The signs were there........ The pasture rooted up, And the ranch hands are avid hunters of wild boar. But when I told them that CGSteve and I were just a couple of coyote callers, who wouldnt mind an occasional Bobcat. And off we walked into the foothills, on a new ranch, that looked as close to varmint callers 'promised land' as you can imagine. Rolling hills, private, meandering small creeks, and springs. All on 5000 acres that is bordered on two sides by miles more of NFS land, and steep, rocky terrain. If we didnt get eaten by Mountain Lions, this should be a memorable calling trip.
Well, we saw no cougars, coyotes or bobcats, and were heading into twilight, when Steve suddenly stops walking behind me, and whispers, John......pigs!! He had his binocular trained far ahead of the 300 yds. my naked eye was scanning. Sure enough, amongst cattle, about 700-800 yards away, in a pasture were some feral hogs. Eight of them.
I couldnt hold the camera still enough on 8X zoom, but this pic shows the scene fairly well, as we approached. This was a task, as there were two cows near us, and we were worried that if they spooked at any minute, and ran, the piggies would herd away with the cattle, into the foothills, further away. If that happened, our chances of success would drop to Zero.
But we had reached the spot we pre-determined would be far enough, a slight rise on the ground, about 220 to 240 yds from the pigs. In the prone position, we scanned them. There was one large black sow in the group, but she was 80 yards further away than the piglets, I wanted to take her out, but the shot was too risky, and with only 70 grain varmint bullets in the 257 Roberts, it would have to be a perfect heart/lung shot to insure a clean kill. The odds were less than 50% in my mind. And too low to attempt. Steve saw a black one he had a bead on......so I settled on a reddish brown haired 80 pounder on the right of the group. 1....2......3........4.......Ba-Boom!!
Mine dropped, and Steves was wounded, hit and squealing...she started to run TOWARDS us.....this brought the big sow our way on the dead run also.......Steve got a shot into the body of the biggie, crippling her... but then told me he had to reload, and for me to shoot "Big Mama"......I set the crosshairs on her, and fired one round into the boiler room (man thats a BIG target), and she fell. Steve then dialed one into the head, to finish her, then turned on his smallie, and took him the rest of the way out within seconds. The rest of them scattered for the hills, while our empty guns barrels were smoking. Steve was shooting 50 gr. SPSX's from his .223 CZ.
Had it ended right there, that would have been good enough. But we decided to get these pigs into the pickup and give to the hired help, 5 miles away, before it got too late on Sunday evening. We walked 3/4 of a mile to the truck, and to our amazement, when we returned to load these three, we saw another herd at the base of the hills. Well, we are on a depredation permit, so why not? I loaded up the Roberts, and leveled another two, at less than 120 yards. Explosive varmint bullets worked, but you have to avoid the armor shoulder on these things. A hit in the head, or heart, and they fall quick, but that bullet has to penetrate some serious skin, muscle and tissue to get the job done.
The weights we guessed at, but conservatively we thought Big mama sow was about 240#, one more at 210#, another at 180#, the two piglets at 70# each. So if it looks like that half-ton pickup is squatting a bit...it IS!!