Missing Pigs Blog

Missing Pigs

The sun was blistering.  Sweat, mixed with dust, caked my forehead as gnats swarmed in a perpetual frenzy around my face.



It had been a long weekend.



A good weekend to be sure, but I was exhausted.



Carolyn and I had been hunting Tejon Ranch since Friday afternoon.  It was now Sunday, about one in the afternoon and the sun was beginning to turn from pleasant to a furnace.  It would be like this until about four or so, then the cooldown would begin.



We knew our hunt was coming to an end.  We had planned to do one last hunt before heading back home in the early evening.



Typically we hunt in the morning when the nocturnals are returning to their bedding areas, or in the early evening when they are waking up.  This weekend, though, we were hunting wild boar.



These prehistoric monsters couldn’t care less about the heat, or anything for that matter.  Even bullets seem to be more or less nothing but a nuisance to them.



We had each already connected on boars the day before.  Carolyn had taken a dandy from a couple hundred yards out in the early morning, and I had converted a wild animal into personal property in the early afternoon of the same day, roughly at the same time as it was now.  It didn’t seem as hot yesterday, but that might have been my imagination.



We had driven miles over dusty ranch roads, and walked what seemed to be like 20 miles.  This trip we had decided we would each take an opportunity to take two boars a piece.



What I mean by that is two “opportunities”.  If we attempted and failed, that was an “opportunity”.  There would be no “second chances”.  We were hunting, not killing.



Carolyn had spotted some boars earlier in the morning and tried to get on them.  Regardless how hard she tried, she could not get into a position where she could take an ethical shot.  They seemed to be on to us.  Knowing they were being hunted, they formed into a single bio-mass moving as a large grey organism across an open field a few hundred meters away.  Moving from position to position, trying her best to get an open shot, she had finally resigned herself that these pigs had outsmarted her.  She had come off of her scope and sat back watching the cluster of boars crest over a distant hill and out of sight.



“You did the best you could, Turtle.”



Carolyn looked on towards the now empty hillside.



“Yeah.  It was a good hunt.  No question about that, dad.  Would have been nice for a second one, but it is what it is.”



She got up off the ground and pulled the bolt back on her .270 emptying the chamber.



“Okay, Pops… let’s go find you your second pig.”



A few hours later we were coming around a bend when Carolyn stopped me.



“Pops… there are pigs around the corner.  I can smell them.”



We checked the wind and began our stalk.  As we slowly came around the bend in the trail, there they were.  She had been absolutely correct.



In front of us were about 15 or 16 wild boar.  At a mere 30 feet, a 200 plus pound boar stood stoically giving me a perfect… I mean absolutely PERFECT… shoulder presentation.



The wind was blowing directly in our faces, and even with the blistering heat, I knew these monsters had no idea we were there, let alone practically within touching distance of them.



I very, very slowly shouldered my rifle and clicked off the safety.



At this distance the escaping gasses from the rifle would probably be as lethal as the bullet itself.



Even with my scope dialed down to the lowest power, as I shouldered the rifle, the optic was completely filled with pig.  I had to actually pause and confirm that my reticle was on the shoulder.



I pressed the trigger.



The shot rang out and the pigs scattered, including the one I had shot at.



Wild boar, as I mentioned before, seem to be immune to bullets.  Their prehistoric bodies are built with an amazing amount of muscle armor.  Yet, at this distance, the transfer of energy should have at least knocked the damn thing down.



“Hmmm… let’s go see if there is a blood trail.”



“Ummm… yeah Dad… I don’t think there will be.  I saw the bullet impact the ground about three feet in front of the pig.”



“What? !?  I missed?”



“I think so.  It looked like you mashed the trigger.”



She was right.  I had.  I had become so confident in my abilities, compounded by the fact the animal was so close, I had completely abandoned my fundamentals and shot like a novice.



We only secured two pigs that weekend, but we both learned extremely valuable lessons about ethics and humility.



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Comments (6)

  • Gary Ford Reply

    Thank you for sharing this story. Great reminders!

    Also I was thinking that ego has to be checked especially if one is to carry. How many fights have started and ended badly over mere words.

    02/28/2024 at 14:11
  • Ingmar Forster Reply

    Awesome hunting story, love the lesson on mashing the trigger. I’ve gone on a depradation hunt in TX, couple of years ago, and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. Currently I’m looking for wild boar hunting opportunities in CA and will check out the Tejon Ranch based on your story above. Thanks for the writeup.

    02/28/2024 at 14:42
  • Steve Leonard Reply 02/28/2024 at 15:36
  • Howard Wallace Reply

    How was the boar bacon?

    02/28/2024 at 15:52
  • Ben Townsend Reply

    The hunt is not always about the game but the experience. I have gone with my brother in law to upper Michigan during bow season ( Julie got me a crossbow for my birthday) and although we come empty handed I always enjoy the time in the field glassing and briskness of the morning sunrise. Time well spent with your daughter and you both did get a bore.

    02/28/2024 at 16:13
  • Norm Ellis Reply

    No comment LOL. I have seen worse things in my days of hunting. So, don’t feel bad.

    03/04/2024 at 15:11

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