BY A NOSE
ON FERAL HOGS
ON THE HOG
WITH MIKE RAY
From the Editor:
We at The Sounder are so excited to release the 2nd issue of The Texas Hog Hunters Association magazine. You will notice some new features such as embedded video, direct links to advertiser's web pages and easier navigation. We look forward to providing a user friendly publication with accessibility that's only a click away. We also encourage feedback, article submissions written by members and business advertising. Contact us directly for writing and ad opportunities. -Melinda Saylors
The day started out like every Saturday. Good breakfast as we get ready for church. CJ talking and asking if I was headed to the ranch (he was supposed to go watch Spider-Man with his mom). As we are driving home from church, CJ going on and on about to ranch. I was just going to fill feeders and come home. As I'm walking out I tell him get ready so we can leave. The smile on his face was priceless! We get to the ranch and he quickly jumps in the front seat binos in hand! And asks what's the plan??? I tell him let's go drive around and check ponds it was 98 outside so they should be close to water. First pond has lots of wallers and no pigs. Second pond no sign. CJ said "man dad where are my pigs?"
As we pull up to another pond CJ says "Dad, stop, pigs" I grab the 30/30 and tell him wait here. Not even 20 yards from where I stopped the truck, there's a pond covered in hogs just laying in the mud! I ease up about 10 more feet and drop the hammer bam missed!!! Hog run every where I aim Bam, got one on the run. I turn around and CJ yells "Dad hogs are everywhere!" As I go to recover this piglet CJ comes out to truck. "Dad your going to need help taking it out..." as we walk to the hog in the back of my mind I'm thinking how special this day was. Hearing him talk about what just happened with all the excitement in his voice. I thank God for these memories me and my son will have. I can't wait till he grows up and he can tell me about his hunting adventures. He's 5 now and already has his mind on harvesting a moose! God willing one day he will. I'd like to add a special thanks to the Mr. Smith and for access to his place.
a feature on member Alfonso Rueda
DEPARTMENTS & CONTENT
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT pgA
THHA STAFF pgB
HELICOPTER HOG HUNTING - ANDY ANDERSON pg1
SO MUCH LAND SO FEW PIGS BY ANDY ANDERSON
BOWHUNTING - JEFF RICE pg5
MY HUNTING HERO BY JEFF RICE
NIGHT HUNTING - DERYL MARKGRAF pg7
TOP OF NIGHT BY DERYL MARKGRAF
GEAR & GADGETS - KEVIN REESE pg13
WINNING BY A NOSE WITH DDW BY KEVIN REESE
BIG BORE AIR GUNS
PICKING THE RIGHT GUN FOR HOG HUNTING BY LUKE CLAYTON pg18
TRAPPING DEPARTMENT - JAMES LYNCH pg21
WIRELESS TRAPPING BY JAMES LYNCH
TRAIL TO TABLE- LIKE CLAYTON pg27
PORK AND FORK:WILD BOAR, THE OTHER WHITE MEAT BY LUKE CLAYTON
WEISHUHN’S MEANDERINGS BY LARRY WEISHUHN pg29
MAKING A BETTERSELF-FILMED HUNTING VIDEO BY JEFF RICE pg32
HIGH ON THE HOG BY MIKE RAY pg37
PUBLIC LAND PALMETTO HOGS BY STEVE PARKER pg40
THE ELUSIVE BOAR HOG BY JOSHUA BERCKENHOFF pg45
MICHIGAN MECOSTA COUNTY MONSTER BY JERRY LAMBERT pg50
So Much Land, So Few Pigs.
By Andy Anderson
YouTube and social media sites are littered with videos and images of helicopter hunts. Most videos depict epic kill shots and large sounders fleeing the impending death that haunts them from above. These videos, like most only capture the best parts of a hunt. Helicopter Hunting is the same as any other hunting endeavor. There are no guarantees or promises of hundreds of kills in a few minutes. Strip away the helicopter and its hunting pure and simple, only difference is, with a helicopter, you cover a lot more ground a lot faster. Why use a helicopter? It’s effective, efficient and it’s fun. But, the biggest reason is the ability to actually survey damage. Specifically, you can target problematic areas on a scale that is often hard to comprehend unless you are familiar with aviation, and do it in minutes, not days.
Depending on the trees and ground cover types, a helicopter can cover as much as ten thousand acres in an hour to as few as twenty five hundred. The density of the tree canopy in creeks and river bottoms dictate the speed that the area is flown. Flying open crop or range land is faster because at a thousand feet you can see a long ways in all directions. There is a common misconception and unrealistic expectation when helicopter hunting. You are not going to see hundreds of hogs as soon as you take off, you are not going to kill hundreds of hogs or coyotes in an hour and you are not going to be the next YouTube sensation. Here is why, and some advice if you are shopping around for a helicopter hunt.
The best time of the year to helicopter hunt is January to April; that’s only four months out of the entire year so don’t wait to book if you plan to go. Not all outfitters are the same. Not all outfitters have the land mass to support a commercial operation. It takes a lot of land to sustain weekly, even daily flights. And let’s not forget why helicopter hunting is even permissible in the first place. It’s a depredation program; which means if doing it correctly lots of depredating animals are being dispatched. I see it all the time on social media posts regarding helicopter hunts and kill ratios. “If I’m paying eight hundred dollars an hour I’d better get more than 5 kills!” or “yeah, he’s got three hundred thousand acres and didn’t see one pig; yeah right”. I can go on and on with comments from the keyboard warriors, but what’s the point?
Fact is you have to start somewhere, and that starting point depends on a number of things; like the type of helicopter being flown, base location, refueling options and how many hours you or your group plan to fly. The type of helicopter dictates the number of passengers or shooters and fuel consumption. Where is the base in regards to the location to the hunting ground? If the base is at an airport, how much ferry time from the airport to the hunting area and back. If you are flying more than one hour, is there a refueling option on or closer to the hunting area, such as a fuel trailer. The time spent flying back and forth for fuel is less time spent hunting. While a helicopter is faster than a car, it’s still time and unfortunately sometimes necessary.
Kill ratio. How many pigs a person kills depends on a lot of variables many of which no one has any control over. Property boundaries are an issue, while you can fly anywhere you want, it’s against the law to harass or herd pigs from one property to another. Helicopters must stay on the property to which they are permitted to fly, you can’t even photograph them. The other most important factor is the accuracy for the shooter. I can’t tell you how many times I have taken people up, gotten on a huge group of hogs and only killed two or three or spent twenty minutes chasing down one coyote.
Sometimes the clients are frustrated when they return reporting that they only saw a few pigs, they only saw what they were shooting at, while they were shooting a hundred rounds at one pig or a coyote, thirty pigs got away. Sometimes, there are just not that many pigs in a given area, nothing can be done about it, it’s hunting.
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One of two Huey 500
Helicopters currently in use.
So here is the ultimate question, how do I make the most of my helicopter hog hunting experience? If you are going to go, go and do it right. Put in a minimum of at least two hours in the air. That seems to be the best experience and shot opportunity. Find out what weapons the operator provides and practice with it prior to your hunt. If you provide your own, I recommend using a red dot optic only and learn to shoot with both eyes open. This helps with target acquisition and accuracy, the faster you can put effective rounds on target and move to the next will increase your efficiency. Get familiar with type of aircraft you’ll be flying in and how you will be seated. Practice shooting from that position. If you are going to be sitting in the door hanging out, get it in your mind that you will be hanging outside of the helicopter. Too often I see shooters sitting too far inside the helicopter when shooting. This is dangerous, you can shoot yourself in the foot and it narrows your shooting window. The more you prepare mentally and physically the better your experience will be.
When shopping for a helicopter hunt, do your research. Find out the type of helicopter each use and compare them. You can Google operating cost for the helicopter,
add in fuel, insurance and labor. You can get a good feel for being over charged or if a fair price is being offered. Just be fair in your assessment, it takes skill to fly a helicopter and it takes years of experience to perform low level flights. Safety should be your first concern therefore the type of helicopter being used will define your experience. A Robinson 22 or 44 cannot perform the same as a Hughes 500 or MD 500, just as the 500 cannot perform the same as Bell 205, each offer a different experience. When I am explaining the difference in the helicopters we fly, I tell people “The little birds are like the sports car, quick and agile. The bigger helicopters like the Huey or Blackhawk are like a bus. Carry more shooters at one time, but hard to make quick turns and such.”
Above all ask questions and pay attention to the safety briefing. Ask how much land they are flying, how often they fly and if they rest the land or have the ranches in a rotation. Don’t be surprised if you are flying and see a few dead pigs. I have flown the same ranch several times in a week and each time had great results. If the pigs are there, they are there, why leave? During the briefing and in flight there is no room or time for an ego. Just the flight is an exhilarating experience in and of itself, but to fly with the doors off and getting to shoot out of it is an experience like no other. The more you prepare and become educated about the process and safety practices, the better your experience will be.
Bottom line, helicopter hunting is hunting, it’s not a given circumstance or promise of a killing spree. It’s an experience, you are using a tool to do a specific job and helping a farmer or rancher preserve their way of life. Helicopter operators should be evaluated just like any other outfitter for reputation, customer service, equipment, facilities and knowledge. A successful hunt is as much your responsibility as it is the outfitters.
UH-60 Black Hawk.
The Black Hawk is the troop carrier of modern day combat forces around the world. Hunt hogs, target practice, or embark on one of many military simulations to test your skills and learn something new. Our Black Hawk holds 6 people, plus crew. It supports mounted weapons as well.
My Hunting Hero
By Jeff Rice
At the age of 12 my father took me on my very first hunt. I have many fond memories of those early days hunting with dad and my grandparents. Upon completing the hunter safety course, my father always included me on every hunting adventure. Christmas of 1973, my father bought me my first 12-gauge pump shotgun and we immediately headed into the woods to hunt Partridge. I will never forget the excitement I felt as we drove off to our hunting spot with my new shotgun.
am very blessed to still have my father with me, forty-four years following my first hunt. We often reminisce about hunting trips that we have taken together and periodically go through the old photographs of those adventures. I am amazed at all of the things that I have learned about hunting from dad over the years. Many of the tips and techniques that I learned as a youngster, I learned from my father. One example of something dad would do when bow hunting back in the early 70’s was to take strips of reflective tape and strategically put them on the nock of the arrow so that when your flashlight hit the arrow, it could be easily seen. Back then, there was no such thing as a lighted arrow nock. I remember the first deer I ever shot with my bow we recovered after dark thanks to this tip.
It’s been a few years since dad has been able to draw a bow back, he now hunts with either a crossbow or a rifle. Regardless, dad still enjoys spending hours in the blind in pursuit of wild game; my father joined me at our ranch last month for a hog hunt. I have a few box blinds set up especially for dad to give him an excellent opportunity to harvest a hog. When we arrived at the ranch it was approximately 4:30 in the afternoon, which gave us plenty of time to prepare for an evening hunt. We hadn’t been there 30 minutes when I noticed a sounder of hogs already at the feeder set up approximately 100 yards from camp. I followed my dad out the door, armed with a 300 blackout and my video camera to capture the moment. We made our way to the picnic table and set up for dad’s shot. The hogs were happily feeding while dad took careful aim and pulled the trigger on a beautiful boar. That quickly, we had pork loin and hams on the smoker.
Dick Rice with a beautiful boar taken on a recent hunt.
Once again, another hunting adventure etched deep in the memory banks. I look forward to the next time I have an opportunity to hunt with dad. I am especially thrilled to have captured this hunt on video so that we can always go back and relive the moment on the big screen. Thanks dad for all you have taught me about hunting, conservation and enjoying the great outdoors. You are my hunting hero!
Top of Night
by Deryl Markgraf
In this edition, I wanted to share a story about a recent series of hunts and some observations about the hog “problem”.
I have been doing depredation hunting for landowners for a few years now. We mainly work on the feral hog population, but we work overgrown coyote populations too. The greatest joy for me is getting to hunt with my son, Jason, and my nephew, Matt. Both are accomplished hunters that I trust and each can shoot lights out. We all use thermal weapon sights and thermal monoculars to hunt. Most of the time we go all night.
Through my recent work to try to stop the ill-advised use of a Warfarin based product to control the feral hog population in Texas, I started to hear a repeated story. As we talked to more and more folks on each side of the issue, I noticed a fairly common theme or two. When questioned as to how they were attempting to control their run away hog population, many landowners really hadn’t tried anyone that performed removal as a profession. It is not my desire to go down that road too far in this writing. I’m just making the point that more could be done with the current means available than is being utilized. As a follow on to that point, I have experienced landowners being upset with a non-existent hog “problem”. It almost seems to be the fashionable thing to throw out at the local café sometimes. One guy has a problem, they all have a problem. Don’t get me wrong, there are areas in the state that have a serious issue going on. How factually widespread it is, is another story. No actual research has ever been performed as to numbers of hogs and damage in dollars, just estimates, some educated, and many are outdated. The oft repeated 2.6 million hogs in Texas and 52 million dollars in yearly damage dates back to 2008 and 2010. If hogs proliferate so quickly, as many seem to think, then those numbers would surely have changed in that time period. Speaking with hundreds of hunters, trappers and helicopter hunters over the past few months I get another common theme. Most of them report seeing less hogs on a daily basis.
Personally, I had a landowner inquire as to me helping with his hog problem, to which I agreed to oblige. As we started into the process, he asked that I work directly with his ranch foreman. When I brought the subject up to the foreman there was a look of shock on his face. He stated, “We have some hogs, but we don’t have a hog problem.” We could argue that left alone, if it weren’t a problem, it soon would become one. Maybe, maybe not. It turns out the foreman was right; they generally always are as they work the recesses of the land. I still hunt this ranch, we take out a few hogs a month, sometimes we get a pretty good run going, but more often than not it isn’t all that productive.
We recently picked up another new property. This place was said to be “covered up” in hogs. How many times have you heard that? It was jokingly inferred that the hogs would open the ranch gate for you. I seldom get the feeling that landowners understand that these ventures need to be productive for us too. I think that is an unappreciated side of the story. Anyway, we are always excited to see what these new prospects have to offer. My nephew Matt and I met the rancher at the gate and had a quick look around. This property was right on a big river. As it was late afternoon, we bid the rancher a good evening and settled in on separate pastures to see what the nights activities would bring. Each of us use the IR Defense MKIII 60 mm thermal scope on our primary weapon, and we have a variety of long and short range thermal monoculars. Our current round of choice has been the 6.8 SPC; the 6.8 has worked well for us, but I’m not a caliber snob. We have killed hogs with pretty much everything out there.
I need to mention that the place had not been hunted in some time. However, since first seeing the land, the rancher had plowed and planted large pastures to feed the cows he will eventually put there. The first night was uneventful and a let down. I saw a number of deer and a few skunks, some of which came perilously close. But no hogs. I think we pulled out about 4 am. We skipped a night and tried again. This time we walked a good bit of land and observed very little hog sign, even along the river. Late in the night with very little activity other than the deer and a few small animals, a coyote came meandering my way. The pasture was a good 3/8 of a mile long. He had crossed much of that, making a bluff chase at a couple of groups of deer along the way. Eventually, he was going to walk right over me. What are the chances of him meandering through a pasture that far and ending up right on top of me? I zeroed in with the 6.8 and IR Defense thermal and sent him to coyote heaven.
Being very late, this pretty much ended my night, Matt agreed and we headed out; it was maybe 3 am or so. This was very unproductive and in our book it was becoming downright boring. We skipped another night and gave it another try. Around midnight, I spotted four hogs at the far end of the pasture I had been sitting. Early in the late afternoon and evening, when I am sitting a place like this, I use an adjustable wall blind for concealment and sit behind it. They are very light weight and easy to stow and carry. Sometimes I use a tripod for my weapon, sometimes not. Once it is dark, I usually do away with the wall blind and have found that it is rare that I am detected. On this night I had discarded the wall blind by the time the hogs appeared. They were in no hurry and it seemed to take forever for them to cross the 3/8’s of a mile or so. Counter to the ranchers concern, they seemed to have no interest in what he had planted. Finally, just as the coyote previously, they were upon me. They paused for a second about 50 yards in front of me. That was all it took. The vivid sight image of the IR Defense turned night into day. The first hog was down instantly.
There was a halting second of confusion as the hogs started to scatter. The second hog turned and paused to look toward the first. I laid him down. By now the other two were on a full run. One of them was moving to my left. The other the other one was running straight away from me. As the one going to the left would soon reach cover, I zeroed in on her running flat out and she went down with a round straight through the shoulder. I swung back to the fourth one, but by now she was too far out and running straight away. It was not a shot I care for, so 3 of 4 were eliminated. Matt heard the shots and packed up to come help me carve up the meat. No doubt, with thermal, we own the night.
I’d like to offer kudos to Glenn Guess. He posted a “How To” video on his Hog Zombies YouTube channel illustrating how to dress hogs in 10 minutes or less. We quickly adopted this method and it has saved us a ton of time. The video is below.
On our fourth night at this pasture it was very quiet with little movement. I didn’t have a lot of patience and wanted some action. Matt was feeling the same when I contacted him, so we pulled out somewhere close to midnight and headed to another ranch we hunt. I like this place because you almost always make some progress, even if it is small. We cruise the roads, lights off, glassing the pastures with thermal monoculars (we do not shoot from the road as that is illegal). There have been many nights we have chased sounders over this vast expanse until the sun comes up. Anyway, just as I figured, we spotted a sounder in one of the pastures. They were along a fence line with quite a lot of growth about 300 yards out. Though we had cover, we would have to enter the adjacent pasture in order to stalk them. Give me spot and stalk all day long over “sittin’ a blind”. For me, it is just a lot more fun. We began our stalk and the hogs moved a bit several times as we worked down the fence line. As we get closer it becomes more and more clear that the hogs would line up between us and cattle in the background. You really have to be aware of your angles and sight lines. I have never shot a cow, nor has anyone in my hunting party…and I don’t want to start now. I wanted to move a bit further up the fence line, but Matt wanted to go for it from where we were.
I didn’t like it because there was too much growth that would hamper follow on shots. At this point, Matt seemed to anchor down low. Being a former Army Ranger (3rd battalion, 75th regiment), his trigger finger gets “itchy”. I tried to get him to move with me, but couldn’t get him to acknowledge, so I gave in. He said he had a clear shot, I was shooting through a “V” between two branches of a tree. I really found myself wanting a more open shot. Just the same, I told him to go on. I always let whoever I hunt with go first and I follow on. As Matt squeezed the trigger, he had a rare malfunction. He said, “Malfunction, shoot.” I did….and laid one out. Being a Ranger, Matt rapidly cleared his issue and got back in the game. The hogs are now in a full run and he takes one down. This is one of those situations where I knew that working through the growth would be hard and it was. I stopped with just taking out the one hog. You are left with the feeling that with a tad more patience and easing up the fence line just a little further that the opportunity would have improved. We’ll never know, but we had sausage on the ground and we were thankful for that.
We walked back out and drove around to the opposite side of the pasture to retrieve the hogs. The easiest way to enter the pasture was to crawl under the fence, we wanted to travel light as we had a good distance to cover. It is unusual for us not to take a rifle, but we were on a single-minded train of thought, just recover the hogs. We each had knives and head mounted flashlights. Matt carried plastic bags and a pistol. I carried a thermal monocular to aid in finding the downed hogs. Hogs easily stand out on a pasture with thermal, but if they are in growth of some sort or just over the edge of even a gentle roll, you can miss them. We walked toward where Matt’s hog had gone down…or at least where we thought it was. The night and depth perception through thermal can throw your predictions off; those of you that do a lot of night hunting know this.
We missed Matt’s hog the first time through, but spotted mine up the way. Matt has become an instant pro at zipping these hogs apart, Glenn Guess style. The four quarters and backstraps were quickly bagged. We turned to locate Matt’s hog, and this time I spotted it quickly at about 80 yards. We started toward it and I kept a close eye on it with the thermal monocular. It had been a good half hour since the hog had been taken down. As we approached at about 50 yards out, I told Matt, you are not going to believe this, “Your hog just got up and is running off.”
There we stood, no rifle. Matt couldn’t see anything because he only had a head mounted flashlight. I could feel the frustration in his voice, each of us knowing better than to take off out there without a rifle. As I watched the hog run, I noticed where he was headed. He wanted to make it easy on us. That hog ran back to within 15 feet of Matt’s truck, laid down and died, maybe you had to be there, but it was very humorous. We made it back to the truck, quickly butchered and skinned both hogs and put them on ice. It was now around 3 am and we were off to our traditional Jack-In-The-Box tacos on the way home. Part of the hogs are now Italian sausage that I have made for years and smoked breakfast sausage that Luke Clayton recently taught me to make. The rest will be visiting my Smokin’ Tex smoker very soon…
Night hunting is so different than hunting in the day. Once I tried it, I was hooked. I rarely hunt in daylight hours these days. Family, friends and acquaintances of mine have shared many nights enjoying this great sport and I don’t plan to quit anytime soon.
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Winning by a Nose
with Dead Down Wind
Scent Control Makes Hog Hunting Sense
By Kevin Reese
Like a shot in the darkness, my alarm shattered the silence precisely at 4 a.m. and I slithered out of bed, across the bedroom and living room floors and managed to pull myself to my feet when I reached the bathroom sink.
4 a.m. comes incredibly early, especially for a night hunter but my trail camera had revealed some early morning hog activity! With the truck loaded the night before, my list of preparations was fairly short. I spilled into the shower and stood there until some semblance of energy coursed through my body. By the time I stepped out I was more than just awake, I was fired up about what dawn might bring if the hogs were sticking to their plan for a third straight morning. I quickly dressed in my “huntin’ best”, laced up my boots and headed out. As my taillights blazed a trail up the drive and down the county road, an unnerving tone rang from the dashboard. Startled, I took my foot off the gas and browed the dash looking for the light; there amidst the chaotic layout of instruments I found the culprit, my gas light -- not opportune but not the end of the world by any stretch. I stopped on the edge of town and refueled. With my tank topped off, I hurried to the edge of town for a quick breakfast with my hog hunting buddies. Ricky Roy’s was open early and his biscuits and gravy, Spanish omelet and hot lack coffee were calling my name! We ate quickly then headed down the road to our honey hole.
We pulled into the property slightly less than an hour before daylight. After a quick dousing with Dead Down Wind, I grabbed my backpack, ThermaCELL and bow then headed into the darkness. I slid into a ground blind on the edge of a ripe wallow and wealth of freshly rooted dirt. The hogs had come in two days in a row at the same time and had torn the area up. This hunt was a sure bet… or so I thought.
Just as sunlight filtered through the trees I heard a sounder sauntering in behind me. The hogs squealed and growled as they closed the distance to no more than 40 yards away… but then they stopped. I peeked out of the back window and saw the sounder stopped dead in their tracks. As quickly as they had arrived, they turned and left. Perplexed and disappointed by the sudden change, I slowly sank back into my chair trying to disappear in the blind’s darkness. “Why did he stop?” As soon as I began to question what had just occurred, she appeared again, this time alone. She stopped 60 yards to my front, lifted her nose to the swirling wind and barked. A throaty bawl followed. Her warning heeded, the woods came alive as the sounder retreated back into a heavy thicket.
I knew better. I have killed countless feral hogs over the years and have certainly logged enough time in the woods to understand scent control is a must… or a deal breaker. Before that morning, I had “won” a lot. I suppose I had even become a bit cocky and comfortable. So then, in hindsight it seemed poetic that all those wins finally resulted in a major loss! I was a victim of my own complacency.
Just like your awareness after receiving a speeding ticket, my level of sensitivity following such a hunt was significantly heightened. While it’s true, I blew a great opportunity, crash-and-burns like that hunt make me a better hunter and remind me why some of today’s products truly up your odds of success. Given the reason my hunt was blown, Take a look at my scent elimination routine. There’s a reason I’ve used Dead Down Wind for years… IT WORKS! Even better, beginning years ago with scent elimination spray, their product line has grown to include products for every facet of my scent elimination process. Nowadays, DDW even offers products to help me control scent while I’m actively making it.
Washing Your Clothes
When preparing to wash clothes, make sure you’ve included all articles you intend to wear, i.e. undergarments and outerwear. Before washing, spray the drum of your washer with Dead Down Wind scent eliminating spray and then add Dead Down Wind’s laundry detergent. While drying your clothes on a line is great, it’s not always practical. When you’re stuck using a dryer, empty the lint catcher. Spray the lint catcher and dryer drum down with Dead Down Wind scent eliminating spray. After placing your clothes in the dryer, add a Dead Down Wind scent eliminating dryer sheet. After your clothes are washed and dried, pack all garments in a sealed container like a jumbo Ziploc-style bag to keep them scent free until it’s time to hunt.
Start Your Day with a Clean Slate
Bathe with Dead Down Wind scent eliminating bar soap or body wash and shampoo; brush your teeth with Dead Down Wind toothpaste; and roll on some Dead Down Wind deodorant. Dead Down Wind even offers scent eliminating mouth spray designed to combat the worst scent disperser on your body… your mouth! Before touching things, even the ladder to a stand, consider wiping your hands with Dead Down Wind Hand Sanitizer. They key is simply to start clean and stay clean, at least until after you get to your hunting spot. Then, scent control gets a little trickier. Luckily, Dead Down Wind has great products for scent control on the fly, too.
Scent Control on the Fly
Managing your scent while actively producing it can be a different kind of monster. Be sure to spray down with Dead Down Wind, including the soles of your boots, before heading off to your favorite hunting spot… and stay off the game trails! Keep a small bottle of Dead Down Wind spray in your pack so you can spray down intermittently. When it’s hot, like right now, the spray is a great way to cool off, too! Dead Down Wind also offers scent eliminating wipes. The wipes are doused in the same enzyme-based solution as the spray and are a perfect way to wipe away sweat while hunting, thus, controlling scent while you’re making it. During exceptionally warm hunting weather, I also like to keep a Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad with me to keep cool and wipe away sweat. I use Dead Down Wind spray to douse the towel after wiping with it; like using the wipes, this is a great way to suppress some scent while actively producing it. I keep the Frogg Toggs Chilly Pad hanging around my neck and dripping with water or Dead Down Wind Spray. Let’s face it, scent elimination is a constant process; indeed, it’s a race against your prey’s keener sense of smell. To win by a nose, you’ve got to get a head start and maintain the lead.
The truth stinks! Controlling your scent can be a nightmare. Hogs have one of the best noses in the woods and trying to beat it is always a tough hill to climb. The only way to win here is through planning and execution. Scent control, is likely the most important component of your hunting strategy, perhaps even more important than cover and concealment. Scent detection often ends your hunt light years before a visual encounter. Those who choose to close the distance on the best nose in the woods don’t depend on luck. We bowhunters depend on stealth, strategy, hard work and determination to get hogs on the ground. We depend on God’s timing and our own wits to see us through – Leave luck at the door with your human stench; take tenacity, grit and Dead Down Wind. Do that and you just might bag the boar of a lifetime!
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Picking The Right Gun
for Hog Hunting
By Luke Clayton
Readers of this column have probably come to learn that I love just about everything about hunting wild hogs. I love the adrenaline packed moments when I hear them coming through the woods at night, to my hunting set-up. I love transforming the meat into tasty smoked or breakfast sausage, ham or pulled pork. My love of hog hunting is the primary reason I wrote my book devoted to hunting and cooking wild porkers, “Kill to Grill, the Ultimate Guide to hunting and cooking wild hogs.”
I was elated when last week the book finally was made available through Amazon. The book truly contains a great deal of information that could only been learned from years of hunting and experimenting with different methods of transforming all that wild pork into tasty meals. With the knowledge that mine is much more than a passing interest in hunting hogs, I decided to devote this column to expressing my thoughts as to the “perfect” hog hunting rig.
Keep in mind that I am a devout bow hunter and wild hogs have always been my favored animal to hunt. I hunt with archery equipment for the sheer challenge of getting close and waiting to make that one perfect shot but I’ve taken hogs with everything from big bore air rifles to muzzleloaders. But what do I consider to be the perfect rifle/scope/bullet combination for hunting hogs? What combination would I choose if someone bet me $100 that I HAD to be successful on a hog hunt? Well, let’s consider what is needed to really stack the odds in a hog hunter’s favor.
An accurate rifle that is light enough to sling and carry out of the woods while dragging a wild hog is a prime consideration. Precise bullet placement is important. While most of my hog hunting is done in relatively heavy cover where shots at 50 yards is the norm, I sometime have the opportunity to take a 100 yard or farther shot.
I want a rifle that consistently groups well. One I can depend upon. Caliber choice is also important. Granted the big magnums will most definitely do the job but I hunt hogs for sport and meat. I’ve found that lighter calibers matched with the right bullets do a fine job in cleanly killing hogs.
So, what rifle suits me perfectly for hog hunting? The bolt action Mossberg MVP Patrol in .223 caliber fills the bill nicely! Most folks today relate the .223 with an AR type rifle. I love shooting AR’s. They are just plain fun but when it comes to hunting, I favor a bolt action. At seven pounds, sporting a barrel just over 16 inches in length, the Patrol is easy to handle in heavy cover. Granted, anything a lighter caliber will do, a big magnum will obviously do as well or better. But with heavy calibers come the price of added recoil and meat loss. The .223 is a proven caliber. It’s pleasant to shoot and absolutely deadly on game.
But regardless the caliber, well designed ammo is extremely important. Hornady’s “Full Boar GMX” in .223 is lethal on hogs. These copper alloy bullets deliver uniform, controlled expansion for maximum penetration and weight retention. With proper bullet placement, they will put the biggest boar in the woods on the meat pole!
Boar and Air Force Airgun's Texan .45 Caliber
Anyone who has hunted wild hogs in the past 10 years surely has come to the realization that wild porkers, with just a little bit of pressure, become almost entirely nocturnal. I can remember back 20 years ago when it was common to shoot hogs during daylight hours. Today’s hogs are much better educated and anyone that’s hunted them knows they are about the smartest critter in the woods. Put pressure on them and they get even smarter.
Some hogs are killed during the last few minutes of daylight or at first light but I’d venture a guess that 75 percent of hogs are killed in either very low light or no light conditions. A night vision scope is a must for any serious hog hunter that uses a rifle. Enter the Photon XT digital rifle scope by Sightmark. With a price tag of about $500, this scope is by far the best value for the money, in my opinion. One of my favorite features of the Photon is the fact that it can be used during the daylight or at night. To shoot during the day, simply shut down the amount of light entering the scope by closing a cover on the front of the scope.
This cover snaps in place and has a tiny hole in its center that allows a small amount of light to enter the scope. When shooting at night, open the cover and you have instant, very clear night vision. With three levels of infrared intensity, visibility at night can be increased to shoot out to 100 yards and beyond on a pitch black night.
So, there you have it. The rig you see pictured with this column is the one I will be putting to use in the hog woods this fall/winter. My trail cameras are indicating a good population of “eater” hogs weighing between 75 and 125 pounds.
The problem is they are hitting my feeders around 9 each evening. But with the warm weather we have been having, that’s really not a problem. I can do my butchering during the cooler part of the evening and I most definitely have the proper combination of tools to get the job done. It’s time to give my 60 year-old meat grinder a good cleaning. I see a sausage making day coming in the very near future!
by James Lynch
Hello everyone, tremendous momentum is building since The Sounder launched its first issue in June! It’s amazing to see a grass roots organization like THHA expand so rapidly and it’s even more exciting to see the positive response this magazine has had in only a pair of months! Again, I’m honored to share a little about going Hi-tech on feral hogs! We will discuss the importance of cellular trapping, incorporating different methods with cellular trapping, a time saving development exclusively for “The Original Wireless Traps” trapping system to improve capture numbers and finally my favorite segment, highlighting a Trapper or Trapping Service that has displayed exceptional trapping skills. This issue we highlight an expert hog trapper who goes by “The Hog Doctor” and is the owner and operator of Pig-N trapping service out of Itasca, Texas. They have set the standard for time efficiency and trapping effectiveness in technology trapping.
Importance of Technology Trapping - Why is Cellular Trapping so important? Cellular trapping is vital to the success of feral hog control because when implemented properly provides a long-lasting method of steady hog removal. Cellular trapping empowers us to go about our daily lives to focus on more important tasks and at the same time you’re still trapping. Wireless Traps control system sends instant notifications to our cell phones via text message when hogs approach or enter the trap. This saves time, fuel cost, wear and tear on equipment, reduces human activity around the trapping site and allows you to choose when to close the trap gate. Customers have commented that they have captured feral hogs using Wireless Traps technology while duck hunting in Argentina, watching their kids sporting events, while on vacation and even watching the Super Bowl. We find that individuals who trap year-round see a significant decrease in damage to their crops, property, reduced livestock feed bills and begin to see an increase in wildlife they had not seen in years.
Whitetail Deer, quail, turkeys, migratory birds and an assortment of many other species begin to flourish again. I believe it’s important to inform folks that there is hope for most when it comes to dealing with the serious problems associated with destructive feral hogs. Our experience has clearly indicated that feral hog population control is possible contrary to what the narrative has been in the recent past and cellular trapping is the primary factor in most cases. Sure, hogs are fun to hunt but a balance must and can be achieved when the proper methods are utilized in a tactical and consistent fashion while using the proper tools like cellular trapping technology. The way I see it, a cellular trapping system is just as necessary as a tractor on a farm. You wouldn’t plow a thousand acres with a shovel, so why deal with a thousand hogs one at a time using conventional methods?
Cellular Trapping is the Key – There are many methods used in attempt to control the feral hog population and often these methods fail to yield the desired result by those who try them. One of the reasons these methods fail to achieve the desired result is not because they don’t remove some hogs in these troubled areas but because they are inadequate when executed on their own or used with other less effective methods. These methods must also be used consistently over an extended period to have a true impact in these troubled areas. In my view and other professionals in the feral hog business believe that effective feral hog control consists of a combination of methods working in concert with each other and when executed in the proper sequence CAN reduce populations to a point near an ecological balance. Establishing a game plan to start the removal process can vary significantly dependent upon location, property size and terrain. Farmers, Ranchers and Landowners can implement a strategic plan to deploy various methods specific to the severity of their hog problem. For example, an urban property of only a few acres or less could utilize the most cost-effective method which is installing fencing around the entire property or areas that need protection from damage. A simplistic approach but the proper solution often suggested by Mr. Adam Henry with the USDA.
Adam is a Wildlife Damage Management Biologist who provides nuisance control in and around the DFW area. In some cases, fencing is all it takes but on larger properties in relatively open areas like farmland, helicopter shooting, cellular trapping, mechanical trapping, snares, night hunting and dog hunting all have their place. Various combinations of these methods can be extremely effective with cellular trapping being the strong and steady common thread factored into each equation. Over the past several years many trappers and land managers have taken advantage of today’s technology and are witnessing the positive effects cellular trapping, helicopter hunting and hunting with advanced night vision equipment are having. The continuing advancements in technology and more individuals obtaining access to this technology indicate to us that larger numbers of feral hogs being removed faster than reproductive rates. These advancements are providing a way to get ahead of the prolific reproduction of the feral hog.
A group of Rio Grande turkeys began to feed regularly at this trapping location after several months of successful cellular trapping. Turkey, Whitetail Deer and other native species are some of the indicators of trapping success.
The boar outside this Goin Fencing corral trap was attracted to a sow in estrus captured earlier that night. With Wireless Traps new independent gate control system, this boar will also be captured shortly after the initial group is caught.
Expanding the System – At Wireless Traps we are taking cellular trapping up another level. We are now field testing feral hog traps that have multiple gates which is nothing new right, but this is something new! We now independently control the release on two gates to capture two separate groups of hogs. We achieve this with one control system programmed to close two different gates at different times on demand. Here’s why we developed this new system. Often when a sounder of hogs is captured, especially early in the evening or night a second sounder or boars will be attracted to hogs that were captured in the initial closing of the main head gate. These hogs often circle the corral trap searching for a way in to join the first group of captured hogs. Now with the ability to independently close a second gate we can use the first sounder that was captured as the attractant or “bait” to draw in more hogs to significantly improve the number of hogs capture each day or night. Sows in estrus and the sound of feeding hogs attract other curious hogs to the trap and now instead of waiting long periods of time to trap or worry about missing one or two hogs, the first group captured attracts other hogs to be captured the same night!
Pig-In trapping captured this small sounder of 10 feral hogs in March 2017. Top right corner is Wireless Traps original industrial style trap control system.
Outstanding Hi-Tech Trapping Service – Pig-N is a professional trapping service out of Itasca, Texas that has redefined the meaning of trapping efficiency with their four Wireless Traps control systems. These control systems are moved around to different corral pens in various locations throughout the properties they manage. What makes this type of trapping possible is Wireless Traps’ control systems portability and flexibility to adapt to any corral pen and head gate. Release latches can be installed on each gate or the release latches can be mounted on an adaptable mounting bracket and moved from one trap head gate to the next. Pig-In has set the standard for many other cellular trappers to follow in their footsteps executing the same successful trap rotating method capturing 500 to 1000 hogs per year on average and others capture 1000 or more. Over a four-year period of working with these guys its plain to see that they have put the hammer down on some feral swine like only a few others have often capturing multiple sounders at once yielding groups of fifty hogs or more at one time. This method isn’t just for the professional feral hog trapper, landowners and managers can achieve the same results while protecting grain crops, cattle ranching areas and the eco system by using the trap control rotating method. This process does take time and money to develop but once the primary elements are in place it’s down to steady hog trapping in its most efficient and effective form.
5 Steps to Develop the Trap Rotation Method
1.Identify feral hog main travel corridors and main intersecting trails. These travel corridors are typically trails that hogs travel throughout the entire year often found between feeding areas, bedding areas and water sources. Satellite imagery and drones can help identify these locations.
2. Erect 30-40 foot in diameter corral pens with a head gate for each trap near major intersecting trails. The number of traps necessary to effectively trap is largely dependent upon property size and density of the feral hog population. Setup 2-3 corral traps for each trap control system using trail cameras to monitor traps without a control system.
3. Setup a feeder in the center of each corral pen to provide a consistent food source. Feed can also be poured along the inside edge and center of the corral pen. Set a feed schedule of two feedings per 24-hour period. Professional trappers often set one feeding time in the late evening and a second around midnight to reduce feed loss due to feeding birds during daylight hours. Be sure that feeder corn is broadcasted inside the trap only. Over time hogs will begin to feed consistently becoming dependent on this food source.
4. Next install your Wireless Traps electronics trapping system and begin the trapping process. This process could take a few months or longer. Determining when to move your trap control system to the next corral trap can be indicated by a week or two without hog picture notifications sent to you via text message on your smart phone or tablet or notifications can also be received via email, both keeping trappers informed of daily activity inside the corral trap.
5.Finally swap or rotate your trap control system with one of your trap monitoring trail cameras to begin the capturing process in one of the pre-baited trap locations. This is a continuous process on some properties and others start and stop the process as necessary both achieving positive results.
An alternative to developing your own trapping program is to hire a professional hog trapping service like Pig-In. Professional trappers have the experience and know how to quickly develop a trapping strategy to begin the feral hog removal process on your property. Service rates vary and are negotiated on an individual basis and are minimal in comparison to the significant financial loss caused by feral hog.
Pork and Fork: Wild Boar,
the Other White Meat
by Luke Clayton
I am often amused at the questions I get about eating wild pork.
I remind the naysayers that pork is pork. Wild pork often differs from domestic pork in that it is much leaner and therefore, more healthy. I thought this would be a good time to share some of my favorite wild boar recipes. Of course, if you are not a hunter and don’t have access to free-ranging pork, lean cuts from domestic pork will also work, just make sure and use the loins or lean pork steaks.
Wild boar skillet meals
We have an abundance of free, wild pork roaming the hills and creek bottoms across most of the Lone Star State. Wild pork is very tasty. Just this past winter, I turned two wild boars that weighed about 170 pounds each into many tasty meals for my family and friends.
Yes, larger boars, if they are in good condition and not actively breeding, make excellent table fare but the meat does need to be tenderized before cooking. Younger animals obviously are tenderer and require less time to prepare.
Just keep in mind that with tougher cuts from larger boars slow cooking with low heat over several hours with moisture is key. I prefer marinating the tenderized cuts overnight in a 50-50 mixture of Louisiana Hot Sauce and milk. I’m all about one skillet meals whether at camp or home. Here are four methods I’ve used to transform wild pork into some very tasty meals. Ham steaks cut from the top of the ham or backstraps work best.
Smothered boar steak with rice and gravy
Dust the marinated steaks with flour and brown in a cast iron skillet with olive oil.
After steaks brown, place lid on the skillet, add about half a chopped yellow onion and allow to cook on low temperature for about 40 minutes, turning a couple of times to avoid sticking.
Drain the excess oil and add a large can of cream of mushroom soup along with a can of water. Stir well to insure the soup dissolves. Dust with black pepper and salt to taste. Place lid back on the skillet and continue to cook on low temperature for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to avoid sticking.
At this stage, the steaks will be fork tender. Add a cup of rice and a couple more cups of water; stir to blend well into the steak/gravy mixture. Continue cooking on very low heat for 20 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the lid on. This allows the rice to absorb more water and become even tenderer. Open a can of Margaret Holmes seasoned collard greens and serve with hot biscuits.
Boar steak with vegetables
Sear steaks on both sides in butter in a cast iron skillet. Place lid on skillet, add a cup of water to avoid sticking, turn heat to low and simmer for 40 minutes. Next, add quartered medium-sized potatoes, onion, bell pepper (or jalapeno), carrots and a couple pieces of celery cut about 5 inches long.
Add enough water to cover the steaks and veggies, and place a few bay leaves on top. Simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Remove lid and reduce most of the moisture. This dish goes well with hot, buttered cornbread.
by Larry Weishuhn
My guide spoke in Castilian Spanish. I did not understand any words other than “marano macho”! The hour was late. We were returning to camp. Sleep had been a stranger these last several days and I had just nodded off, thus only caught part of Juan’s statement. We were in Patagonia, Argentina hunting red stag and Asian buffalo, and if the occasion arose, wild boar. “Donde?” I questioned roused from my slumber. Juan pointed to what appeared to be a dark streak headed toward a dense thicket. He slammed on the brakes and pointed at my .375 H&H Ruger Number 1 and motioned for me to follow him. I did!
As we ran toward where we had last seen the huge dark body disappear Juan raised his fingers to his mouth indicating big tusks. If I was not already wide awake, when he did that I certainly was! Following Juan, I recalled a 1960’s story in the pages of Outdoor Life about Grancel Fitz and his wife Betty hunting giant red stag and European wild boar in Argentina. Since that time I had longed to hunt Argentina, but I hardly dared dream I would actually some day be able to do. But here I was, following an Argentine guacho named Juan into thick brush trailing by his “indications” a huge wild boar with big teeth and very possibly a nasty disposition.
It was nearly dark when we entered the tall grass alongside a creek bottom. Just as we were about to cross the creek, I saw movement on the opposite bank. My rifle seemed to leap to my shoulder and automatically point at whatever it was. Earlier that morning we had driven through the same area we were now in. We had seen a herd of Asian buffalo, mostly cows with small calves near where we were looking for a big boar. My first thought was the big dark “object” moving on the opposite bank was a buffalo cow, likely one that would immediately charge to protect her young calf. As I mentioned it was just about too dark to be in the woods without a flashlight!
I heard Juan hiss, “Marano macho grande!” just as the dark hulk disappeared in the tall grass and underbrush. There was not time for a shot. In spite of it being almost too dark to see, we looked for another ten minutes to try to find the big boar, but we never saw him again.
Wish I could tell you we caught up with him later in the hunt, but that was not the case. We never again saw another wild boar. We did see several red stags and big buffalo bulls, and I was able to shoot one of each.
I left Argentina with a promise, to myself, I would someday return. Unfortunately, that has been one promise I have yet to keep. But indeed that is a destination I someday hope to return to.
Several years after my Argentina encounter with a true European wild hog, transplanted there right after World War I when many wealthy Germans immigrated bringing with them wild boar and red deer from “The Fatherland”, I was in Australia hunting buffalo in the far northern territories. As we headed to the bush our guide, Robert Redford, Jr. cautioned us. “If you see a wild hog, you must try to kill it, regardless of how big or how small. You don’t shoot at wild hogs we see, you will not get to shoot a buffalo!” He continued to say their aboriginal lands were “lousy with hogs!” Listening to him talk I felt assured we would have many opportunities.
We hunted hard from first light to last light for three days before we saw our first hog. And when we did, was saw it a grand total of three seconds! We spooked it out of a mud wallow when we made a turn in a creek bottom.
I would have loved to have shot an Australian wild hog, but it was not to be. I did however on that trip shoot three Asian buffalo, the biggest one had wide, massive sweeping horns that measured 50-inches. Taken with a Ruger Model 77 Guide Rifle in .375 Ruger shooting Hornady 300-grain DGX loads. Surely would have like to have tried that combination on wild hogs.
There are a few other places I have hunted wild hogs and failed to either get a shot or even see one. Remind me to tell sometime about hunting them in Austria and Sweden. Even though I did not take a wild hog on some of those hunts, I would not trade anything for the experience or trying....
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Making a Better
Self-Filmed Hunting Video
By Jeff Rice
I rarely head into the woods without carrying my video camera tucked into my pocket in hopes of capturing another great hunting adventure on film. I have been self-videoing my hunts ever since I purchased my first video camera over two decades ago. My first camera recorded my hunts on 8mm tapes. Since then, video camera technology has evolved and I am now using a camera that records all of my hunts on an SD card. There are many cameras on the market today that one can choose to film hunts, but for this article, I am going to focus more on the taking of video, rather that the camera equipment itself. The most important thing I can emphasize regarding a video camera is that size matters. Large video cameras tend to be cumbersome when trying to self-video your hunts. I tend to like a small compact camera which is easily transportable and will not get in my way when trying to film in the blind. There are two things I look for in a camera, the first is that the camera must record in high definition and have good zoom quality, 55X or better. The ability to zoom in on the game that you are hunting is a must for capturing a great video.
Knowing your camera equipment is essential for obtaining quality video. Make sure you have taken the time to practice with your camera prior to attempting to film your hunts. Once you hit the woods, the last thing you need, is to have your camera start making any sort of beeps or sounds when you are powering up or running your camera. Camera beeps and alerts can quickly ruin a hunt. It’s important that you know how to silence every feature on your camera before using it. Spend time filming around the house before you start filming hunts. Before you head out to your hunt, it is important to pick up a camera mount based on your hunting scenario. Since most of my hunting is done from tree stands, I opt to use an adjustable camera arm that straps right to the tree trunk. Having the adjustable arm allows me to quickly get on my subject without a lot of movement and eliminate any bounce while filming. I also keep a tripod handy for use while filming from ground level.
Jeff zooms in on a hog
while self-filming a hunt.
When it comes to capturing great video, timing is everything. Having the camera focused on the animal before it actually enters your shooting area makes for a much better video. If possible, try getting a little footage of the animal roaming around the area prior to videoing the shot. Just remember, capturing the actual shot itself is most critical, and will set the stage for the rest of your video. Prior to taking your shot, make sure you have zoomed in adequately on the animal. Immediately following the shot, quickly back the zoom out to capture the animal as it exits the area. Once you have captured the shot on video, then it is time to start getting the creative juices flowing and put together the rest of your video. Before we go into greater detail regarding the creation of a video, let’s talk a little about editing and editing software. There are many different editing software products on the market today. Many products can be purchased directly online and downloaded onto your PC. I personally have used two different editing software products and they both were well for under $100. Upon purchasing and downloading the software, you will need to take the time to learn the different editing features. I can assure you that learning to use editing software is not difficult to do. The software will allow you to speed up or slow down video, adjust lighting, add text and other unique features.
Editing software will allow you to cut and move every single frame that you film into your finished product. In other words, you can start by filming the arrow hitting your game first, followed by the filming of your opening remarks and other scenes. The editing software will then allow you to cut the opening remarks or other scenes and paste them into your video prior to the shot. With the ability to move frames or clips and place them anywhere in your video, allows you to be very creative. There is one thing I can tell you for sure, you cannot take too much video. Just remember the more video you capture, the more video you have to work with during the editing process. On average, I will take 45 to 60 minutes of video on each hunt. While sitting in the blind, I am always absorbing everything around me and looking for ways to get creative with my video. One thing to remember when it comes to editing video, it’s best not to have a single edited scene in your finished product that runs more than five minutes in length. If you do, make sure to add in some fill-in clips to break up the scene. Doing so will make a much more enjoyable viewing experience of your video.
Now, let’s get back to the capturing of quality video. What I typically do when I head out to the woods to film a hunt, is to start by filming any animals I see to use as fill in clips for my finished product. Adding video clips of deer, squirrels, birds, raccoons along with any other wildlife will greatly enhance my video. I will also get a little video of myself sitting in the blind and perhaps a little video of butterflies, leaves blowing in the tree or insects to add to my finished product. Just remember when you add in these other wildlife clips, they should be a short clip, less than five seconds per scene. Adding fill in clips or scenes throughout your video will really enhance your video.
While sitting in the blind, I will continue to film wildlife scenes and other clips until I spot the animal I am pursuing. At that point, I begin to record the action. I nearly always watch the view finder on my camera and not look up at the animal itself. Doing this will help me keep the game in the frame. Once I have captured my game coming in, then I will begin to focus on capturing the actual shot on film. I like to zoom in on the animal to capture my arrow as it makes impact. Then, I will quickly back the zoom out to try and capture the animal as it exits the area. Once I have filmed the actual shot, I will then turn the camera on myself and film me drawing my bow back. Pasting this short clip of me before the actual shot on my finished product makes great video.
Following this, I will then video my opening remarks and other clips to add into my finished product. As a footnote, I have tried putting the camera behind me and filming the entire hunt, but it is very difficult to see what you are filming and it impossible to operate the zoom. This may work well if you had two cameras and are good at multi-tasking.
Using an adjustable camera arm will help you make better videos
Once again, I cannot express how important it is that you use a tripod or adjustable camera arm when videoing your hunts. Utilizing these aids will eliminate video bounce and make a much more desirable video. It is also important to make sure that you have adequate lighting when recording. Remember, lowlight conditions will create video that is difficult to view. Once you have captured your shot, opening remarks and fill in scenes, it’s always nice to have video of you coming out of the blind and trailing your game. Climb out of your blind and put the camera on a tripod facing your blind and start recording. Get back in your blind and get back out of your blind, this will give you that shot. Now, set your camera and tripod 30 yards out from your blind, go back to your blind and get your weapon. Begin to walk toward your video camera carrying your weapon. This will give you great video to use in your final product. Once you find blood, set the camera out in front of you again and capture some video of you following the blood trail. Another suggestion would be for you to walk away from the camera as you head down the blood trail. Lastly, you can try and carry the video camera with you while tracking your game. Just remember that carrying your camera can create bounce which is never desirable in a finished product.
As you continue to capture video, remember to speak clearly and close enough to the microphone, so that you have good audio for your finished product. Remember, you are the host of your video and should be accurately describing what you are experiencing while in pursuit of your downed game. Once you have found your prize, it’s always nice to have a little celebration clip, but Remember to always show respect for the animal you have harvested. Before getting video of your game, it’s always best to clean up the animal before capturing the video. You never want to capture video of very bloody animals or an animal with entrails hanging out. I cannot stress enough of how important it is to clean up your game before you start to video. If you wanting video of your game where you found it lying, always video at an angle where you do not capture large amounts of blood.
Editing your own hunting videos is fun and easy
Now that you have cleaned up your animal and positioned it appropriately, grab your weapon and get behind the animal as if someone was taking your picture and start recording. At this point, recap what happened by telling your audience the details of your hunt. It’s always nice to know the where, when and how details as a good reference. Once you have finished covering the details, add in some final closing remarks. Also, remember to take a few pictures as well, as pictures can be edited into your videos.
And now the most important tip I can give you… Remember to hit the record button! Don’t laugh, on a few occasions I have actually hit the record button twice and not realized that I had actually turned off the recording. That makes for some real bad video.
Until next time, keep those cameras rolling!
High On The Hog
by Mike Ray
Bow hunting for forty plus years, I’ve seen a lot of crazy things while hog hunting. Most hunters hunt season to season and sit back and wait for it to all roll back around. For my wife and I, the seasons never end. Living in Texas there is always something to hunt. We take pride in being able to hunt year-round and we do just that from deer, hogs, turkey to exotics. Between the two of us we shoot a lot of animals especially hogs! Including my annual “Boar Bash” and my wife Heather’s, annual all girl hunt “Pig War”. Hogs cause a lot of problems for farmers and ranchers all across the state. We try to do our part in helping maintain the population in our areas by taking out the time to do hog setups and hunting throughout the summer months. We keep feeders and game cameras going year-round to try and pattern these elusive critters.
For me, whitetails are one of my favorite animals to hunt and hogs run a close second to bear hunting. Heather, on the other hand would rather hunt hogs over anything! Crazy, huh? All in all wild hogs can be some of the toughest, smartest animals you can hunt. I’ve hunted them for many years, and every time I go out it seems like a different hunt. A lot of the time we can have them coming in every afternoon at a certain time and when you go sit there, wind blowing in your face nothing shows up, this drives me crazy! When it does come together like you want it to, it’s priceless. One of the most impressive bow shots I’ve made on a hog was when Heather and I were hunting in Red River County, Texas. We were walking through the woods with our camera man following closely behind, we saw a big boar walking slowly through the pines feeding along a dried up creek bed. I pulled out the range finder to see just how far he was. I ranged him at exactly sixty yards on the dot! The hog was perfectly broadside to us and I thought to myself “I have to try this shot”. I drew back my bow and waited for the perfect shot, slowly the hog turned slightly just enough for a quartering away shot.
I set my sixty-yard pin in slightly in the back of the rib cage and released the beautiful Gold Tip arrow. It hit the spot perfectly and the hog bolted off only going a few feet and before dropping. It was down for the count and I was super excited to make such a perfect shot at that distance, to watch him fall in sight was a bonus.
Like I’ve always said, pound for pound hogs are the toughest critters on earth! A lot of people question us on what bowhunting equipment we use to effectively kill so many wild hogs. The main thing you need to know is using the proper broadhead on your arrow, what I mean by this is you want a good cut on contact head like the Magnus two blade Black Hornets or the two blade Buzz Cuts. I shoot a 60lb. Xpedition Denali and Heather shoots a 40lb. Xplorer SS. Shooting a good medium to heavy arrow with a good fixed two blade, you can’t go wrong. With our T.V. show, The “Wild” Life TV we get a lot of shots on film and it always amazes me to watch Heather’s bow setup do what it does at such a light poundage. Over the years I’ve tried all types of heads and like I said nothing beats a fixed two blade. I’ve been doing this bowhunting thing for a long time and between the both of us combined we have 45 years of experience and we’ve seen a lot of crazy things. Just a few tips, some of the best setups for hunting hogs is a lot like your setups for hunting whitetail; from a stand or a blind.
Spot and stalk is a lot of fun but I really like it when the hog comes to me. I guess the older I get the less I want to go chasing after them. My preference is hunting out of tree stands a lot more than ground blinds but if the hogs are coming in, I will hunt out of whatever. Heather prefers the ground blinds. I like being up in a tree it seems to give more advantage, as I’m able to see all around me, plus you can feel the breeze of the wind and not get so hot as you do in the ground blinds. Also, hunting during the summer months, you better carry a good thermacell with you or good insect repellent. When hunting these wild creatures you will really need to pay attention to the wind; hogs have a very good sense of smell. Another good tip is to stay clean and as scent free as you can! We use a lot of the 3D Hunting Supply product. They have a great cover scent and some great attractants as well. I like to use the cedar cover scent and the sweet corn attractant in the areas we hunt. Hope some of this helps out and remember if you have more questions PM us on The “Wild” Life TV Facebook page or email us at email@example.com
Good Hunting To Ya! TWL TV firstname.lastname@example.org
Public Land Palmetto Hogs
by Steve Parker
I had never heard a sound exactly like the one I was hearing. I’ve heard hogs squeal and grunt from just yards away when I was stalking them in thick brush or the swamp but this sounded like one who was already in a bad mood, had gotten into an electric fence and wasn’t happy about it. I got up a couple of hours before daylight and made the 20-mile drive from my home to Eglin Air Force Base, to a spot where some friends and I had been seeing some hog sign. Unfortunately, other hunters were savvy to the fact that this area was holding a large concentration of hogs. I was the first one in the woods and hoped that other hunters wouldn’t intrude on my area. I eased down the old, dim logging road just as light was breaking, thinking that I might be able to surprise some late feeders. There were large areas that looked like they had been torn up by a garden tiller and tracks of all sizes but no hogs were in the immediate area. I stopped in a small bottom by the creek and sat down to wait for good daylight and to listen and look for any hogs that might still be up and moving. I have been able to get in between them and their bedding places many times before, but it didn’t work on this morning. It had been an unusually warm winter even for North West Florida and my friends and I had been seeing a lot of tracks on the roads and the higher elevations.
Hogs in the area seemed to be going back in the thick creek swamps long before we could get to them. The Eglin Military Reservation encompasses thousands of acres of habitat varying from upland pine plantations to dense creek bottoms. There are lot of different ways to hunt, but I dearly love stalking hogs in the thicker stuff. I started working my way around the hillside bordering the creek; there were a lot of oaks and palmettos that hogs love to feed under, around and sometimes use as bedding areas. I feel most at home and happiest easing my way along the little pockets in the sharp bends of the creek, sometimes it takes me a half hour to cover 50 yards. I’ve never been one to sit still, which is why this sort of hunting appeals to me. I don’t have to get in a hurry and if I feel good about an area I can sit down for 20 minutes to listen and look and when I tire of it, I’m off again.
Wild Hog taken by Steve Parker using a Ruger No-3 single shot in 45/70 and a Ruger BlackHawk revolver in .357 magnum.
I saw large clumps of the waist tall palmettos flattened down in the centers where hogs had obviously been bedded and a lot of tracks with the sand still clinging to the pine needles that were stepped on while the dew was still on the ground. At least I was fairly dry this morning. I’ve come home wet to the knee’s or waist and even soaked from falling in a creek or old slough. I took about two hours to work my way completely around the bends of the creek to the springs where it started but absolutely no luck. As I walked back to the truck there were actually hog tracks inside of my tracks from earlier, this time they were pretty big. I got to my truck and stopped to drink a bottle of water. That was when I heard the commotion in the section of woods across the road. I thought about hunting that section several times but it was so thick that I figured on coming back with my 12-gauge and some .000 buckshot. My favorite rifle is a Ruger No-3 in 45/70. I took quite a bit of ribbing from my friends about hunting with a single shot cannon, and maybe it wasn’t the best thing for hunting hogs up close but I dearly love it. I carry a .357 on my hip which I figured was fine for some backup. The hogs sounded like they were a couple hundred yards from where I was but the creek made several twists and turns and it was hard to tell. I had to back out through the bushes to get to the area next to the road, inside it opened up a little, but not much. I started moving towards the sound that I’d heard; I really went into what I call slipping mode.
I stood in a spot for a couple of minutes trying to spot a route toward them with the fewest bushes and dead wood before I took another step. It took me at least 20 minutes to cover the distance to the point that I had initially heard them. I kept hearing them a little but it seemed that they were moving further away. I figured that they were headed for the safety of the creek and I thought that by skirting around the edge of the hill I might could cut them off. The trail didn’t open very much and was hard going, I could still hear them squealing and crashing around but never could catch a glimpse.
The thicker it was and the closer I got, the slower I moved. It was taking a couple of minutes just to cover five yards. The sounds got so close at times that I lay down and crawled under bushes and limbs to stay as quiet as I could, to hopefully be able to spot them under the brush or just a glimpse of legs would have made me feel better. The problem I was having was that they weren’t staying still, they were feeding along slowly but moving faster than I could. (Because they didn’t have to worry about the noise they were making.) I always try to configure the wind but wind currents were swirling, and the changes in direction I was making wasn’t helping matters. Luckily, the hogs were so occupied with their feeding and socializing that they weren’t paying attention. I knew that time was working against me because sooner or later they’d probably get my scent and bolt into the creek bottom. The only reason that I can think of, as to why they already hadn’t spooked, was they felt safer during the day rather than early and late when the hunters were most active. Judging from the sound I had to be no more than rock throwing distance from them but they were in the palmettos and I just couldn’t see them. As I crawled, I kept thinking that sooner or later I was going to round a bush and come snout to snout with a big angry hog. I hadn’t heard any sounds that I would think came from smaller ones so I figured it was a group of boars.
Finally, I found a small spot where I could straighten up some and get on one knee and see a few gaps in the foliage. After all this time, I actually caught glimpses of hair and hide but couldn’t see enough of one for long enough to get a shot. Eventually, a large, dark hog stepped out of the palmetto fronds long enough for me to squeeze off a shot. The big slow slug knocked him back into the thicket and out of my sight. I reloaded faster than I’d ever have thought I could, only to miss a shot at a large spotted hog.
Another one sped by before I could get off another shot. I could hear squealing and thrashing in the bushes and approached carefully to find that I’d fired high and broken his back. I don’t know if he was trying to get to me on his front legs or if I was just in the direction that he was trying to flee to, but I drew the .357 and aimed between his eyes and fired; I was very surprised when he didn’t go down. I fired 2 more times and finally put one in the hog’s ear and he dropped. I’ve got to admit that I got very excited and if I ever get to the point that I don’t then I will consider it will be time for me to stop hunting.
As usual, the first thing I did after I made sure he was dead was call the Advising Editor of this magazine to let him know what had happened. Luke Clayton and I have been long range friends for years and he is largely responsible for me getting started in this great sport. I must admit that he is very gracious considering that I’ve awakened him at some very early hours in the past. With the hog on the ground, the enormity of the job ahead of me really sank in. Due to the nature of the stalk I wasn’t really any farther from the truck than when I started but it would be a long haul getting him back to it; that’s when friends come in handy. I called an old friend who doesn’t live all that far away and he and another hunter volunteered to come and help with the drag.
I field dressed the boar and sat down to wait for my help to arrive. While I was admiring my kill, I was reminded of the stories that I’d heard about the biologists importing some true Russian or European wild boar back in the 60’s. They released them to interbreed with the feral hogs that already existed in the wild. This young boar more closely resembled those imports. When my friend arrived, he had his 14-year-old daughter in tow, she insisted on doing her part in the drag. Her determination gained her 10 to 15 yards before she had to let one of us take over. Together we managed to get the hog loaded and made the trip to my neighbors’ home to use his cleaning station, which was equipped with a gambrel attached to a boat winch. This rig saves a lot of sweat and muscle ache. Without scales we estimated around 200 pounds which I’m comfortable with and it made for a lot of tasty sausage for everyone.
When I was skinning the head to remove the tusks I found what was left of one of the .357 bullets that I’d fired. The bullet had separated and flattened out without even piercing the skull. I learned that although the round will do what is asked of it, it would be necessary to spend a little more on a higher quality and better constructed bullet to do the job in the future.
This hunt really highlights why I love the sport of pursuing hogs so much. There are so many ways to enjoy it but stalking them on public land where they are already educated to hunting and getting close enough to make the shot is always the most challenging and rewarding to me and will always be my favorite. Nothing gets my heart beating faster and gives me so much satisfaction.
The Elusive Boar
by Joshua Berckenhoff
Through the years of hog hunting there has always been someone that mentions a monster boar hog, or the newly termed “hogzilla”. That is not referring to the average 200 pound boars, but those that range in the 300 pounds plus range. As with anything that comes from a story, it has always been that, just a story. The same has been true with hunting tales told around campfires, the size of the animals increases substantially. Then more recently with the introduction of better phones, cameras, and so on, pictures began surfacing of boar hogs that could only be dreamt of; the ones that could come out of nightmares. The ones that could be heard as attacking people in their own backyards. As with anything, the pictures started being questioned. Are those truly ‘wild’ boars, or have the pictures been altered to appear as though they were monster boars?
With the introduction of better, more advanced trail cameras, it has become possible to search for these monster boars with very little intrusion. The trail cameras ability to last longer on batteries, store more photos on SD cards, and in some cases, send photos directly to phones, it has allowed hogs to resume normal routines without people invading their core areas. Soon, trail pictures began surfacing of supposedly large boar hogs. Though as with most pictures, a hog can look significantly larger than it really does when viewed with the human eye. To worsen matters, a typical hog can have fur that can be as long as four inches, thus appearing to add a lot more weight than what is truly there. Remove all the fur from these hogs, and a one that looks to be 200 pounds is actually in true weight 150 pounds. Then comes the hunter based photos that can be posed to make any game animal bigger than it really is.
Everyone has seen the photos of the hunter with a deer that appears to score in the 170’s but in reality, scored in the 140’s. The same can be said for large boar hogs. A boar that weighs 150 pounds, with proper stance, and hunter position, can make it appear 250 to 300 pounds. Some of the larger boars in hunter based photos have also come out of high fenced areas in which the hogs are in a more controlled setting.
Often times some of the boars are cut and released, only to gain weight and become larger than average. In the past few years, the hunter fascination has turned to seeking the true monster boars; not the ones in pens or controlled areas, but those that thrive in the wild, and are ghost like. True monster boars that are only seen once on a trail camera, in passing during a hunt, or never seen because they move under cover of darkness.
There have been shows produced over the past few years either shedding light on a large boar killed such as “Hogzilla”, while other shows devoted some time to searching for these large boar hogs through advanced techniques. The common factors in a lot of the monster boars lies in their ties to domestic pigs. Feral hogs have crossed with domestic hogs that escaped, creating larger than average hogs. Domestic pigs add length and size that an average wild hog doesn’t often achieve because they remain short and stocky. Thus, the search for a true monster boar hog is still at large; that one boar hog that is a true offspring of two feral hogs. It is not to say they don’t exist, or pictures that someone may have just have not surfaced yet. So, over the past couple of years, I have decided to do my own search for a monster boar. With access to hog rich properties on rivers, creeks, and places known to produce large hogs, the hunt was on. The best place to start was my home place. It has a creek that runs through the middle of the property, and is seldom disturbed. I’ve spent the past few months vigorously trapping on it, while our neighbor to the south was trapping as well. Between us, we’ve caught roughly fifty to sixty hogs in a four-month time span. I spent countless hours looking for prime hog trails, fence crossing, wallows, and anything to show me that hogs frequented the area. Once I had settled on an area I considered prime for hog activity, I placed the camera and waited. I then implemented the same technique on the other two properties.
The second property of choice rested on the Colorado River. It was an area of heavy brush, open native grasslands, multiple tanks, and many drainage sloughs that could barely be crawled into. The property was only accessed by three members of the family, and seldom had any intrusions on it. To the east was a property that consisted of old gravel pits and heavy brush. No activity existed on the property, and the owner lived in Florida. I considered this a suitable bedding area for sounders to stay cool and hide. To the west was a property that consisted of minor groves of brush, hayfields, and a sixty-acre cornfield. I was certain that an area of this nature had to be home to a monster boar. Next, I was off to the third and final property.
The third property is what could seem an odd to place a bait and camera trap to catch a photo of a monster boar. However, this is another area that is owned by members of my family. It consists of five tanks, a pasture of scattered mesquites, while the rest is open multi-use farm land. I have an active feeder in the area of the scattered mesquites, and have had multiple pictures of a sounder of hogs. For an area of mostly open grassland used for cattle, the hogs were abundant. So, with an abundance of hogs, why couldn’t there be a possibility of a monster boar? I used the feeder, added a bait pile, and placed the camera. All the cameras stayed out for months, and I followed a strict set of rules when it came to checking the cameras or replenishing bait piles. Seldom did I return to the area more than twice a week, and spent no more than five minutes at the site I had the cameras. I often walked a fair distance just to avoid running any kind of vehicle or ATV directly up to the area and risk the noise spooking any hogs. Over the few months, I have collected hundreds of pictures of hogs of every size, and color imaginable. Entire sounders would show up in the pictures, while other times it would be solitary, average sized boar hogs. This continued with minimal hopes of catching any sort of monster boar on camera. "Another month or so had passed, when I received a call from a friend of mine that has been trapping hogs for years. The conversation had gone directly to a hog that he went to load out of trap. The landowner specifically called him to explain it was a large hog. As usual when we receive these types of calls, we often shrug at the large hog because they are never that large. Except, when he had entered the property this time, he noticed a large black hog running across the pasture. He proceeded to the trap only to find it had been broke into pieces.
These were custom built traps by a fabricator and welder, not the everyday box trap that can be purchased at the local stores. This boar had completely broken out one side of the trap, all in roughly an hour timeframe. The conversation lasted a while, and ended with joking that we should try to catch this large boar. Three weeks later, I retrieved the cards from the cameras on all three properties, and started going through the pictures. It was going through all of those pictures that I had finally caught a photo of a hog bigger than I have ever seen in any of the areas. With having cameras in three different counties, on three properties with considerably different habitats, the location of this hog surprised me. I had contacted my friend, sent him the photo, and with his forty years of hunting and trapping hogs, agreed that this hog was tipping 300 pounds or more. As it turns out, this hog could have easily been the one that escaped the trap. As it turns out, I didn’t have to go far to look for a monster boar. This boar was right in my back yard, no more than 250 yards from the house.
I studied the pictures hard. The size of this boar was threefold in comparison to the rest of the sounders he occasionally travelled with. This is the hog that hunters with hog dogs could certainly lose dogs on. This is the boar that only travels at night, and is never on the camera longer than a span of twenty seconds. After all the months of searching, I have made it a point to try every possible trick to catch this boar alive. Boars of this size and nature, as with any animal, are difficult to catch. With any luck, in the next few months I will be sharing pictures of this boar, along with a definite weight. In no way is this article meant to take anything away from those that have taken large boar hogs. I have just made it my own mission to capture a monster feral boar hog, alive.
By: Jerry Lambert
Nineteen-year-old Quinn Tyson does what a lot of Michigan college students do when reared in a hunting family. He returns to his home in Mecosta County for Thanksgiving break and goes deer hunting. Quinn attends Alma College and is a sophomore guard on the basketball team. Sunday night was going to be his last opportunity to hunt during the rifle season. Quinn told his father, Jeff, that he was only going to shoot if it was a big buck because he had to return to school the following morning. Tyson didn’t see his wished for big buck but never-the-less had a very exciting evening. “I went to one of my favorite stands next to a huge cattail marsh. It’s been a good spot for big bucks over the years. The first animal that I saw was big and black and coming through the marsh. I originally thought that it was a big buck but eventually I saw more of it and could tell that it had a more rounded shape and wasn’t a deer. I then thought that it must be a black bear. Eventually, I could tell that it was actually a very big pig. I was really confused. I thought; why is that on the property? I remembered reading that the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wanted hunters to shoot wild pigs, so I knew that the giant hog would be legal to shoot.”
“He looked very big so I started shaking: I guess it was pig fever. He walked up out of the marsh onto a ridge, one hundred yards away and I prepared to shoot him. He was broadside for a second but then turned and walked quartering away from me. I tried grunting to make him stop but he kept moving. He then moved into an opening and I took a shot. He seemed to just absorb the bullet and went behind a tree for about thirty seconds, he then walked out all hunched up. I took a second shot and at that point he dropped to the ground, I was very excited and called my dad.” t
Quinn’s dad said, “I was surprised to hear Quinn shoot because he said that he was only going to shoot a big buck. When Quinn called with news that he had just shot a huge hog, I was as surprised as anyone would be and wanted to get over to where he was and see it for myself. The wild hog was indeed big. Jeff wanted to get it weighed so the father/son duo took it to Jeff’s uncle who owns MacKersie Brother Custom Butchering and Processing to weigh it on a certified scale. Field-dressed the hog weighed in at 277 pounds which would likely have had a live weight exceeding 300 pounds. Tyson mentioned that despite having trail cameras out on the property, the family never knew that the hog was there. Jeff said, “I remember seeing what looked like possible rooting in some pine trees but dismissed it as being turkey scratching. There was also a good portion of the corn field where the stalks were knocked down but I thought that was probably caused by raccoons.”
Quinn’s big boar sports some equally big tusk. Jeff measured the upper tusk from where they first come out of the jaw line at four and a quarter inches and two and a half inches long. He says that the lower tusk each measured around one and a half inches. According to the Michigan Department of Resources website it is estimated that feral swine currently number between one to three thousand animals. It goes on to state that feral swine have been spotted in seventy-two of Michigan’s eighty-three counties.
Jeff called the United States Wildlife Services and they sent biologist Nate Newman to investigate. Via a phone conversation, Nate told me, “Quinn’s boar had very pronounced top tusk, the largest I’ve ever seen in Michigan. The state has an Invasive Species Order, you don’t even need a hunting license to kill the non-native species. There are wild pigs scattered across the state and I’m trying to eliminate them, and I have confirmed two other wild pigs in Mecosta County earlier in the week. Feral swine compete with native wildlife and can be very damaging to the ecosystem. They also host many diseases including classic swine fever, pseudorabies, influenza and brucellosis. If anyone in Michigan has a problem with feral swine please call Wildlife Services at 517-336-1928. All reports are investigated.”
(Author Jerry Lambert has published four books including Trophy White Tales, The Hunting Spirit, North of Wrong: A Luke Landry Novel and South Heaven. All available through Amazon or at the authors Facebook page: Jerry Lambert Author.)