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Javelina Adversity March 2019
Gerhard Schroeder  

Like we came back from the Russian front

It was the best plan at the time. While waiting for deer at a waterhole in Nov 2017 a herd of pigs came in, both days. Pigs also showed up at a second waterhole where Ron was waiting in ambush. While Steve was in camp, tending to his deer, pigs came through there as well. Plus, one January we encountered a large herd about a mile the other way from camp. Obviously, my next javelina application put that area on the top of the list. Russel and Mike were in on it. We got drawn. Slam dunk?

Well, early Feb 2019 brought a few inches of snow to that region. Fine, we could even track the little porkers, if need be. But the weathermen also indicated serious freezing the night before opening day. So we first tried an area at a lower and slightly warmer elevation. No snow there, but no pigs, either. My slam dunk area was calling.

In the early afternoon we got to the turnoff where pavement turned into – soup. Snow was melting fast, water standing or flowing everywhere, and all dirt was absolutely saturated. We should have turned around. But I was intoxicated with dreams of a slam dunk. I mean, look how close those pigs came in 2017!

So we crawled in with two vehicles, wheels mostly spinning and the steering often not responding. It took twice the time to get to my secret waterhole. There we found absolutely no tracks, and no dry ground for a camp. So back through the soup, to an area neither of us had hunted. I felt bad, opening day was just about wasted.

Saturday morning appeared promising. The sun was hidden behind clouds. I hiked along a road closed to motorized vehicles. It led to a water hole. The little bit of water had a solid ice sheet on it, and no pig tracks anywhere. At a nearby saddle I stopped to glass. Maybe it was still too cold anyway for pigs to be about. Not so!

After no more than ten minutes of letting Zeiss do the walking, I spotted two javelina, about 300 yards away, feeding on the opposite slope. I called Michael. His phone was still off, so I left a message. One more look, now three pigs! Down the hill and into and along the big wash I hurried. Until my progress was interrupted by cattle.

I did not want to spook them and alert the pigs. So I climbed out earlier than I had intended, and now very carefully and slowly began to stalk towards where I had seen the three. But darn, after a few careful yards, just then one of the cows climbed up right to me, froze briefly while studying me from no more than ten steps away, then rumbled back down into the wash and ran with the others for several yards.

On my slope I heard nothing, so my stalk continued. It helped a lot to have the Primos Tripod, with legs tied together, acting as a walking pole. Much quieter than the agave sticks I used before borrowing Steve’s tripod on our last deer hunt, then buying my own.

After what seemed forever, I reached where the pigs had been. Nothing here but their fresh-looking tracks and little sign of rooting. So I continued. And continued. Now I could not see the perch any longer from where I had first found those three. Eventually the hill bent towards the left, away from that wash. My heart began to sink. An hour had passed since I had seen them. Did those stupid cows chase the pigs off after all? Where to? Pondering the options I was about to drop down and follow the bottom of wash back.

That’s when right below me a javelina appeared. Barely in an opening within all the junipers. Not too far away for an offhand shot. I had carried the Contender with suppressor attached in my left hand all the time. Best way to bring such bulky monster along. Now it was quickly cocked and ready. The crosshairs settled on the pig. Just then it turned slightly, so I aimed strong on its shoulder to avoid the guts. That heavy suppressor requires effort to get the rig on target, but now acted again as some sort of stabilizer. The crosshairs did not move. My finger did.

It all happened at the same time. There was no blast to my ears, only a pop less than that of a .22; the Hornady 110 grain Vmax registered with a satisfying loud thud; the .30 Herrett gently shoved against my hands; the pig collapsed.

That supersonic bullet crack faded into the surrounding hills. My javelina rolled on its back, legs kicking, then out of sight, and all was very silent again. I thanked God. Not hearing any other pigs running off and no woofing I stayed in place and called Michael again. This time he answered.

As I was briefly telling him what happened two javelina did flee straight down the hill away from me, then up the next. About twenty minutes later Michael arrived and was able to follow them. Meanwhile, I found my javelina, 58 steps away. As found:

Michael almost had his chance as well. He just about caught up with some javelina when a truck came down a nearby road and spooked them. He saw three pigs hightail it up a gentle hill, way out of possibility for his Smith .44 Mag.

After tagging and the red work it took a good hour to carry my pig back to camp. I skinned it before having lunch. A cold wind blew. That allowed me to butcher and debone all meat that afternoon. Russel and Michael worked the hills again, without seeing any porkers.

For Sunday the plan was that Michael would position himself on a high point while Russel would make a long walk towards his position. I would explore up one canyon away from Michael, then cross over and approach him from the opposite direction of Russel’s path. We all saw deer but no javelina.

By then noon was approaching, time for the two to pack it up and head home. As I took one more hopeful pass with the binos along the opposite sunlit top of the ridge there was indeed one javelina, on the move and heading over and away from us. The two said that if it had been an entire herd they would have invested the effort of pursuit. But with only one pig, and not knowing where it was going, we did pack up camp and headed home. It would also be the end of our hunt. Both work commitments and also more rain and snow killed their option to return for the final weekend. For now we’re not sure what areas to apply for later this year for the 2020 season. How awesome to have several promising options to consider.

Another very memorable hunt

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