Yesterday afternoon, I decided to slip in a quick pig hunt on my way to town to pick up some spare parts and a new drive belt. It was only a minor detour down a dirt farm road and then a 500 metre walk to where a dead cow has been getting a lot of hog attention. The trail camera had shown recent afternoon pig activity from about 3:30PM.
I sat close to the dead cow, about 40 metres away, waiting for the hogs to emerge. The breeze was in my face, which was a bonus in regard to being detected by the pigs, but not so good in that I was right in the odour plume from what had been a cow two weeks ago. The tropical days had not been kind to it and now it was just blackened bones protruding from a deflated skin over a rancid puddle of goop.
The plan was to wait until the sows were on the carcass and then shoot them, followed by the boar if he was still available. Then I would drop my Sauer 243 Win and pick up my Ruger American in 22LR and shoot as many of the swarm of suckers and piglets as possible. I had maybe 45 minutes before I needed to hike for it if I was going to get to the servo before they shut at 5PM.
About half an hour passed without any sign of pigs when something caught my eye. Down in the creek, about 40 metres to my left, something had moved in my peripheral vision. It might have just been one of the many jungle birds that flit to and fro. It might also have been a pig. I could see a narrow ginger-coloured strip, just above the creek bank, that I was sure had not been there before. I brought up my 10×25 stalking binoculars and could see it was the top of the boar’s back. Then he waggled his tail and that sealed it. The boar was just standing in the creek.
I figured he would soon move up onto the bank and head for the carrion. But, he was in no hurry, apparently. I scanned away every now and then in case other pigs were approaching from different quarters. When I looked back, I could no longer see his back. I was tempted to jump up and walk up to the creek bank. However, I did not want to shoot him in the stream as I would be unable to haul him up and out of there by myself. I was in a great spot and I just need to exercise patience.
Time was running short if I was to make it to the servo by 5PM. All was silent. I heard no grunts or splashing, nothing to indicate the presence of pigs. Then, with great slowness, the boar wandered up a game trail out of the creek bed and stood in the full sunlight, about 30 metres from me. I had hoped that the whole mob of pigs would appear, but it looked like this guy was by his lonesome at that time. That, and my need to get to town, prompted me to shoot him rather than wait any more.
He just stood there, yawning and scratching, in no hurry to move. Slowly I made the minor move necessary to put the crosshairs of the Zeiss 3-9×40 on his forehead. I needed him to stop moving and give me his attention for a moment. I gave a little whistle and he looked straight at me, in a fixed pose. I squeezed off a 100 grain Fiocchi soft point and him a bit above dead centre between the eyes. Naturally, he collapsed on the spot.
Suddenly, I was in the middle of a hog stampede! Despite not having heard any indication of their presence, pigs erupted out of the grass along the creek bed behind the carcass. Only the halfgrown and sucker pigs did that. I could hear crashing and splashing which told me the sows had wisely charged into heavy cover. Well. I could rescue the second half of the plan.
Putting down the Sauer, I picked up my Ruger 22LR and started to pot the little pigs milling about in front of me. I got four before they wised up and took to the jungle. I could have shot more, but a few I gave second shots to ensure they were down and out. I took a couple of quick photos and then hiked for the vehicle. I was in a deep valley with no phone reception. After I had unloaded and locked away the rifles, I drove half a kilometre or so, winding my way up to a ridgeline. There I stopped and called the servo. The fellow there said that he would wait for me to get there, so long as it was no more than 15 minutes. It was Friday afternoon and he had plans. I made it just in time and returned home with my parts and a successful hunt behind me. I texted the property owner and his neighbour to let them know the result and got appreciative replies. It was a good start to the weekend. There will be a lay day on Saturday and then on Sunday, Pete and I will resume our quest for the cattle-killing wild dogs on another property.