Published by admin on 01 Dec 2009
Outsmarting a Wild Boar
Here’s How One Bowhunter Got The Best Of This
Intelligent Animal – For His Dinner Table!
By Jim Cox
I stood on the bed of the pickup squinting into the morning sun. The barley field I was watching stretched from my left to scattered trees on my right. Focusing my 7X35 binoculars on a small herd of cows grazing peacefully among the trees, I estimated the distance to be about three hundred yards.
I was almost ready to head back to camp for a much-needed breakfast when an unusual shape lying in a depression under one of the trees caught my eye. At first I thought it was a small cow but as it lifted its head to sniff the wind I recognized the animal as the large boar I had seen for the past two years. In both of these years, I had been so wary that I had never been able to get within two hundred yards. I vowed that this time would be different.
Quickly tucking the binoculars into the pouch on my hip, I checked the wind and figured I had a chance of navigating the terrain to get within shooting distance. Keeping the wind in my face I began the slow process of crawling low in the open, duck-walking the gullies and running the tree line until I estimated that the tree I crouched behind was about thirty yards from the boar.
I could hear the low grunts and knew that the animal was still there and was unaware of my presence. Quickly fitting an arrow to the string of my Martin compound, I took a deep breath and slowly swung around the tree, coming to full draw as I turned. My one thought was, “Don’t miss, don’t miss.”
I missed. Just as I released the boar stood up and the arrow hit between his legs. I will never know how I nocked that second arrow but as the boar ran I found myself running parallel to him, again at full draw. My shot was true, entering a little below center, behind the shoulder. It was a killing shot but I would not risk losing this animal to the wilderness. I released another arrow still on the run and brought down my largest boar to date.
For the last five years I have been hunting wild pig on the Harris Valley Ranch near Bradley, California. This is a private range area open only to archery hunting. The terrain of fields, wooded areas, meadows and desert affords an ideal habitat for the wild pig.
Derived from the European wild pig, these animals are cunningly intelligent. While their eyesight is thought to be poor they are able to discern movement from a distance. The pigs’ sense of smell is acute and the scent of man on the wind is enough to send them running swiftly for cover.
Wild pigs travel mainly at night, rooting for anything edible. They love cereal crops and any root vegetables such as beets or turnips.
Sexually mature at eighteen months, they reach full size in five to six years, with sows attaining weights of three hundred pounds. Boars of over four hundred pounds are not uncommon.
Unlike the vicious little javelina, wild pigs would rather run than fight, sometimes making false charges before fleeing. The wounded animal is a different story, however, and extreme caution should be taken when following the blood trail. The pig may act vigorously, slashing wildly with his tusks.
Pigs do not have sweat glands and must protect themselves from sunlight. If cover is not readily available they will make shelters by cutting long grass ands then crawling under it to form a protective canopy.
Like their domesticated brothers, the wild pig will find moisture and create mud holes or wallows, using them regularly until the sun bakes them dry. If there are trees nearby the pig will rub the mud from his back on the tree trunk. The height of these marks from the ground will give a good indication of the pig’s size.
I prefer to locate the animals from a distance with binoculars, singling out one pig and beginning a slow stalk. But their habit of using regular trails to feeding grounds makes hunting from a blind or stand possible.
A well-placed shot is essential because the hide and gristle on the front shoulders can be as thick as 2 ½ inches. When hit in this area, the tissues close around the broad head and shaft leaving poor blood trails. The wounded animal may then run several hundred yards making tracking difficult. I try to place my arrow behind the shoulder at mid-shoulder height. The broad head will catch the lungs and heart area and should result in a quick kill.
Because of the pigs’ stamina and tough hide it’s important to use the right equipment. I use a Martin compound set at sixty pounds and 2117 aluminum arrows with Eagle broad heads. I have found that because of the great penetration and large cutting area, the Eagle is ideal for wild pig. I feel that using the right equipment for the game being hunted is essential; carefully choosing the right gear for the hunt has accounted for many of my sixty big-game kills with bow and arrow in the past few years.
The best hunting times are early morning and dusk when the pig is active, although if there is no hunting pressure many pigs will remain active in shady or wooded areas until mid-morning before seeking cover.
The liberal year-round season and the bag limit of one pig of either sex per day offer hunters an excellent way to sharpen hunting skills and put some delicious meat on the table at the same time.