In June of 2014 I was hankering for something exciting to do. I was hearing about all these different adventures that my friends were going on, I had no prospects lined up for any future excursions, I was finished with all my schooling, and my job at the time really sucked. I was bored. As luck would have it, one evening I was reading an article on this rather famous hunter/ adventurer and his exploits of daring-do all over the world. I remember thinking to myself, “I want to go on an adventure! Why can’t I do something this cool?” As I bemoaned my stability and safety my mind began to wander; I began to envision myself as a sort of fedora wearing professor, or maybe a Hawaiian-shirt wearing private investigator. I could see it now: seedy characters, dangerous creatures, damp jungles, hot deserts, and dark alleys. Me, the hero, always on the brink of danger, ready to swoop in and save the day with a crafty plan and blued steel.
I was brought back to reality by sound of the cat scratching at the front door wanting to be let back inside the house. As I let her in, I thought to myself about what sort of realistic possibilities there were for me to have a modern day adventure. I concluded that an out of state weekend hunting trip would certainly suffice for now as a good introduction to being an adventurer. I began to search online and figure out what was even out there. What I did know is that there HAD to be an element of danger to this hunt, so prairie dogs were definitely out of the question. What I found in my scrounging about is that there are a myriad of places throughout the South offering very affordable wild hog hunts. Aha! Now there is an idea! I could see it all so clearly, stalking a boar through the scrub brush and palmetto fronds, ready for 300 pounds of muscle and tusk to charge, only for him to meet his death knell at my feet. There was romance, there was danger, there was adventure!
I called up my dad and brother and proposed the big trip. Both jumped at the idea immediately and threw their hats into the ring. As it were, they were in need of adventure as well. After I got the Missus’ approval, I spent the next few weeks looking at different ranches for the best combination of quantity and quality of hogs. We all decided to settle on a ranch about two hours south of Dallas, Texas that offered a great deal on all three of us to hunt for three days for an unlimited amount of hogs the week before Christmas of 2014. Visions of ham danced in my eyes. An unlimited amount of hogs?! I couldn’t book us for the trip fast enough.
Over the next six months, we planned every last detail of the trip down to the gas stations we would stop at. We would all arrive on December 19th at my parents house in the early morning, load up and drive down to the ranch, hunt the 20th, 21st, and the morning of the 22nd, pack up and drive home laden down with dead pigs in the pickup bed. We talked with people who had been on hog hunts, watched every YouTube video on hog hunting, bought every hunting magazine that had an article dealing with the subject, and made trips to the local Cabela’s for new hunting gear. My dad even bought a new rifle, a Savage “Hog Hunter” in .338 Winchester Magnum, just for the trip. I spent hours at the local range practicing with my personal rifle at different ranges and positions to ensure that no matter what the field conditions if any pig dared to cross into my shooting lane it would be the last thing that pig ever did.
Speaking of gear, my personal loadout was my Marlin 1895 lever action rifle in 45-70 with a Williams receiver peep sight. I had worked up a hot load for the 45-70 that comprised of a 430 grain hard cast lead bullet with copper gas check running to the tune of about 1750 feet per second at the muzzle. It was a veritable Mjolnir of loads that I could manage to prints groups that landed within an inch and a half at 100yards. I had heard of the ubiquitous “shield” of cartilage and gristle that a full grown boar develops under its hide to protect itself from fights with other pigs and could, under the right circumstances, deflect a lighter or poorly constructed bullet. This was our first time and I didn’t want any wounded pigs running away because I was “under gunned”.
To say that we were ready for whatever hit us was an understatement.
Until Whatever hit us.