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February 2001

California Hog Hunt

Antelope Valley Hunting Club

I set my alarm for just before 4 AM on Sat morning. I ran into scattered showers when I headed down the freeway. The traffic was very light as took the 505 and headed north. Thoughts were going through my mind. I'm used to waking up in a tent or loading onto a floatplane on the way for a hunt, not driving down the freeway!

It had rained hard on Friday. I could see the full moon through the broken clouds as I headed north. After about an Hours drive I pulled into the gas station at Williams where I had arranged to meet the guide. He was on time. I loaded my gear into his rig and we headed toward Maxwell and out a country road to the west followed by his Asst. Guide and their 2 young sons. We had 4 wheelers in tow. Because of the recent rains we would need them. It was not long before we were signing the hunt contract and loading up on the ATV's in the morning twilight. We rode up a valley and decided to try the ridge to the east. We worked our way up the steep ridge to the ridgeline. We headed along the ridgeline on the old cat trail / road. Soon we cut fresh tracks. A large bore probably. And then a well-worn trail with fresh sign of many hogs heading down into the north slope draws. The fog started to form as the morning was breaking. We stopped and glassed the surrounding areas below us. The fog got worse cutting our visibility. It finally cleared into a partly cloudy day around 9 AM. We couldn't spot any pigs as we glassed from high points along the ridgeline.

After a while we decided to go across the valley and give the north slope of the west ridge a try. Once again we cut fresh as we climbed toward the top on the ATV's. It had become a very nice partly cloudy day in the low 50's. We stopped for a lunch break and discussed the afternoon plan. The Asst. guide and the boys would take the 4 wheelers back down to the bottom and John and I would hike along the ridgeline and at some point drop off toward the bottom. There was a lot of fresh sign as we worked or way along the ridge. We worked our way to a hog wallow that John knows of on the ridge. The wallows were freshly used and the trails leading down into the thick Manzanita brush were absolutely trampled. We slowly eased our way down the pig hiway. Stopping to glass and listen. About halfway down as we approached the very thick brush John spots movement below and about 300 yards across a steep draw. At least 3 hogs. We watched. We heard squeals and pig talk. And all of a sudden 6 or 8 hog' streak in our direction then hold up and mill around in the thick brush below us. "Let's work or way around this brush and ease on down in there". We stalked slowly. John says, "there rubbing on a tree". I dropped my pack. Glassed the medium sized hog in the dark brushy area and dropped to my knee. Slowly raised the new 45 / 70 loaded with 405 grain lead flat point PMC factory ammo and took the 40 yard shot. The pig went down.

After a short photo session we gutted the 130# sow and started dragging her down toward the sound of the ATV's coming in our direction. Tom and the boys met us about half way up from where they parked the ATV's. It was steep and brushy.
Tom said after I shot that a large group of hogs ran across the ridge out of that brushy area. Also a very large (300+ #) boar down and out of the area.

We hung the hog in a tree back at the rigs and John and Tom did a good job skinning it out. While they were doing that I let the boys Bobby and Mathew try to kill some pop cans with the 45 / 70. They were impressed and I'm sure will grow up to be big bore hunters!

I would recommend Tom's Antelope Valley Hunting Club for a fun day of hog hunting.


A nice February day.




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Johnnie Laird
Muskeg Excursions
PO Box 9513
Ketchikan, AK 99901-9513

Tel. (907) 225-9513