Friday, April 17, 2009

Slammin' and Jammin': Hogs in the Long Grass

© 2009, 2010 Albert A Rasch and
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles
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Well my friends, this is the two hundreth post. Enjoy!

"I had the Weatherby stoked with my favorite hog load, the Safari Grade 30/06 ammo from Remington. I would later regret I didn't own a field grade Searcy in 500NE."

amn!" I muttered half under my breath.

The son-ofa-bitch damn near ran me over. Stupid freakin' cow.

The air was oppressively still. You would think, that living on a gigantic peninsula we would have a breeze all the time, but no. I couldn't see squat through the sawgrass, sweat was pouring down my forehead, burning my eyes; my do-rag couldn't keep up with it. I didn't dare take my finger off the trigger or my hand off the fore-end. I could hear it all well enough though, the grunts of the friggen hog, and the snorts of one bull, maybe two. I wished I had my Ruger Vaquero 45LC if not more.

I was burning all over; a million infinitesimal cuts from the sawgrass and the salt from my own sweat where working together to make me feel like I was being skinned. A hundred mosquitoes were having their fill of me at any give moment. Their constant high pitched buzzing was an infernal racket, driving me madder by the moment. I shouldn't move, and I couldn't stand still. There was a bay tree maybe two inches in diameter ten feet to my left. I figured I would head that way.

I carefully pulled one foot from the thin muck, slid it forward parting the grass another ten inches.

I knew that damned bull was somewhere in front of me, and the bull knew I was somewhere ahead of him. How he heard that foot move was something I didn't get to contemplate for long.

Now the question is, how did I get into this particular, yet not infrequent, bind this time?

Well, you see it's like this. I had been promising a friend that I would take him hog hunting for at least a millennium. But you know how things are, something always seems to get in the way. Finally we were able to agree on a day and planned our foray.

I had been feeding the hogs pretty regular, using well fermented and beer basted corn as bait, so I was pretty sure of success, or at least getting him in front of some wild pigs.

I wasn't wrong.

My technique is to figure out how they are getting to the feeding area, and ambush them. That way they don't associate the feeding area with a no hog zone. Some hunters say it doesn't matter, but I would rather be safe than sorry.

My buddy was supposedly a pretty good shot. At least that's what he said. He had an impressive number of whitetail racks at his home so I don't doubt that he can shoot, except he has never shot a wild pig.

He showed up with a Remington 700 sporting a nice 3X9 scope, in 270. Not my favorite cartridge though I have no beef with it. It was the Nosler Ballistic Tips attached to the cartridge that I didn't like. In his defense, he has hunted whitetail in New Jersey his whole life, and the Ballistic Tips were lightning in a cartridge as far as he was concerned. And on deer it is a very effective projectile.

Well I figured that we would limit ourselves to a mid sized hog, and I gave him a good lesson on shot placement.

We left the Hacienda about an hour before dawn, and walked down the rail road tracks a few hundred yards. There's a drainage creek that crosses under the tracks, and about fifty yards in the hogs had made themselves a little crossing area. We set up thirty yards from there where an open patch allowed for plenty of time to shoot. I had brought a couple of burlap bags to sit on and I had my Weatherby with my favorite hog load, the Safari Grade 30/06 ammo from Remington. I would later regret I didn't own a field grade Searcy in 500NE.

What else? A Searcy Double in 500NE
Click for a bigger picture

The sky was starting to lighten up with the sun moments from the horizon, when the pigs started to filter out of the swamps and march their merry way to the Haciendas feed troughs. I put my hand on Ernie's shoulder and pointed to one of the hogs that was now about a third of the way through the opening. I slight nod of the head, and he hunkered down, his finger drifting into the trigger guard.

I was as surprised as the hogs when the shot went off, but instead of a hog dropping on the spot, they were all scattering in every direction. I had my eyes glued to the hog I pointed out, and it went straight through the creek and I lost it as it turned in towards the tracks.

We were already on our feet and after a quick discussion we decided to start where the hog was standing when he pulled on it. Ernie was sure he had a good sight picture, and that the shot was in the breadbasket. I was noncommittal. I figured the Ballistic Tips had been deflected or had failed to penetrate.

We got to the spot the hog had stood at. Using the flashlight I brought with me even though the sun was rising, we found a small amount of blood, what I believed to be some bone fragments, and a bit of hair. The narrow beam of light really helps to focus your vision on a limited bit of real estate. Following the tracks, we found small quantities of blood at regular and steady intervals. They went over the tracks and into one of the neighboring ranches.

Now I have permission to trespass, but I hate to go in without asking permission first. Under the circumstances I forged ahead.

There was a good blood trail, though limited, so I thought we would catch up to this wild pig before too long.

I could see ahead of me that the pig had gone straight for an open swampy area chuck full of sawgrass. I hate that sawgrass, it nicks and scratches you with every touch. But duty called and I was going in after the pig.

What I didn't know, was that this particular patch of Florida swamp was also occupied by a rangey, rank, good for nothing bull.

Ernie was at my heels as we were creeping through the sawgrass. I was getting sliced and diced at every other step, following the blood smears and print holes in the muck, when I heard them.

What I said I can't repeat in mixed company. It's one thing for me to be in a bind risking my neck. It's quite another to put someone else in that position. I stopped and whispered to Ernie to start backing out the way we came. Slowly we made our way back out.

Another quick discussion, and I decided to post him by a palm tree at the other side of the sawgrass, with strict instructions not to shoot into the sawgrass. He could take any shot tangentially to the sawgrass but nothing in. I figured I might push the hog out and he might get a shot.

I went back to the starting point and slid in, keeping low, my finger on the trigger and thumb on the safety. By now the mosquitoes where waking up and joining in the fun.

I was about halfway through when I heard the bull again. The air was still, so it didn't know what was creeping through. But I bet the smell of blood had gotten to his nose, and he was on pins and needles. I was mid-step when he decided to charge the first time; I was not prepared for it. None-the-less I could tell he wasn't sure where I was at and he barreled by me a good six feet away. Unfortunately he didn't cut my trail, otherwise he might of just taken off. A few more feet further on he stopped and blew a huge snort through his nostrils, he must have bumped into the hog because it started squealing and grunting. I was determined not to shoot him because number one, I couldn't afford to pay for him, and number two, I didn't think I could get a proper shot off into him in this mess.

Some bulls do a little skip step when they charge. I learned that when I did a little amateur bull riding. They lift their weight off the front end to launch with the rear; it's a little hesitation, but it's enough to give you enough time to take off, or set up to do the "Matador," and move at the last moment. I've never been a quick sprinter, but I can dodge pretty good.

I heard him, and I waited to take the charge. As he smashed the sawgrass out of his way, I slapped my foot into the muck and braced myself. I needed him to come right at me, so I could dodge him.

I could see the grass parting as he barreled his way towards me. At the last possible moment I threw myself off to my right as 1100 pounds of steak and burgers went flying by me. A loud and thunderous rebel yell left my throat and followed his now obscured tail. Luckily for me he kept going his merry way.

Ernie's quavering voice came across the sawgrass.

"Al...? Al, are you alright?" He always calls me Al. I hate it when he calls me Al.

I was dripping muck and mud. I checked my Weatherby. "Yeah," I hollered back. "I'm fine. Anything come out?" "Just a brown and white cow with horns." He replied. "A bull," I corrected, "that was a bull." I picked up my do-rag from where it was hanging and wiped the mud off the Weatherby before jamming it on my head again.

I doubted that hog had stood still for that show. And I was right. There was a bit of blood where I had heard it last, but after that it just stopped.

Ernie and I kept at it for a few more hours, but at about midday, sore, tired, mosquito bit, and thirsty, I called a halt to the search. I had run out of steam, and I figured BLT sandwiches where waiting at home, calling my name.

Here is what I think may have happened. The bullet clipped the hog's leg and either disintegrated or deflected. That would explain the bone fragments and the limited blood. A solid or controlled expansion bullet like the Winchester Failsafe or Swift A-frame would have plowed straight through and anchored the pig. I was real sorry that we never recovered the hog, and I kept an eye on the skies for several days looking for signs of vultures, but never noticed any.

Best Regards,
Albert A Rasch
Member: Kandahar Tent Club
Member: Hunting Sportsmen of the United States HSUS (Let 'em sue me.)
The Hunt Continues...

The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

Though he spends most of his time writing and keeping the world safe for democracy, Albert was actually a student of biology. Really. But after a stint as a lab tech performing repetitious and mind-numbing processes that a trained capuchin monkey could do better, he never returned to the field. Rather he became a bartender. As he once said, "Hell, I was feeding mice all sorts of concoctions. At the club I did the same thing; except I got paid a lot better, and the rats where bigger." He has followed the science of QDM for many years, and fancies himself an aficionado. If you have any questions, or just want to get more information, reach him via TheRaschOutdoorChronicles(at)MSN(dot)com.

Veteran Paints Lures in Smokin' Hot Colors!

TROC: Helping Bird Rescuers


The Suburban Bushwacker said...

Form is temporary CLASS is forever!
This is why the ROC are the best hunting blog!
Great story telling Albert.
Your fan

The Suburban Bushwacker said...

PS 2-effing-hundred!! Well done, race you to a thou'

Hubert Hubert said...

I got chased by a herd of bullocks last year and it scared the hell out of me and I could jump over a fence and be safe (which I did!). But out in the wilds with no fences? Absolutely terrifying! A good read though, Albert, as ever! Here's looking at the next two hundred.

Phillip said...

Another classic, Albert!

"I was burning all over; a million infinitesimal cuts from the sawgrass and the salt from my own sweat where working together to make me feel like I was being skinned. A hundred mosquitoes were having their fill of me at any give moment. Their constant high pitched buzzing was an infernal racket, driving me madder by the moment." And people wonder why we love hog hunting!

Gun Slinger said...


Are you for real, or are you just BSing? Dude, I wish I could hunt like that. I wouldn't know where to begin.

Really cool story!

Shoot Straight,
Reviewing the Reviews

GoGo said...

Nice story. Good job Albert! Have you ever used dogs on your hunts to help flush out game? I like the Weatherby! Keep at it....


tom said...

Nice story. Swift A-Frames and A-Squares rule at anchoring things. ballistics tips...not so much.

Nice story.


tom said...

Related to above...IMR-4064 and 300 grain .375 Swifts are my recipe for the Monday-Tuesday North Texas hog hunt.

Recoil in a ported pistol is stiffer than a minister's pecker in a nudie bar, but they work really well at not needing follow up shots.

Still up fiddling with my bags and boxes, hence the late post. Dang hard to sleep when you've got a hunt coming up! Wish it was Monday already. Skeeters aren't out much here yet but it just rained, least there isn't much sawgrass in North Texas, right?

tom said...

Since I'm still up, in case it's of interest to anyone regarding terminal ballistics...this is a good read.

This and related info and links on their web page is also useful.

They don't make a cheap product but if you do your job, they work every time, provided you chose the right "tool for the job". Either way, the page has lots of useful terminal ballistics.

Albert A Rasch said...


Thanks for the links, very interesting stuff.


I've hunted with dogs and for sheer adrenalin nothing compares to it, If you want to read about that adventure, read "Hogs and Dogs."Regards,