Monty set his alarm for 5:15 AM and it actually woke him up. I’m sure it wouldn’t have woke me, but Monty did.
During breakfast, Jammie asked me if I wanted to hunt without dogs. I accepted his offer to moderate our dog use in order to increase the chance that I might have a chance to spot a pig and shoot it at a distance without dogs.
Not that dogs are a bad thing, but I explained to Jammie (as diplomatically as I could) that I’d rather shoot my animal in a peaceful setting if possible. A nice two hundred yard shot at a standing boar would be ideal.
We tied the dogs in the back of the Ranger so they couldn’t get out and chase. Then we drove the ridge tops for about an hour with no success.
It’s hard to say just how far away a pig may be when a dog smells it. The wind direction and speed, the speed of the vehicle and the topography must all come into play. When the dogs started clawing the bed of the truck and otherwise showing their urge to chase, it wasn’t clear where a pig might be. Looking back upon that moment, maybe we could have figured something out if we stopped the truck and checked the wind direction.
However, the excitement of the dogs made their release seem like the best option. When I said “OK, let’s let the dogs loose,” Jammie replied, “They’ll catch a pig.”
“That’s OK,” I responded, “I don’t want to deprive them of the opportunity.”
And, away they went. We weren’t far behind, attempting to follow in the Ranger. It wasn’t long before we found them raising a ruckus a few hundred yards up a draw.
When we reached the dogs, they had a boar in an ideal situation. The pig was surrounded in the open at the bottom of a narrow draw. The boar was so preoccupied with the dogs that it probably didn’t notice our presence. Jammie told me to get ready and he’d let me know when it was clear to shoot.
The last thing we’d want to do was hit one of his dogs. When he gave me the OK to shoot, a bullet was immediately sent into the pigs vitals. But it didn’t go down immediately. Although the pig was probably dead on its feet, a second shot definitely finished it off.
The pig was a boar of about 200 pounds. It had a good set of choppers and a couple open wounds – signs that it had been fighting recently – apparently in competition for the rights to breeding a sow.
This was my first-ever mature boar killed with rifle and also my first ever pig killed with the use hounds. I’ve killed a couple of pigs with bow and arrow and also a couple of pigs on Catalina Island with my rifle. I guided hunters for several years, but left the shooting to them.
The hounds made the hunt exiting and got my adrenaline going, but I doubt I’ll hunt this way again. If they were my dogs, it would be different because the dogs would be more personal part of my participation. I can understand why houndsmen enjoy training their dogs and are enthusiastic about the chase. Hound dogs are very attractive animals with a great temperament.
The dogs love the hunt and thrive on the chase. They charge the pigs and face danger each time they come within reach of the boar’s teeth. I particularly liked the way they laid back on the grass and stretched while relaxing once the hunt was over. Their post-hunt regimen stood in sharp contract to the attitude they displayed during the melee associated with the catch and was consistent with the attractive qualities of other hunting dogs I’ve known.
I’m glad I didn’t deprive them of the opportunity to do what they live for.