Name a food...any food...that's better than bacon.
The land managers on the quail plantations that I work on have given us permission to shoot every hog we see. And we, being good technicians and all, have done our best to follow those orders the past few months. When I first started this job, I imagined that we might see a few hogs over the course of the year. Little did I know that we were going to see much more that just a few.
In the first week alone we killed 15 hogs. They were literally everywhere. It seemed like each time we drove the truck around the plantation, we'd run into a group of them. I was eventually forced to make sure that my gun was topped off on ammunition each time we left the house.
The first pig I killed on the plantation happened to also be my first pig...well...ever. I was riding along with two of the guys I work with when suddenly one of them spotted a group of 8 pigs about 200 yards away in a field. I was fortunate enough to be the only one who brought a gun with a scope on it and quickly found the biggest sow with my crosshairs. I eased the safety off my 30-06, and slowly squeezed the trigger.
In my haste to get the gun out of the truck, I had completely forgotten to put a round in the chamber. After quite the chuckle and a few snide remarks from my friends, I had a round in the chamber and had the crosshairs back on the sow's shoulder. I let loose with the shot and was surprised by the result: It ran off like nothing was wrong.
I quickly chambered another round and sent a second shot toward the same sow (which was now running directly away from us). This time, the shot found the left ham and dropped the sow. With my third round chambered, I quickly looked around to see if there were any more pigs still within sight. I had almost stopped looking when my friend in the back seat quickly whispered, "Piglet...Piglet! Get that last piglet!"
I almost immediately found the piglet in the crosshairs. It was running full speed away from us and up a slight hill. I held the crosshairs high to adjust for distance and to lead the little guy, and squeezed off one of the best shots on my life. The bullet found the back of the pig's head, right between the ears, at over 200 yards. Below is the link to the picture. (I figured not everyone wants to see something relatively gruesome).
With all of the pigs gone, we drove the truck around to pick up my first sow. I was absolutely stoked, not only because it was my first pig, but because of the fact that we also got to have a pig roast.
A few weeks later (and several more pigs later) I was finally able to take one with my SKS. I would have had the whole thing on film, but the GoPro literally died a half second before I pulled the trigger. I shot the pig with ballistic tipped 7.62 x 39 rounds and they seemed to -really- do the trick. I found the box they came in to be rather humorous as well.
Often times, while trying to dart deer, we have pesky hogs come in and -literally- start inhaling the corn that we bait with. Trying to scare them away by yelling and whistling rarely does the trick. We've found that the only way to scare them off is with the use of lead. One night in particular, one of the technicians I work with watched as a big sow came in and started eating the corn. He tried whistling, yelling, and even shining his flashlight on the pig. He gave the pig one last chance to scare off with the sound of his .40 cal pistol chambering a round. And it still didn't move.
Lately we've been seeing fewer and fewer hogs during the day. I'm not sure if it's because of the weather, or if we've actually taken some sort of toll on the population (which is doubtful). We've seen quite a few through the nightvision scopes, but since they're mounted on our dart guns, it requires us to switch over to a real gun and use a light.
I don't personally have a pistol of my own and lately I've been seeing pigs come around the corn after dark. Two rifles are a bit much to carry into a climber, so my buddy let me borrow his .357. And the other day, I was more than thankful to have brought it along.
Getting to shoot hogs while at work is something I doubt I'll ever get used to. I feel incredibly lucky every time I hop in the truck and put that SKS in the seat next to me. So what could be better, you might ask?
Getting to use FLIR (Forward Looking Infrared) monoculars to hunt pigs at night.
I haven't been able to get enough pictures/video with the FLIR yet, but I should very soon. Hunting using thermal imaging is just...awesome. Stay tuned!