Story and Photos by: Larry Weishuhn
“Just a few more steps in this direction…”
I hoped I had not whispered too loudly. The red dot of my Trijicon SRO sight wobbled a bit across the boar’s vitals, still over a hundred yards distant. The boar, his upper and lower tusks visibly protruding through thick lips, stopped and peered in my direction. Although I doubted he saw me, I was careful not to make any quick moves. I appreciated the Taurus Raging Bull in .44 Mag loaded with Hornady’s 240-grain XTP ammo, was a dark, non-reflective green color and blended in perfectly with my background.
Wild hogs are seldom credited with having excellent eyesight. I will tell you however, I have been amazed many times when hogs spotted movement at well over a hundred yards. That includes me being “busted” because I moved when a mature boar, or, sow suddenly looked in my direction, and immediately turned tail and disappeared. Poor eyesight, maybe so, but that must be wild hogs that others hunt!
The boar looked left, right and then started again walking toward me.
At my home rifle range from a solid rest I had shot the Taurus Raging Hunter/Trijicon SRO/240-grain Hornady XTP many times out to 100-yards. From a solid rest using a 2.5 MOA red dot (meaning at 100 yards the dot covers 2 1/2-inches), I can put six shots into a 3-inch circle at 100 yards and often smaller groups. I knew I could cleanly kill the boar at that distance, but, I waited for him to get closer.
The ranch we were hunting was known for holding many feral hogs, hogs of all different sizes and colors including some which looked exactly like true European hogs complete with long snouts, short ears, salt and pepper coats, split guard hairs and straight tails. The one walking toward me was not of that ilk. He had tattered, floppy ears and was spotted, mostly black and white. He did appear to be taller at the shoulders than at the hips and based on what I could see, watching through my Meopta 10x42 binos I suspect he had a very thick cartilaginous shield, just under his skin covering shoulders and rib cage. It appeared he had nearly two-inch long, thick lower tusks, protruding past his lips.
I laid the binos down, then steadied the Taurus on my tri-pod shooting sticks. For whatever reason the old boar was moving more cautiously than I expected him to. What breeze there was, was blowing from him to me. Before heading to the woods I had sprayed my clothes, belt, leather gloves, boots, hat and my face, hair, gun and shooting sticks with TRHP Outdoors’ Scent Guardian (www.trhpoutdoors.com). So even if the wind changed and started blowing toward the boar, I knew he would not be able to smell me or my equipment. Over the years I have tried every possible scent control product, and only one truly worked (the reason why I allowed my image to be placed on Scent Guardian packaging).
The boar kept coming in my direction, stopping occasionally to smell something on the ground or to root out a tasty morsel. I cocked the double-action revolver’s hammer, even though I could shoot it double-action by simply pulling the trigger. When the boar got to within 50-yards, I got serious about taking a shot, but waiting for him to turn broadside. At 40-yards he stopped and turned broadside to stare to his left. A coyote trotted across the little opening.
I took the opportunity to release all my breath, make certain the red dot was settled a third of the way up from his bottom-line, up from his front leg. I started applying pressure to the trigger, it broke cleanly and sent the 240-grain Hornady XTP on its deadly mission.
The old boar squealed gruffly and started to run. I cocked the hammer and prepared to take a second shot…. I know… I was shooting a double-action and all I had to do was to pull the trigger a second time to send another shot into the boar, but many years of hunting with a single-action conditioned me to cock the hammer before taking a second shot.
I had just started applying pressure to the trigger when the boar dropped. He kicked twice, then lay still. I kept my .44 Mag and the red dot on him for a full minute. If he so much as wiggled an ear I was prepared to shoot him a second time. Big wild hogs and be really tough and often are!
Satisfied the boar was down for good I started walking toward him, gun at ready. A few years earlier I had shot a big boar just below the Red River in far northern Texas. When I got to with twenty steps the supposedly dead hog suddenly jumped to his feet and charged. I killed him within inches of him hitting me. Since then I have been super careful in approaching “dead” hogs. There is an old adage in Africa. ”It’s the dead one that kills you!” Apparently that can to some extent be true of wild hogs as well.
He was huge of body. Over the years I have weighed, on scales, a lot of supposedly 300-pound wild hogs. They stretched the scale to 185-pounds. This one however was bigger that those. I suspect he weighed between 200 and 225-pounds. Later back at camp, on the same scales we weigh deer the “pound marker” stopped at 227-pounds.
Be that as may, some wild hogs do grow huge. Back in the past century I weighed a wild barrow (a castrated boar) that had access to feed in a cattle feed lot. When he was finally taken “he” weighed 756-pounds. As a youngster my granddad often bought old boars and put them on feed for three to five years. This back when domestic hogs were bred for producing “lard” as well as meat. Those old barrows often weighed well in excess of 800-pounds when they were finally butchered. So there is that potential for wild hogs to grow immensely huge of body! But they seldom do.
Wild hogs, especially those which weigh 100-pounds or less can be excellent table fare, but should be properly cooked to above 180-degrees. Bigger hogs are a case by case decision regarding eating them.
My decision on whether to take the meat from an old boar comes down to cutting a couple of one-inch cubes out of the hindquarter and putting them in a cast iron skilled, frying them outside on a propane burner. If the meat does not put off a “boarish/musky odor”, the meat is fine. If it does indeed produce a really strong musky odor I usually simply save the tusks and haul the carcass into the field and use it for coyote bait.
If you are not already hunting wild hogs and other big game with a Taurus Raging Bull, it is time to start. Yes, a bit challenging, but tremendous fun and oh so rewarding! Wild hogs by the way are an ideal way to get into hunting with a handgun, if you are not already doing so!