As some of you know,
I spent last week in south and central texas hunting feral hogs with pbgso, my second time this year with them.
I flew in on tuesday march 23rd from IAD (Washington DC) to SAT (San Antonio). I stayed for 4 full days plus two "travel" days and hunted 4 different ranches.
We had no luck on the first three, didnt find any pigs or fresh tracks on the first and second, then the third my dad spotted some hogs, but they winded us and after 3hrs of chasing them around a thicket with my long range 300 win mag, gave up and went back to the lodge. Small tip, bringing a backpack is a GOOD IDEA, i had my rangefinder, handgun, knife, and ammo wallet all hanging from my belt. That is very annoying.
That evening the weather went down the crapper. Went from 75-80F during the day to 50s, HAIL, raging wind, and rain that evening. So spent the evening relaxing in the lodge and went to bed early because we were going to move since it the ground had the constitency of ketchup.
After a 1.5hr car ride to a 2,500acre ranch called the "anchor ranch" (Clay Pope and his wife live on this ranch) we arrived and it had apperently not rained at all or maybe a quick shower the day before. The ground was dry and it was sunny.
We hunted this ranch for the remaining days. Before i go into the hunting on this ranch, i just want to say how accomondating the guys at Pope Brothers Guide and Outfitting Service are. I had known them from a previous hunt over thanksgiving and Micah (their guide) had known about my love for long range shooting. So, they had practically a small forest cut down so i could see this feeder the pigs had been hitting real good from a "near by" mountain. Heck, they had even gotten rid of the pointy rocks and cut the brush infront of my shooting spot at the side of a mountain road. Now that is customer service!!!
The weather and even the moon were really fighting against long range pig hunting however. It was really hot during the day so the pigs stayed bedded up and the moon was bright at night, but still, shooting near 400yards at night is hard, even with a nightforce. So we tried putting up some LED lights at the feeder (red filter, not powerful) but didnt see any pigs that night, even though the area below the feeder was bright enough to shoot at.
The next day was spent as usual, shooting a 1200yard cliff that resembled a square right off the front porch (awsome for a virginia guy like me where i have to travel and travel to shoot beyond 400) and then riding around in the truck with the 44mag and 300 win mag glassing for pigs.
The second night out, a cold front moved in, and it was REALLY chilly, didnt get a temp reading but 50s, MAX. 10minutes after getting into the spot, a real porker came out under the feeder. Micah called him a "monster" and when the guide says that, you get excited. he was jst shy of being as long as the feeder legs are wide, 300lb+ probably. Well, after trouble seeing him and finaly getting the spotlight set so i could see him well enough to take the shot, boom, then 25minutes later, looked like he was back, boom, then two more than night. Went down to check, no blood, but also no bullet impacts in the dirt... so thought i had hit, went to sleep with an uneasy feeling that night. Next morning went back and searched all over, nothing. So went back to the spot and recreated the shot (set up a target right under the feeder), shot 6 shots and went to go look, not one hole in the target, what the heck?? So looked at the scope, and there i see it, one revolution high, that really put a damper on things for me... problem with that nightforce, Ed Shell (E.Shell on LRH) had so graciously lent to me was that the turret goes through so many turns without actually LOOKING a turn high, my other scope, a falcon optics 4-14 FFP the turret is visibly higher after a turn. Anyway, thankfully no other long rangers and my dad hadnt seen any pigs so i didnt get grilled back at camp, too badly
That evening Clay must have noticed i was pretty down in the dumps, and told my dad and I we can shoot a couple axis does free of charge if we see any. This was a really generous offer and once again shows that this isnt just some money making operation but guys who really love what they're doing and try to make your hunt exactly what you want. Sure enough, saw a big doe the following day. We drove past it, got out snuck back and got first blood on my new 300 win mag. A 210 VLD at 2900fps vs a axis doe at 170yards does some serious damage! The first shot would have dropped it, but advice from the site was going through my mind and she was still up looking around for WTF just nearly knocked her off her feet, then she saw me, BOOM this one took out the right shoulder joint and sent her flying off her feet, down for the count.
The final evening, decided to hunt a stand together with my dad since he couldnt shine the light and shoot at the same time, so we built a brush blind next to the box blind my dad was in. Saw several pigs that night and one good sized boar, but my dad was shooting a loaner rifle and couldnt see them, after 45minutes or so of lighting up the pigs with the spotlight, first with a red filtered light and then with plain white light, they decided it was fishy and left. My dad was PISSED since these were the only pigs he had seen during the hunt, and just couldnt see them. He then told me to hand him the light and me shoot if something comes out. Just before we called the guide to come get us, a racoon came out (i hate racoons, old story from when i was a little kid) so my dad lit him up and i sent a 208gr A-max screaming towards the little bugger. Entrance center between the eyes, exit fist sized just over the tail. Not pretty.
This was really the icing on the cake for my dad, he spent 30minutes trying to see a 250lb dog and i shot the coon 2 seconds after the light clicked on
oh well, it was fun, my dad enjoyed it, and is now buying his own rifle and night vision optics because he doesnt like when i outshoot him so obviously.
So the hunt was not OVERLY successful, but hey that's hunting and why i love it. I gave it my best and put in 16-20 hours a day but mother nature, the moon, and my scope conspired against me, what can ya do?
But once again, i just cannot say enough about the hospitality and attention to detail by these guys, oh did i mention Clay's wife Holly cooks better than most restaurants I've been to??
Two more things i didnt mention above was that my dad wanted to hunt with a handgun, but only had his home defence .40 s&w HK USP, not ideal for big hogs. Clay told him let's go to the gunstore, pick one you like and ill buy it, we need another loaner handgun anyway. It was an awsome offer but my dad couldnt accept. The next day, Clay shows up with a Ruger Super BlackHawk .44mag and a box of ammo and says, "will this do it?" wowee my dad and i had fun with that thing! Didnt get to shoot a pig with it, but killed some coke cans and paper. Sure enough, my dad is also planning on buying one of these in the near future...
If your interested in a well priced hog hunt, take a long hard look at Pope Brothers Guide and Outfitting Service (www.pbgso.com
). If your interested in LR (like probably 95% of the people reading this) make sure you say so before hand and what you consider long range. They have spots for 10yards, 100yards, 200, 400, 1000, and further, i have checked them out myself.
Let em know Oliver Lottermann sent ya and say hi to them for me.
Heck, i had such a good time, im going back in June.
Hope i didnt bore you, and no, im not employed my Pope Brothers (wish i was) I'm just a VERY happy customer.