Earlier this Season, (around Spring Turkey Season)…I was able to obtain hunting rights to a large parcel of private land West of I-5, between Cottonwood and Red Bluff.  This cattle ranch has been in the owners’ Family for many years, and it was being ravaged by pigs.

The Landowner is a highly educated, gracious man, and I soon developed a great rapport with him.  He took me around the property, showing me the borders, and filled me in on his knowledge of the pig’s activities.  The “hub” of pig activity is a large pond (the only water for nearly a mile), and the owner feared it would soon become a hog wallow.

The pond was a hub for wildlife, and I was quick to take advantage of it

 

It didn’t take me long to establish a trail cam on the pond, followed soon by a treestand.  I was under the impression that the pigs just cruised the perimeter of the pond in the evenings when they came in to drink and wallow;  After a couple of sits…I found out I was wrong.  There were two points on the pond that were regularly being hit, and the pigs would come in, and quickly move out.  During the night, they spent more time in the pond, but during daylight hours it was a “limited attack”.   I was starting to realize killing these pigs would not be easy.

Beside the pig activity, there were several nice bucks visiting the pond.  The landowner initially had only agreed to let me hunt pigs, but he later told me I would be allowed to take one of the bucks as well. Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened this Season (yet).

radar

An unusually high 4 point buck on the ranch, I affectionately named "Radar"

 

After relocating my stand, I managed to finally kill a young boar, right before I left for my Colorado Archery Elk Hunt.  The Landowner was very happy, and kept urging me to return and reduce the pig population, and of course, I gladly obliged soon after I returned.

There was one regular visitor that had managed to elude me several times, a very large solitary boar.  His normal protocol was to quietly slip into the pond, drink a good amount of water, then swiftly depart.  The last time I saw him…He came in right at dusk, and I passed on a 40 yard shot with him standing in the middle of the pond.

boar

A trailcam shot of the old boar sneaking in after hours!

 

The Landowner was was pretty sure this boar was responsible for widespread fence damage on the property.  I had tried to locate him in the canyons in the daytime on a number of occasions, but was unsuccessful.

On a very quiet, clear October afternoon, I once again climbed up in the stand…hoping for a legal buck or the boar to show up before darkness set in.  At around 7 PM, I heard a loud scream (sounded like a wildcat almost) coming from the East.  I had a feeling something was about to happen, so I stood up on the stand and waited.  I heard footfalls approaching, and soon the large boar appeared, moving in quick bursts and stopping intermittently to munch on acorns that had fallen from the valley oaks.  Almost as if choreographed, he stepped out broadside just 20 yards in front of me, and stopped to chew on some acorns.

It was so still and quiet, that the boar heard me draw my bow, and bugged out away from the stand about 10 yards, stopping to look back.  Not wanting to pass up a 30 yard quartering away opportunity, I quickly picked my spot, and let the string slip from my tab.

I was rewarded by the satisfying sound of a chest hit…and the boar immediately turned the hit side away, and bugged out straight back East.  I saw no arrow sticking out the exit side.  I heard him stop once, scrape the ground a little, and then just silence.

One thing was for sure, this was dangerous game, and I wasn’t about to go tracking him too early, without giving him ample time to die.  So I opted to give him a full hour before taking up the bloodtrail.  I played the sound over and over in my head…and I was almost certain it had to be a solid chest wall impact.  I was optimistic…but cautious!

I lowered my gear to the ground, donned my Zebra headlamp, and walked up to the point of impact.  The bloodtrail became apparent immediately, and I was able to follow it without diversion for around 200 yards, where the pig lay dead.

hogzilla

"Hogzilla's" days were over!

 

Knowing I would definitely need to gut him to move him at all, I started field dressing the boar. I noticed my arrow was broke off at the entry wound, and the Anarchy Broadhead was just under the skin, buried in the offside shoulder.  The lungs were completely destroyed…yet this animal had managed to go around 200 yards!  The thickness of the hide and bones was impressive, and once gutted, it was all I could do to drag the boar within 150 yards of the nearest dirt road.

Fortunately, the terrain allowed me to drive my rig to the boar.  The only way I could load him in the truck, was to put his front legs over my shoulders, and lift him up like a “dance partner” (trying to use the best body mechanics I could).

Once I got the pig home, it was a matter of skinning and hoisting him a little at a time, until I was finally able to remove the head and hide (which easily weighed 100 pounds).  The carcass without the inside and outside loins (or lower legs)  was weighed at 80 pounds.  Loin would easily add 20, and I am guessing the guts at 50 lbs.  This would put the animal’s live weight somewhere around 250 pounds (or more)!

The hog had freshly wallowed before he came in…so a good hosing down was in order before attempting the hoisting and skinning.  His cutters were nearly 2 1/2 inches!

cutters

Some nice big cutters on this hog!

 

I have seen much bigger hogs taken, but this guy was the big Kahuna on this particular ranch (by trail cam record).

I’m anxious to keep trying to reduce the pig population on this ranch, and looking forward to a possible late Season opportunity at one of the bucks in the area.