Deer and most big game seasons may be over for the current season throughout much of North America, but not everywhere! Some seasons such as our MLDP (Managed Land Deer Program) properties in Texas can hunt whitetails through the end of February. But if you are not able to hunt such exceptions…fear not! Wild hogs populate many states these days, and hog hunting possibilities are ever-increasing, especially during the cooler times of the year. In other words, “NOW”!
Growing up in the country many years ago when cooler weather arrived during the fall and early winter, it was hog butchering time. Hogs that had been fattened starting in the spring were finally ready to be turned into sausage, ham, bacon and lard. We did all our own curing, smoking and rendering. As a youngster, my job was to help with the scraping, the removal of hair from the hog. This was accomplished by pouring scalding hot water on the extant hog, then using a “butcher knife,” scrape off all the air for the skin for the most part remained intact on what would become bacon and ham.
When I was young, we often butchered hogs that weighed as much as 800 pounds. These were dispatched by a carefully placed brain shot using .22 Short ammo at very close range. That said, I often get tickled when asked about what magnum rounds I used to take some of my biggest or heaviest hogs. Of course, there is a lot of difference between putting down the farm’s fattened pork and wild hogs.
Over the past many years I have taken and also weighed a lot of wild hogs, many of which were reputedly over 300 pounds. Interestingly, when most of those “300-pounders” were put on scales….they weighed 185 pounds. I did a few years ago shoot a legitimate 300-pound boar while hunting in the Red River bottoms, on the Texas side of the river. It was late evening, legal whitetail shooting time was over when I walked into a cut grain field. About 250-yards away I could see a big wild boar, heading right toward me. I quickly again loaded my .270 Win with Hornady 130-grain Soft Points, propped the Ruger on shooting sticks, at the time Trijicon’s AccuPoint was not yet being made, surely would have been nice to have such a quality light-gathering, “point of light” optic. Now many years later that .270 along with several of my other serious hunting rifles wear Trijicon AccuPoints!
I knelt on my knees to essentially be on the same shooting level as the big boar, waited until the boar was about a hundred yards distant, centered the scope on the oncoming hog’s chest, then pulled the trigger. The big hog shuddered but kept coming. I quickly bolted in another round and sent another Hornady bullet into the now fast-coming boar. Again he shuddered, slowed a bit and I shot him a third time, after which he went down only about thirty yards away.
I refreshed the three rounds in the bolt action’s magazine, chambered another, then started walking toward the downed boar.
Walking toward the boar he appeared to be down and out! When I got to within about ten steps from the boar in one smooth motion he was on his feet and charging me. I quickly raised the rifle to shoulder, pointed it at the fast-approaching boar, actually holding well in front of him and fired. At the shot the boar staggered, slowed a bit, giving me time to bolt in a fresh round. But he came fast. My next shot, the boar was only four feet from the end of the muzzle. The Hornady bullet struck the large-bodied hog between and just above his eyes. His lower chin dropped on the toe of my left foot.
Exciting! I pulled my foot out from under his chin, stepped to my right and put another round into him, this time into his left ear.
Later that night at a local deer camp we weighed my boar, 327-pounds. One of the biggest and obviously most tenacious boars I have ever taken. As big as he was, complete with 3-inches of lower tusks showing, a thick cartilaginous shield protecting his shoulders and rib cage, he had no strong boar odor and his meat was tender and succulent!
Not all wild hogs provide quite that kind of adventure, but the potential is always there.
Winter temperatures are here. I really think it is “hoggin’ time”! Don’t you!
Wild hogs (wild pig, wild boar, feral swine etc.) have been reported in at least 35 states. Their population is estimated at over 6 million and is rapidly expanding. Range expansion over the last few decades is due to a variety of factors including their adaptability to a variety of climates and conditions, translocation by humans, and a lack of natural predators. Read more about the History of Wild Hogs in the Americas on this USDA page.
Regardless of what is going on in the world, there are always small things, of beauty and splendor, for us to enjoy, admire and appreciate!
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