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Hunting pigs from blinds in South Texas

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Unread 04-23-2008, 11:33 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Granbury, Texas
Posts: 321
Hunting pigs from blinds in South Texas

One of the things in life that is certain is that hunting in South Texas brush is not your typical walk and stalk country. The sage, mesquite and other underbrush can grow so thick that the only way to get through it is on your hands and knees and follow the game trails. Most every bush, tree, animal and insect in South Texas has thorns, stickers, fangs, stingers and teeth, and each can be deadly in its own right. Chasing game through this thick brush is not something that many would do. The chance of coming face to face with wild hogs, cougars, deer and of course the rattle snake, makes this activity a puckering experience. I have done this only a few times after retrieving an animal for a client or guest and only because it was a first animal shot with a rifle or a really good trophy. I do not regularly condone shooting animals and not retrieving them, but when it comes to the numerous hogs that we hunt, well, the varmints, ants and buzzards have to eat as well. Just to set the record straight here, we have about a 95% success rate of retrieving our animals with this regular group of hunters.

So if you can’t walk and stalk, then how do you hunt this South Texas brush country? Some ride around in High Rack vehicles, basically an elevated stand on wheels. Others may walk our set up in ambush at intersection of Senderos ( don’t know the true meaning of this Spanish word, but it’s a cleared path or road, typically running straight across a property and periodically intersecting each other to allow for easier access to the property). These Senderos can be quite long at times and offer some long range shooting for those experienced in that form of hunting. But the most common form of hunting is from an elevated stationary stand, usually positioned at an intersection of two or more Senderos. These elevated ambush points are usually accompanied with feeders to help stop the pigs in order to allow the hunter time to acquire his target and fire. It always amazes me how fast the feral hog moves from one place to another. With a Sendero typically only twenty to twenty five yards wide, a hog will only give you a three to five second window to see it, get on target and fire, hence the feeders to stop them long enough to shoot. Even with a feeder there to stop the pigs, they never seem to stop moving. Patience and a decisive mind play a big part in a successful pig hunter with these circumstances.

So now that you can picture some of the country and understand the terrain better, let’s go hunting. On the place I usually hunt, we start waking up the hunters around 5 A.M. The feeders generally go off at 7 A.M. and depending on how many are hunting and where, we have to leave the camp by 6 A.M. As we drop off each hunter, we have portable feeders secured to the trucks receiver hitches and a switch ran into the cab to supplement the feeders by feeding the roads. This is commonly referred to as, ringing the dinner bell. After the drop off vehicle is gone, its time to settle into awaiting the awaking of the world. To me, this is one of the best parts of the day. As the sun begins to rise in the East, the shadow animals that you have been watching begin to retreat into the brush, to be replaced with the real thing. The birds and deer begin to move and if you watch them carefully, they will alert you to the approaching pigs. Pigs don’t move quietly through the South Texas brush. And when they appear on scene, they appear in a hurry and usually there are several of them together. Each pig is constantly moving, eating up each kernel of feed, as fast as they can, before the others pigs get to it. Between the crunching of the feed, to the squeals and rooting around, even in the pitch black of night, you will know where they are.

So now it’s light enough, you have pigs in front of you and the biggest sow finally stops to sniff the wind or look down the Sendero. The safety gets slipped to fire, you release your breath, you slowly start applying pressure to the trigger when your buddy in the next stand fires and scatters every pig in front of you into the brush. What, you think this is like shooting fish in a barrel. Its ok, they may come back or another group may come in from another area. The one thing for sure, is that if you have the patience, another opportunity will present itself. Besides this will give you a little time to think of the things you will do to your buddy for messing up your hunt.

One more thing, shot placement. As I started this tale off about tracking pigs into this brush it is no fun at all and can be down right dangerous.

Three words; Central Nervous System.

Head, neck or spine shots are great for planting these animals right where they stood. I have seen small pigs nearly cut into, run 20 to 30 yards into the brush trying to keep up with the herd. Pig’s anatomies have the heart and lung more forward behind the shoulders. Double lunging a pig can guarantee a difficult tracking job and a high probability of loosing your trophy. Some of the larger boars will have a shield over there front shoulders (a thick layer of skin and scar tissue that builds up over years of fighting and running through this brush). This shoulder shot placement is not recommended. Even if you penetrate through this shield and leg bone , it more than likely will not have an exit wound and that will minimize the external bleeding to make it even more difficult for tracking, remember, thorns , stickers, fangs and teeth.

If you get a chance to get to South Texas to hunt these wiley critters, shoot as many as you can or your host will allow. I promise we will make some more. These are some prolific reproducers and with plenty of forage, in just a few months, Mother Nature will replace what you killed. Wild feral pigs are also, some very fine eating. Only a few of the big, actively breeding boars are not fit to eat. Smaller, young boars and even some of the larger non- breeding boars and sows will be good to eat. You will know when you take down a breeding boar, he will have a smell you won’t forget and is unlike all the other pig smells you will encounter. The sows are good to eat unless the forage is bad and her piglets have sucked her down to where she is emancipated. I like the 20 to 30 pound ones to put on the pit whole. We have cooked whole pigs up to 80 pounds and they were finger licking good.

Remember when in Rome do as the Romans would do. When in South Texas, shoot as many pigs as you can, as fast as you can. We do.
Founding member of the 7MM STW Club
Member Texas Cull Hunters Association
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Unread 04-24-2008, 10:23 PM
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 6,517
Excellent info, thanks much!
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Unread 04-25-2008, 10:01 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Texas
Posts: 7,232

I live in south texas also and do about the same thing as you.

If we want to eat them we go for 100lbs or less and the little
pigs (10 to 30lbs) are great cooked whole on the pit as you

If we want or see a skull mount then we go for a big tusker
300lbs +.

To control the population (almost impossible) we take the
big sows. and as you said some of them are still edible.and
make great ground meat to add to your venision sausage.

We head shoot all hogs except the big boars that we want to
skull mount for obvious reasons and neck shoot them.

During the summer mounth's most of the wild hogs have lots of
parasites and are not kept for eating.

In texas to control the deer population there is a program called
LAMPS that the parks and wildlife department literally goes out and
kills dozens of deer and buries them to prevent disease and they will
tell you to shoot every hog you see because a wild hog can have
3 litters of 10 to 15 a year and they are normaly about 50% male
and 50% female and start breading by 6 mounth's of age.

So kill every one you see and you still wont hurt the population.

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Unread 04-30-2008, 11:57 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 2,598
Pigs are a great way to hunt in year round and keep your hunting skills honed
range it,check the wind, dial in correction, aim and only one shot
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Unread 05-03-2008, 01:41 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Huntsville Tx
Posts: 131
Here's a couple from this week.

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Unread 05-03-2008, 06:43 PM
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Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Granbury, Texas
Posts: 321
Cockcroft, those are some nice pigs.
Founding member of the 7MM STW Club
Member Texas Cull Hunters Association
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Unread 08-03-2008, 09:25 PM
Bronze Member
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: South Texas
Posts: 55
There is something wrong with this posting/subject…there are not enough people shooting these feral hogs!!!! This post runs for several years and as of late Texas is spending taxpayers money to hopefully minimize the risk of spreading disease by transporting feral hogs for slaughter, etc. I believe the amount was in the millions (…who cares? It’s only government money isn’t it?). These hogs are now venturing into urban areas tearing up anything in their path. I believe a portion of the money spent is to visit the idea and methods of population reduction.

Trying to stay one step ahead of these cloved-hoofed cockroaches is a full time endeavor. The 2-2-2 time period (2 months, 2 weeks, 2 days) is the approximate gestation period. One female has 9 pigs and breeds again in a few weeks…do the math.

We trap all year round and shoot on sight. It is my anecdotal belief if one keeps after them for an extended period (1 to 2 years) and really keeps the heat on these animals they will sense the void of fellow feral hogs on a given property, become nervous and keep going. There is always a young boar that we find tracks after a rain shower wandering down roads or senderos. If they have any trap savvy, it makes it that much harder.

Read the gentleman’s initial post and one will surmise this country is thick with brush. You can drive down a ranch road and not even see them unless they cross in front of you.

My friends that shoot them and bring back to eat, carry a flea killer in a big spray bottle and douse it down, let it soak, roll it over and treat it again before loading it in a truck. If you don’t just cleaning one, you will have ticks and fleas all over you…once they are in your hair, etc, you motivation for the meat quickly wanes.

Another gentleman referred to the LAMPS program in Texas and, as I understand, made reference to the TPWD (Texas Parks & Wildlife Department) killing and burying deer to prevent disease.

I would sincerely recommend double-checking this program. Here is a link to the TPWD website that pertains to the LAMPS program; http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us/business/permits/land/wildlife_management/lamps/

Read it yourself and see what you think. My personal recommendation before you kill and bury any deer would be to first get a certified letter (procured with the help of your state senator and representative, all with their signatures thereon) from your local game warden with his permission to kill and bury deer on your place with everyone’s signature from the game warden to the governor on it.

I am not being silly, but I would sincerely discourage any “waste of game” as it is a violation of the law. If you shot a deer that you presumed to be diseased in Texas (or wherever else) I would encourage you to call a game warden or TPWD biologist to verify and allow them to act on the diseased wild animal.

What was the disease? CWD?

Now quit reading this, turn off your computer and get 60 of your friends to go kill 40 feral hogs today…and get them to get 60 of their friends to kill 40 feral hogs and kill…
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