Hog Hunting For Beginners
My tale-tellin' buddy Dennis Dezendorf's Frugal Outdoorsman article "Reloading On The Kitchen Table" reminded me of my long-held desire to load bullets in a tent. As I had developed a hog load with cast bullets for my 30-30 Winchester Model 94 and planned a hog hunting camping trip using that load, I decided to put together a kit similar to Dennis's and take it with me. If he could reload ammo on the kitchen table of an apartment, I could reload ammo in a tent.|
In the center of the photo and with her head up and looking at the camera, see Suzy my hog dog. She'd had a long night of barking at boogers and a morning of traipsing through the woods after hogs. In other words, she refused to get out of her comfortable bed and pose for a photo.
Here you see me de-priming a case using the chunk of stovewood as a hammer and using a stick of firewood as a bench.
In the background, see my homemade tent wood heater made from two small freon bottles. There's coffee in the pot, and the foil you can barely see behind it contains barbeque link sausage getting warm for lunch. I won't reveal my flue or flue-to-tent-wall gasket design for lawsuit reasons. I'll just note that the first 4 feet of flue pipe is a vehicle drive shaft. And I'll also note that my first flue pipe design melted when I built a roaring motor oil test fire in the heater.
If you don't need a crimped bullet, use just the Lee Loader and enjoy extra space in your kit.
You could also use just the Lee Hand Press and a set of regular reloading dies and eliminate the Lee Loader. The advantage there is being able to full-length resize cases. I don't know how it works with other, bigger cases, but it full-length resizes my 30-30 cases just fine. But, then, you'd have to add a tube of case lube to your kit.
I finished loading the remaining cases and filled my rifle's magazine with fresh, tent-loaded roundstime for hog hunting.
Some would say a 170 gr lead 30-30 bullet at 1760 fps is light for hogs, but I must disagree, especially at 150 yards range max and 50 to 75 yards range likely. A few writers even call for using magnum calibers on hogs. Horse hocky, I say.
Until November, 2001, the area I hunted in LaSalle Parish, Louisiana, was open range. Cattle and hogs moved freely. If you didn't like cattle or hogs getting in your yard or garden, fix your fence. Robert Frost said it best in a poem titled "Good Fences Make Good Neighbors."
Hog owners, including myself, my grandfather, my great-grandfather, and my great-great-grandfather, ear-marked their hogs and hunted them by horseback with dogs. In my case, by Jeep. The preferred rifle in the early days was a Model 92 Winchester in caliber 32-20. Later, many hog owners bought or converted their Model 92s to .357 magnum.
I preferred a Rossi Model 92 copy in .357 magnum. My load was the Lee 140 gr 358-140-SWC at 1500 fps. That rifle and load killed many hogs. As best I can remember, it never required more than one shot.
Key #1 is to use a rifle capable of a fast second and even third shot; thus the lever action Model 92 and 94. Key #2 is to take head shots only, if possible. The skull of a 300 lb boar is no thicker than the skull of a 100 lb deer. But evolution gave wild boar hogs armor plating on their shoulders. When two boars fight, they wheel in a circle and rake their knife-blade-like bottom tusks against each others' sides. Thus the skin on their sides is thick and tough, and beneath that skin is a layer of gristleall designed to keep an opponent's tusk from reaching muscle tissue and major blood vessels.
He'll visit that pine tree scrape every day or two. If you plan to wait for him, you better know a few facts:
So use a heavily-constructed bullet. A bullet cast from wheelweights works just fine, even at moderate velocities.
Here's a drawing of my grandfather and great-grandfather's hog mark. To an open range hog man, it reads: upper slope and under bit in the left ear, swallow fork and under bit in the right ear. Cuts I remember include:
There's a point to my giving you all this information about open range and hog marks. There's still many marked hogs in the woods of LaSalle Parish and other parishes and counties even though the open range days are over. A marked hog has an ownerwho probably has proof of ownership on file at the courthouse.
Yes, the owner is in violation of the stock law by letting his hog run free. But all he has to do is say, "That hog broke out of the pen last week, and I've been huntin' it ever since." Violation of the stock law is a misdemeanor.
If you shoot that hog, you, however, clearly violate a law titled: Theft Of Livestocka felony. You will (1) go to jail; and (2) you will reimburse the owner for the value of his hog. And that mangy, wild, and $20 hog will suddenly become a child's petraised on a baby bottle in a box beside the kitchen stove. And the owner will say, "I wouldn't've sold that there hog for $1,000."
All the above has happened many times in LaSalle Parish.
Here's a photo taken in July, 1999, of an open range, marked sow and her unmarked piglet.
She has cuts I can't read, but I can see an under bit in her right ear and a crop in her left ear.
While we're looking at the picture of the open range sow, notice how differently she looks from pictures we see of domestic hogs in feed lots. Actually, notice how differently she looks from her piglet. Her ears are less floppy than the ears of her piglet. Her hams are smaller in proportion to the rest of her body than the hams of her piglet. Her snout is longer. Her rib cage is shorter. Compare her thin tenderloin to her piglet's thick tenderloin.
Obviously to me, the boar that fathered the piglet carried predominately domestic hog genes. A long snout for rooting and straight ears for listening for predators factored not at all in his survival or the survival of his ancestors. Man selectively bred them for hams, bacon, and tenderloin. The open range sow and her ancestors, however, were selected only by their ability to survive in the wild.
There is one big and invisible difference between her and her piglet, probably, and her and her domestic cousins for sure: brains. True wild hogs are second in intelligence only to man, in my opinion. For untold generations over the 500 years since they first escaped from Hernando De Soto in the southeastern United States, they have survived by not just biological adaptation to their environment but by their witscall it survival of the smartest.
So to my list of facts you better know when you go after a true wild boar, let me add this:
Little River begins near my hometown of Tullos, under the red star in the map, and flows into Catahoula Lakewhich, by the way, Hernando De Soto and his men crossed in circa 1535. They also fought a battle with Indians who lived in what is now Jonesville, shown on the map.
Little River is listed on the Scenic Rivers System. The land and my campsite is located a few miles downstream of the town of Georgetown.
For those who would like to experience camping and hunting along Little River, you'll find the Little River Wildlife Management Area on the Grant Parish, west, side of the river.
On the map above, look below the word Georgetown for the word Natl. The LRWMA lies just to the south. Click here for the website and a map.
Suzy and I camped for more than a week, enjoying cool and even cold nights and warm days. It was early spring, 2003. On those cold mornings, we stayed in the tenther sleeping near the warmth of the heater and me with my feet stretched toward the warmth of the heater and with a cup of coffee in my hand, the pot resting on the heater's warming plate and just an arm's reach away. Mornings were glorious.
I brought bacon, eggs, and both pan and link sausage for breakfast, but I cooked it only once. It was much easier to simply wrap a Jimmy Dean pre-packaged sausage 'n' biscuit in foil and warm it on the stove.
Dinner other evenings included barbequed link sausage, grilled cheese sandwiches cooked in a pie iron, and squirrel simmered in gravy. The gravy, of course, was sopped in biscuits cooked in an 8" Lodge Camp Dutch Oven.
Suzy and I saw not a single hog during the entire trip. But not seeing one also means not having to clean one. And there's always next year. . . .
But we did take many hikes through some beautiful hardwood bottom land, my 30-30 rifle slung across my shoulder. Alas, Suzy jumped nothing but rabbits. But that's ok because I suspect she prefers her hogs in the form of Jimmy Dean sausage.
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