Phil and I decided to go down to participate in Jeff In Texas’ pig hunt at the Big Woods Ranch. First we went to Quantico and checked the rifles and then we packed up the truck with all manner of guns and bullets and headed south and west. It took us two and a half days being as we were in no hurry. We stopped in Tennessee Colony and got our hunting licenses at the store/gas station/sporting goods/restaurant!!!!
After getting checked in we went over to the rifle range to check the rifles and we could not find the paper with the 40X. Finally, it occurred to me that I had been showing a new shooter how to use the dials on the NXS and that I had not demonstrated the art of returning the dials back to zero. So with that problem recognized Phil quickly got it zeroed. I took one shot with the 7mm AM and it was dead on at 100 yards so I got the 240Wby and shot one shot and it cut the 7mm hole so I reckoned it was zeroed too.
About 3:30 they took us out to our stand which was an elevated box with a ladder. We climbed in and it was a little cramped for two people but we had long range openings out to 1230 yards. There were a lot of targets at 1230 yards but they were all the beef cows of the local prison so we didn’t shoot any. About 5:00 some does appeared at about 700 yards and we watched them a little while.
About 5:30 a lone pig appeared out to the woods 200 yards away and headed in our direction. I got up and Phil got in the chair facing the pig and stuck the 40X out the window. By the time we got swapped around the pig had closed down to 100 yards and it was clear it was not coming to the feeder but just passing through. It was not going to stop and I didn’t want Phil to risk a walking shot on it so I tried to whistle and all that came out was a big “whoosh”. I was a little out of practice at whistling and the second time I managed a pitiful squeak but it was not enough to stop the pig. Finally I got a good whistle out and the pig stopped dead still at 81 yards and looked in our direction with its ears up. Phil immediately fired and got a high shoulder hit with the 308 that dropped the pig in its tracks. It was a nice boar that went 203 pounds. The 175 SMK did not exit but did a good job of killing it.
So the first evening on Thursday, we had a very respectable boar and then the weather socked in and we had a lot of low visibility hunting. Finally on Saturday we got a decent day and saw some more pigs. One herd was back in the woods 400 yards away and the brush was so thick that we did not want to attempt to shoot through it. In the evening about 25 pigs came out at 525 yards. I told Phil he could walk down the gravel track and get within 100 yards and kill one but he wanted to try for the 525 yard shot. Because of the location of the pigs there was only one window to work from and I could not help him, so he did all of his own ranging and target selection. He had been studying his drop chart and the NP-R1 reticule and decided to try for a holdover with the reticule rather than dialing up for the shoot. I let him do as he pleased. In the end he learned the hard way, just as I had last Fall with the elk, that ranging a tree and estimating the rest of the way to the animal is something that requires practice and skill. I had agreed with him on the distance behind the tree so I had not learned much either. He was off on his range by about 50-75 yards so all of the pigs got away. He was not unhappy with his miss and felt that it was more important to try long range than to just kill another pig at 100 yards. I was happy that he had a good philosophy about the miss. I should have let him use the 7mm AM being as that is what it was originally developed for and it would have clipped the bottom of the chest of the pig and put it down even with the range error, but he is familiar with the 40X and comfortable with it so that is the way it was, just a clean miss.
The last morning the weather socked back in with ground fog and we saw nothing. I did not ever shoot but that was OK. I had a great time and it is not like I don’t go hunting whenever I want to.
The staff at Big Woods worked very hard to cater to Phil and me and we always had a minimum of 800 yards of range to work with at each stand (except for the ground fog), but as we all know, the animals will appear where and when they choose to appear. Phil got a decent boar at short range and got an important lesson in long range shooting. We were very pleased with our hunt.