The most incredible place to hunt hogs in california.
I booked a trip this spring with a friend of mine to hunt out of King City about 5 hours north of LA. In California you can have multiple boar tags and in some areas- you need them.
I have hunted boar in Texas scrub country, the Tejon Ranch and now the cattle ranches of our coastal foothills. You can't beat the weather of the coastal foothills and this is prime cattle country. If you like rolling hills full of wild oats and oak trees, then this is your area. California is usually known for 'golden' hills, meaning dead grass. In May however it is a fantastic emerald sea and some of the oats are ripining bringing the hogs out into the open.
We hunted spot and stalk out of an open jeep. I had worked up a load for my friend Dave's 300 win mag with a 165 gr leadless load and it was a little over 3200 fps and set up for some long range hunting. Dave's guide had other ideas and as we found a pod of pigs hanging out under some scrub oak, he walked Dave in to a sitting 35 yard shot. OK not quite long range, but it was a 300lb boar. Pigs were tearing thru the underbrush all around us. My guide was screaming for me to shoot at a running 150lb pig 40 yards from me- but that isn't what I came for. I was carrying my Savage 111, I had rebarrelled into a 25-06 Ackley Improved and I had worked the 120gr loads into 3300fps missles. I also had a 4x16 x 50 tactical scope and I wanted to use it. So I have to admit that the 150 pounder didn't really tempt me, neither did the 100- 130 pounders trying to sneak around us in the brush. So I waited. My guide was mad because I think he had a date and we had only been out for 45 minutes that afternoon so he was already making plans in his head as how the afternoon would go.
We loaded the boar- the hills are so steep and grassy that they are slippery, so you push the game down to where you can drive to it. Then we kept going. We saw pigs on nearly every hill. It was a matter of accessibility and the size of the hogs. California can have some whoppers, but realistically a boar in the 300lb range is a good pig. A 200+ lb sow is also very good. 400+lb boars do exist, but they have to be on a hot sow to bring them out in the daytime.
My shot was over a canyon as the sow was feeding on a ridgeline in oats as tall as her back. She was just under 300 yards. She was moving from my right to my left as she was feeding. She was feeding by just opening her mouth on the tops of the oats and moving side to side. Chew- swallow- repeat. At the shot she had just taken a step and I hit her about mid section. I blew it. I was concentrating on the shot thru the oats, and as I shot she stepped. With the speed only a scared hog has she did a 180 and tore out of there. We caught up to her on a slope thru the next canyon, she was 350 yards out and moving very slowly up the hill. These hills, while not high in elevation are incredibly steep. I pulled the bipod legs down and adjusted my scope. The shot hit the top of her shoulderblade as she was walking away from me. The shot drove accross and thru her engine room and it was lights out immediately. The sow, stiff legged rolled several hundred yards to the bottom of the canyon, sometimes clearing 30 yards or so before hitting the ground again. These hills are steep. On our way out we filled two more tags.
I shot a tiger colored orange/black striped beast and my buddy Dave shot a pit pig. A pit pig is the one you realise you could cook Hawaiian style in the back yard because it is small enough you don't mind digging that size hole. It was a nice pig and not like some 'sock puppets' I have seen people shoot on other ranches.
You can hunt year round in California. Most of the pig hunting areas are in an area ridiculously considered lead free ammo only. Why? Beacuse some cheese heads at the DFG got some other cheese heads to believe that the California Condor was ingesting lead and dying because the condor was eating the offal left behind from hunters. So even upland bird hunting you have to use steel. I don't know about you guys, but most of the time a bullet will go through the animal or stop under the hide on the far side of the shot. If it is under the hide the hunter finds it when he skins the animal at camp or at the butcher shop. The lead free rule is a statist's attempt to make hunting more difficult and costly. The Condors die from drinking antifreeze on the side of the road, I wonder why that is still legal? Enough about the stupid vultures, if you want to hunt hogs and then go wine tasting on the California Coast, contact Nessim Schmidt in King City CA.