spot/stalk. I eased out and to my right a coyote was trotting towards me working the brush line. He wasn’t 150 yards. Dang, if I’d of waited two to three more minutes he’d of walked right past me. That’d of made a cool picture with my Henrys Golden Boy.

After the morning hunt, we ran back up to the lodge and Ryan whipped out a big ranch breakfast. I definitely gained weight on this hunt. For sure, after you throw in the pies that John’s wife made. Her coconut cream pies were like my grandmom’s. I told her she needed to cook one or two more for me to finish determining if I approved of them.

Right after breakfast I saw a coyote trotting across the pasture in front of the lodge. Everyone scrambled and we surrounded the cattails by the pond where we figured he was hiding. We threw rocks into it and eventually I spotted his head coming out and took a quick shot with my Henrys but missed. He scattered.

When I left Boise, it was 60 degrees but it was over 100 there. That afternoon we hunted again but only saw a coyote and a couple of whitetails. That night Ryan spoiled us again but this time with the best smoked spare ribs you’ve ever had. They were awesome and we ate a whole chocolate cream pie that John’s wife had made. When I got home, I was definitely going to have to go into training to get back to my fighting weight!

The next morning we were heading north to meet up with Junior Walked for more hog hunting. I got up before daylight and hiked across the wheat field again to try to intercept some hogs as they migrated to their slumber party. I walked across the big wheat field where we’d seen our first sounder of pigs. It seemed the pigs would head west at night to feed and wallow in the stock ponds and then head back east at daylight to lay in the brush all day. I was trying to intercept them as they moved back to their daytime shelter.

I saw one hog before I hiked over but that was it. But there were two coyotes and about 30 huge buzzards eating on a dead hog out in the wheat field.

I hunted a few hours and then ran back to the lodge to head out. We said our goodbyes to John and Ryan and hit the hot and dusty trail up north.

Tune in next week for Round Two with the pigs.

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 smileya7@aol.com.

Post Author: By Tom Claycomb

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