California Hog Hunt
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.
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.
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