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Reader Reports

Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Oct 26, 2012

WONews READER REPORTS



Reader Report by Matthew Davini, Danville

SONOMA — For the past few years I have hunted up and down the state of California on public lands for wild hogs, backpacking for miles and miles with high hopes of finding this dangerous menace that I always seem to be just one step behind.

On the Morning of Oct. 16 at 4.am. I met up with Jim Smith, owner and guide of “First Choice Outfitters” and right away we started viewing one of Jim’s properties with arial photos and maps of beautiful Sonoma California that he provided for this hunt.

Once we established the area that I thought I would like to leave a foot print in, we packed my 86 Jimmy and headed out. As we slowly approached Jim’s property I knew right away that this was going to be an exciting hunt because there were hogs running everywhere!

At this point, I had already seen more pigs on the drive in than I had seen in three years combined on public lands. Sad but true. 

When we parked the truck and started to get our gear together, we realized it was later in the hour than we wanted it to be and we needed to move quick before the hogs started to back towards their beds. As we approached the top of the ridge line, I could hear hogs everywhere as they rooted up the ground and even fought one another. The air was perfect, cool and crisp, the acorns were plentiful and falling as often as we took a step and the night before the moon was hardly even illuminated, it was no wonder we saw and heard as much activity as we had. The cool mist from the night before and early morning helped mask the sound of our boots walking through the dried up leaves as we stalked our first herd of hogs that we glassed out on our first attempt to spot.  

Once we got about 50 yards from where we first spotted the herd, we thought it would be a good idea to hold up for a moment on the hillside to knock our arrows, catch our breath, and put together a plan of attack. Everything was perfect and with the wind in our face we made our move like two swat team members crouching as we quickly moved in behind the closest oak tree for cover. As we looked around from behind the tree, we noticed that the herd had moved down the backside of the hilltop to the bottom and were slowly making their way to their beds.

Once again another plan of approach was in the making.

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We had discussed at this point based on the direction of the wind and the shape of this half bowl hillside that our best option would be to split up and use the wind to our advantage. So I took off along the top of the ridge line as Jim sat and glassed out the far side of the bowl watching to see if any of the hogs were to slip out the back. Finally I got to the location we discussed and then I dropped in. As Jim and I now faced one another somewhere around 150 yards away, we were now closing in on about 50 hogs. Epic!  

Our game plan was to be on opposite ends of this half bowl, drop in together and have the wind carry Jim’s scent into this forest of Oaks and Furs and move the hog in my direction just to my right. I hear the hogs everywhere as I work my way into the trees slowly walking the highways that these Feral Hogs have made over the years. There are fresh signs of hogs just about every 5 yards or so and the smell of the swine in the air is getting thick. I know I’m getting close.

Two hours pass but nothing has come into sight so I start to make my way back to Jim working the mid line of the hillside few steps at a time.

Not too long after making my way back I heard a lot of noise in the fallen leaves directly ahead of me and sure enough about 30 yards out popped a boar and he was on the move. Viciously grunting as he made his way up the hillside on a trail that wrapped around to my left.

I took my range finder out and put it about 30 yards ahead of the hog and it read 23 yards, so I drew back my bow with my 20 yard pin on him and followed him until he got to the point I ranged! What seemed like 20 minutes for him to finally get there I let that arrow fly.

Watching my illuminated bright red nock reach my target there was not a sound in the air until the wild boar got hit and turned straight towards me with a head full of steam. Before I could even think, I naturally reacted and swung my bow across the boars head as hard as I could as he hit me like a freight train. The boar knocked me off my feet and straight to the ground. I remember thinking cover your head and don’t put your hands and fingers out there.

As I rolled to get away, I managed to hop up on my feet and pull my Bowie Knife out ready for the fight of my life. Once I spotted the boar, which was only 10 feet from me, I  realized after a brief moment that his threats of grunting and slamming his jaw shut was only intimidation, the 300-pound boar was hurt and hurt bad. I saw this as the perfect time to slowly drop back and gather my thoughts, as well as, check for any severe wounds.

I got about 50 yards back and checked for any wounds that might need attention. Right away I felt my left calf aching and saw that my pants were ripped and was clearly hit by the boars tusk. But my leg didn’t look like it needed stitches just a nice 6-inch slash that didn’t go very deep.  My right inner thigh also took a nice shot from the other tusk but was clearly nothing to worry about.  After some water and a thorough body check, I was now ready to finish this hog and start tracking him down with Jim.
 
After leading Jim back down to the approximate area of my encounter with this beast, we found one of the arrows that fell out of my quiver when I hit the boar with my bow. Instantly Jim spotted blood and the tracking was on. Jim hopped on that hogs trail like a bird dog on a pheasant, and shortly after we began tracking him down there the hog was grunting and slapping his jaws still threatening and showing his dominance. We both knew this wild boar needed one more arrow for a humane and respectful way to put this big boy down. Jim looked at me and said, “do you mind if I put one in him,” I replied absolutely not and at 55 yards Jim pulled back and put the final arrow through the 300 pounder, the beast was down!  

As we sat on the hillside looking at the animal that could have easily made that the last day I ever saw my family, all the emotions hit me at once and a smile of excitement and exhaustion hung out on my face for a long time. My first wild hog and with a bow, “WOW” I thought to myself, what a hunt and boy do I have a great story to tell when I get back home.


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