When Wounded Hogs Charge

During the several years that I part timed as a pig guide, we killed about 25 to 30 wild boars. Several hunters came back for a second or even third time. One of those was Roger Fung. Roger was very excited about killing a big pig.


He was slight of stature, probably in the 150 pound range and he didn’t shoot a big rifle, but it was effective. He liked the 7 mm .08 because it didn’t knock him down and was pretty effective on pig-size game.


On his first trip we found a nice boar of about 200 pounds and he easily downed it. The boar appeared to be fairly old and had nice “choppers.”


About a year later Roger contacted me again and we arranged another hunt. This time we found a good pig about 8:00 AM. We spotted the large boar heading our way. We only had to move short distance down the ridge to intercept it at about 100 yards.


Roger dropped down into the prone position and the boar stopped broadside, presenting a perfect shot. At the sound of the shot, the pig dropped like a stone. As we congratulated each other, I was surprized to see the boar jump to its feet and run out of sight, down the ridge in front of us.


We immediately took off in hot pursuit. I angled off the ridge to my right and we dropped into the small canyon finding no sign of the pig. We did come face to face with another boar, but we were not interested. The first pig was much larger – plus it already had Roger’s bullet in it!


I was very surprised by the lack of sign and concluded that the boar must have turned after it went out of sight and dropped off the opposite side of the ridge. Sure enough, as we crossed over the top of the ridge, we spotted the boar lying on its side motionless, about 50 yards away.


As I didn’t carry a weapon of any type, I motioned to Roger to step in front of me as we approached the boar. I wasn’t convinced it was dead. Sure enough, at about 20 paces, the 350 pound barrel of pig jumped to its feet and ran directly towards us. Roger raised his rifle to his hip and let fly. The bullet pierced the pig’s left ear.


Fortunately the muzzle blast at 10 yards slowed the pig long enough for Roger to chamber a second round. This time he raised the rifle just as the pig moved forward for a final charge. The shot was pure and the big boar went down for good.


From that time on I carried either a 12-gauge shotgun or .44 magnum hand gun while guiding for wild pigs.


Conservationists Seek Oversight of DFG Dedicated Accounts

The Mule Deer Foundation is an active member of the California Outdoor Heritage Alliance, sponsor of State Senate Bill 1172.

COHA has announced that SB1172 has passed the State Senate with a 39-0 vote. The bill must now pass through the State Assembly and the Governor’s office to become law.

Below is a news release from the COHA regarding the bill, which provides Fish and Game Commission oversight on expenditures of money obtained through sale of big game tags including deer. For many years sportsmen have struggled to verify where big game tag funds have been spent. Despite laws that state these funds must be spent for the benefit of the species for which the tags are sold, that has not always been the case. Big game fund raising tags for deer also fall into this category.

SB1172 is modeled after the California Duck Stamp program which has a proven track record.

Here’s the release:

California Outdoor Heritage Alliance (COHA) News Release regarding SB1172

Hunting Tag/Stamp Accountability Measure Passes Off Senate Floor – Despite threats of opposition from animal rights organizations and other groups, SB 1172, by Senator Bob Dutton (R-Inland Empire), easily passed the California State Senate on Thursday by a bipartisan vote of 39-0.  The bill, which is sponsored by COHA and supported by numerous hunting and conservation interests throughout California , would provide much-needed accountability and transparency over the use of hunting license tag and stamp revenues. 


SB 1172 was introduced in response to continued revelations over the misuse of certain hunter-generated monies within state government.  To help address this ongoing problem over the long-term, the measure would ensure that separate fiscal accounts are provided for all such monies and that they can only be used for certain game species conservation and hunting purposes.  The bill would also require the Fish and Game Commission to publicly verify that any proposed expenditure of hunting license tag and stamp money would, in fact, be used for game species conservation or hunting purposes.  In addition, SB 1172 would require the Department of Fish and Game (DFG) to consult with hunting-related conservation groups on proposed projects that would be funded from the accounts, while allowing such groups to assist DFG with much-needed habitat protection efforts.  Finally, the measure would require that any land that is acquired with hunting license tag or stamp revenue be open for, or provide access to, public hunting opportunities.

Clear Lake has Great Bass Fishing

Once again Clear Lake came through with it’s great bass fishing. We float tubed on Monday afternoon and caught a fish each all in the three to four pound range, a bit disappointing. However on Tuesday we fished with guide, Ross England (Clear Lake Guide Service), and he put us on a bunch of two to five pound fish.

While I drop shotted, Rob and Bill fished with Senkos fished “whacky” style and before the trip was over we landed about a dozen fish apiece, all landed along docks and tules on the northeast shore which was somewhat protected from the strong westerly winds. Ross proved to be a great host.

Rob Fletcher and Bill Patterson compare a couple of “whacky” style senko bass.


Recover Your Venison

Just about every episode of my favorite Outdoor Channel hunting programs are recorded at my house. When I arrive home from work I often have a few minutes alone to relax and watch TV. That’s when I review the recorded programs and pick out something entertaining.


It is impressive to see how many big bucks are bagged on film these days, primarily whitetails, but mule deer are not ignored. I watch archery hunts first.


Now for my favorite peeve – leaving deer overnight to make sure they are recovered.


“The shot was a little far back so I decided to play it safe and wait till morning….” So goes the typical statement.


I’ve been there, and more than once. I left my first buck out overnight and I sure regretted it. However, I was young, naive and alone when I shot that buck at dusk in 1971. It was late in the California archery deer season and I returned to my favorite haunts to give it one more try. I’d already missed almost a dozen bucks with my Bear Grizzly recurve bow and wooden arrows, but I knew I had a chance.


I missed the buck on the first shot. I can still recall the arrow sailing over his back. The next shot connected, but I couldn’t be sure where he was hit. I followed blood for a short distance, and then decided to go for help.


When I arrived in camp, which was a half hour drive away, it was dark and my hunting partners suggested we wait to morning and they’d help track him down. It sounded like a good plan to me.


As it turns out, the buck was hit in the femoral artery and it bled out quickly, dropping while still running, only 125 yards from where I shot. The meat was so nasty tasting that most of the venison went to waste. We attempted to eat it, but it was not good.


My experience is that once you leave a deer out overnight, the intestinal gasses contaminate and ruin the meat. Maybe in really cold weather this is not the case. I haven’t archery hunted in cold weather and left an animal out overnight, so maybe there is a situation where it will be OK, but most of the time you’re giving up the venison when you decide to leave an animal out overnight without taking the hide off or at least getting the body cavity opened up to cool off.


The guys on TV are experienced hunters – or at least they lead us to believe so. In some cases they are hunting for bucks that are extremely rare trophies and that’s probably how they justify their decision.


My archery hunting experience has been fairly extensive, but I’m not the ultimate authority. I’ve concluded that most of the time, a mule deer (or whitetail) that is ultimately recovered drops within 100 yards of where it was hit. An elk may go farther.


My point is that (in most cases) failing to follow a blood trail for at least the first 100 yards is foolish. If one hits a buck at dusk, wait an hour and check out the first portion of the trail. The decision to leave the animal overnight should only be made after one is convinced that it’s gone more than the first 100 to 200 yards.


Most animals that travel 200 yards will not be recovered anyway, so you might as well wait ‘til morning and hope it beds down and dies during the night – or maybe you’ll be able to get another shot at it.


I’ve had this advise backfire on me, but it was because I didn’t wait a full hour. Hitting a bull elk in the neck, during a 1987 archery hunt, I watched the herd bull walk off at sunset. Alone and a ways from my jeep in unfamiliar country, I was reluctant to wait, but I did.


After 20 minutes or so, I took up the trail. My flashlight exposed a continuous trail of blood. I thought he was dead for sure, so I followed the trail into a patch of brush about 100 yards from the site of the shot.


I heard the big animal walk off and after a few minutes reconsidered my decision to track in the darkness. When I returned the next day, I found him laying on his side only another 100 yards down the hill. He had never stopped before dropping. If I had continued after him, I would have found him shortly after my last contact.


Although I had a great 6×6 elk rack that still hangs on my wall, the meat was inedible. A friend and I carried every piece of it a couple miles on our backs and then went to town to consult with a local butcher who was also an elk hunter. We concluded that the meat should go to the dump. On the way, I stopped along the side of the road and pulled out my camp stove. I had to fry up a piece of back strap to confirm what I already knew.


There are no guarantees, but before letting the meat spoil, I believe every hunter should make a significant effort to recover the animal before leaving it out overnight.


That’s what I did on a 2000 Eastern Sierra mule deer hunt. After making what looked like a fatal shot on a buck, I followed it until I found it still alive only about 100 yards from the site of the shot. I watched the buck get up and bed again. After a failed follow up shot, the buck ran another 100 yards and rebedded.


The next followup shot appeared to be effective, but the buck ran over a rise and out out site. I spent the remainder of the afternoon and evening searching for blood, but it was scarce as the animal had fled at great speed.


Exhausted and disheartened I headed back to camp at dark.


The next morning, with the help of my brother Rob, we found the buck laying in the middle of an ice cold creek. He had apparently crashed into the creek while running. He was dead within mintues of the second hit. The meat was fine, but what a lucky recovery.


Me and my 2000 Eastern Sierra mule deer.


Life With the Dogs

Our canine companions are wonderful company. Val, the 14-year old yellow lab has seen her better days as a duck retriever, but her loyalty has never been more endearing. Lola our 18-month old yellow lab has energy without bounds and never ceases to impress me with her enthusiasm.


Val has lost some of her senses, primarily hearing, but her general awareness has gone way downhill from her youth. In fact, she is nearly deaf, but does pretty well with hand signals.


Each morning she wakes us up at first light with a couple light woofs, which increase in volume until we open the bedroom door and then the back door to let her out. With increasing frequency, she has failed to reach the exterior door before relieving herself -the resulting dog bombs rolling on the carpet or tile floor waiting for us to dispose of.


Linda was first out of bed today and she made it to the back door before the inevitable poop. She fed Val and headed back to bed as I arrived to throw the ball to Val a few times before Lola’s release which always signals the end of Val’s opportunities to retrieve.


Exercise done, we headed indoors and I cooked a couple eggs. About the time I finished I noticed Val standing at the door – standing in dog poop. As I reached for the door handle, she stepped forward and back a couple times, grinding the brown mess into the small carpet by the door.


I let her out and, cleaning up the obvious mess, I routinely took the carpet out for a wash. Wash complete I finished my breakfast and settled in for a newspaper read. Linda arrived and we had a brief discussion. I briefed her on the Val action.


“Is Lola still in her kennel?” I asked.


“Yes,” Linda  replied.


Feeling a little uncomfortable about Lola being in her kennel at 7:30 AM, I made a suggestive comment, but didn’t raise a response from Linda.


After a few more minutes passed and Linda arose and headed towards the stairway.


“Did Val poop again?” asked Linda.


“I don’t know, I replied, rising from the chair and following my nose around the downstairs portion of the house.


Entering the living room near the base of the stairway, I could smell the distinct odor of dog poop. Looking up the stairs I thought, “Oh no.”


Quickly climbing the stairs, I detected increasing odor of dog poop or worse – diarrhea!


There stood Lola in a pile of her own excrement. What to do now? Should I pick her up? Carry her to the back door?


No, I opened the cage and out she ran leaving a trail of brown dog tracks across the light colored carpet all the way to the back door.


“So much for the morning plans,” I thought to myself.

The Chase

Ever herd deer screem? They do it more often than one might think.

I was fortunate enough to get drawn an Anderson Flat Archery deer tag a few years ago. The hunt was interesting, but as with some of the other late season archery hunts I’ve tried, I just couldn’t get it right and went home deerless.

However I did have some interesting experiences during the week or so I hunted. One of them took place during an evening hunt as I waited in my tree stand which overlooked a saddle and narrow ridge line. 

I’d been on stand for a while when I noticed that deer were snorting in the draw below me. I checked the wind and realized that they couldn’t posibly be getting my scent. Time passed and my mind wandered to some other subjects.

As the afternoon turned to last light. I herd a deer running in my direction, screaming as a deer only does when it faces death. As the sound approached, a small doe popped into view briefly about 75 years up the ridge – right behind it a mountain lion.

The lion was in hot pursuit, about ten feet behind the deer. Immediately I grew curious about the fate of the deer, but as the sky grew dark my curiousity diminished and I decided to head back to my car.

The following day I returned after the morning hunt. The path of the running animals was clear to see and very evident in the patches of snow and wet ground. I followed the path of the conflict until the signs disappeared to my eyes, but apparently the lion had failed to catch the deer.

I don’t know why I cared, but I felt a little relieved.

Partition – Ending Co-tenancy

The situation

Ten parcels of ranch property owned by one partnership with about 25 members, one LLC with three members, a family trust with 20 heirs and four individuals including one who was deceased and still on title.


That was the status of our ranch in year 2003. We owned an undivided interest equivalent to 949 of the 2,540 acres and we owned different portions of each parcel. It was a mess.


Our first attorney couldn’t even get out of the box before he admitted we needed somebody else. Our second attorney got us half way there and decided to retire. Our third attorney took over and completed the job.


Now it’s over. All that’s left is to sign a few deeds. The judge signed a stipulated judgment (what all the parties agreed to through mediation) and  that agreement is on its way to the Alameda County Recorder’s office.


Why choose the partition route?

Partition is the last thing one must do to resolve untenable property ownership. All other options should be explored first. For ten years we attempted to work out an arrangement to have co-petitioners in a partition suit so we wouldn’t have to take everybody on by ourselves, but that attempt failed and in the end we were forced to go alone.


What’s the legal basis?

In general, every co-owner of property who owns property in co-tenancy and doesn’t have some type of partnership agreement has the right to sue for partition. If the property can be subdivided and distributed to co-owners (in kind distribution) the law says that’s the best resolution. If the property cannot be divided up into appropriate parcels, the law says you sell and divide up the money proportionate to each ownership interest.


We evaluated our situation. Although some said it could be done, we decided that there was no way to subdivide the ranch. The parcels ranged in size from 20 acres to 640 acres. Zoning laws did not allow parcels to be split. Ownership interests couldn’t be fit into the existing parcels without major ownership changes.


We held firm that the ranch would have to be sold.


Why didn’t we leave things the way they were?

One family group owned 5% of the ranch. They had at least five people hunting and each could kill two bucks. They showed no interest in conservation of the deer herd. If all the owners killed deer at a proportionate rate we would be taking more than 100 bucks per season. The ranch didn’t have 100 deer on it, let alone 100 bucks. Similar issues existed with at least one other owner.


The ranch was (and still is) suffering from disrepair. Since nobody claimed the ranch as their own, nobody took responsibility for doing the little maintenance things that are necessary to keep things working properly. Ponds dams needed work, fences were patched with temporary fixes, gates were held together with bailing wire etc. The few buildings on the property were ready to fall down.


Once we initiated the action, all the partners had to respond to the law suit or default on the action. If they defaulted, they would have no say in the outcome and would be forced to accept the judge’s decision.


Just getting the case ready for and in front of a judge took about two years. Once we got a court hearing, we then went through a year of delays as attorneys for the defendants sought extensions for any or no reason during the first few court dates.


Finally, mediation was scheduled for the spring of 2007. Getting meetings arranged took a few months, but the mediator was efficient and knowledgeable. He made it clear to each owner that if a mediation solution could not be reached that the ranch would be put up for sale. At least one of our co-owners was so angry with us that we thought the mediation might not be successful.


However, ultimately everybody realized that there was a solution to fit all. We bought out two owners of a total of 400 acres. Another co-owner bought about 250 acres. We agreed to take four parcels that approximated our ownership share and others did the same. We gave some property to another co-owner.


One year after completion of the mediation, the suit is over. After about four or five years of effort, the ranch will have four ownership entities. Everybody is better off. The guy who owned 94 acres and hunted on 2,540 may not have as good a hunting scenario, but he now owns 160 acres by himself and he got it without paying anything for the additional acreage.


Along the way we had to resolve ownership by one co-owner who was deceased and we gave another individual a five-year right to use one of the cabins on the property. Another individual received five years grazing rights on a section of ground.


Instead of 949 acres co-owned and unmanageable, we now have 1,300 acres we can manage as we see fit. I haven’t calculated the legal fees, but we paid attorneys two to three thousand dollars a month for several years. Whatever it cost, it was worth it.


Create a functional partnership agreement

The best way to prevent this problem is to enter into a partnership or co-tenant agreement whenever you become co-tenants with anybody. The partnership agreement must describe the process for selling whenever an individual wants to opt out of ownership. Keep in mind that not all partnership agreements are fair and equitable. I’ve seen some agreements that left the co-owners with fewer rights than they would have without an agreement.


Please keep in mind that I’m not an attorney and the purpose of this information is to give you the benefit of our experience. However, before you take action on your own, hire an attorney to tell you to resolve your issues. A good attorney may appear to be expensive, but in the long run good legal advise can be invaluable.