Wild Pig Removal, Leghorn Style

Many moons ago, Nick flew down from Virginia to go hunting for the first time. I’d never actually met Nick in person until then, but I learned three important facts during our first foray into the woods. First, Nick can operate without sleep longer than any other person I know. He’s an absolute machine. And just like my iPhone when it runs low, he sends a little message out, excuses himself, and promptly shuts it down . . .

That usually happens at around thirty four hours without sleep. Second, Nick is a stone cold killer. Years of smallbore shooting and three-gunning have honed his skills to the point that he’s on autopilot when it’s time to shoot. I’ve seen him step out of the truck and crack a round off before I have the time to pull my ear pro down. The pigs pictured above went down within a few seconds of each other, on the run, taking one each to the brain.

Last, he’s the luckiest hunter I know. Before he came to town, I’d never actually seen a pig on our ranch. Over the years, I’ve learned that no matter what blind I put him in, he’s always going to see the biggest deer, or the exotics that I can never find. Or in the case of his first morning, a herd of pigs.

That morning we went out, he grunted “Swine!” at me, swung his rifle up, and shot the first one in the head on the run before I really got it through my head what we were looking at. Talk about OODA loops, right? Once I got up to speed, I saw where the group — one sow and eight juveniles — was running, and pointed him in the direction of where they’d exit the small draw they’d run down.

He picked off the second, racked the bolt, and put his sights on the biggest juvenile left, and then clicked the safety back on. He turned to me and said, “I don’t know what’s beyond that ridge they ran up.”

Like I said, Nick is stone cold and lucky. I love telling that story because it shows what happens when experience and practice marry up with real world shooting situations. Simultaneously, it’s a sad story.

Those eight juveniles ran off to go procreate prolifically. Sows generally have five to six piglets per litter, and have a litter every eight months. Their lifespan is four to eight years. By my math, in the 40 months since that hunting trip, each of the female juveniles that Nick didn’t kill represents twenty five to thirty first generation pigs.

So assuming an even distribution of sexes in the sounder, one hundred to one hundred twenty pigs ran off. And that’s just to date. Based on a lengthy lifespan, each sow will produce ten litters in her lifetime. The failure of that missed shot must haunt him at night.

The videos above were sent to me by my parents from one of the cameras they keep around the property. They also report a lot more random spottings over the last year. As good as Nick is at shooting them, he’s no match for their seemingly unlimited capacity for breeding. As the guys at JagerPro preach, the only way to effectively reduce the number of pigs is to trap the entire sounder and eradicate them. This is a time-consuming process and prone to some trial and error. Wild pigs are a worthy adversary and their intelligence makes them a constantly evolving threat.

I’ll shoot every pig I see on sight, but I’ll do it between runs to Tractor Supply for more Cattle Panel, T-posts, baling wire, and corn to bait the traps. I’m planning to use a bucket trigger similar to the one described here starting in the next few weeks. On that note, as much as it burns up my burnt orange soul to say it, Texas A&M is doing a fantastic job of researching the wild hog epidemic in Texas to help give ranchers, farmers, and hunters the tools they need to eradicate wild pigs. Many thanks to them for their work. But still, Hook ‘Em.

comments

  1. avatar Anonymous says:

    Caption for the picture: The real bacon maker.

    What rifle and load?

    1. avatar Nick Leghorn says:

      Weatherby Vanguard Carbine (the Series 1), .308 Winchester. I believe these were handloads with 150 grain Sierra Match King bullets.

  2. avatar Chrispy says:

    That sounds like an incredible amount of fun

  3. avatar foo dog says:

    Dang, TK, great yarn-
    glad to see the bromance is back on –
    you ripped poor Nick a new one over his driving skilz on your last trip, as I recall…

    Nick, you f’ing rock dude.
    You remind me of that video of the german guy ripping off shots on running pigs, with his bolt gun.

    Ok, guys- next step is to get that guy we all know and love,
    who is in danger of becoming the stereo-typical “All Hat, No Cattle” new Texican,
    out in the bush…Schwat-Style?
    JWT, can you help?

    Mmmm BACON!

  4. avatar LarryinTX says:

    Given such level of experience, can you tell us if these things are edible? I have heard both ways. From family with 240 Texas acres, they don’t even care about ethics any more, just shoot them whenever you see them, Texas needs to kill these things. He just leaves them lie for the coyotes and buzzards.

    1. avatar Tex300BLK says:

      I have heard they start to taste pretty wild north of 100lbs. Wish I could speak from experience in that. Unfortunately I, like Tyler, have plenty of land and have seen plenty of evidence of hogs around but every time I go looking for them I see nothing.

      Trap and exterminate is the only way to go.

      1. avatar arsh says:

        Like all wild game edibility is dependent mostly on two factors, your ability to field dress correctly and your ability to prepare meat correctly. In some instances the age of the animal will play an impossible task, but for the most part it comes down to that. Bear for example is often described as in edible, however I grew up with nothing but success of people cooking it correctly, and have since as an adult successfully cooked it as well.

        My suggestion for hogs would be to get it out of the heat as quickly as possible and smoke as much of it as you can.

  5. avatar JonFTC says:

    This website has so many ads along the righthand side that it crashes shockwave everytime I visit the site.

    1. avatar Sixpack70 says:

      Adblock is your friend…

  6. avatar Accur81 says:

    I enjoyed the article, but I was shocked the whole time that Nick wasn’t using a 300 BLK.

    1. avatar foo dog says:

      yeah, me too- that looked like a Texas ranch truck gun- iron sights and all…

      or maybe one of these- only manly men need try on:

      http://www.airgunsofarizona.com/hunting/2014/04/hog-hunting-with-an-air-rifle/

    2. avatar Nick Leghorn says:

      These were the days before I was a complete 300 BLK fanboy. I had a 16 inch 300 BLK gun in the case, but I dont think it got used all weekend. The Weatherby was perfect.

  7. avatar greaterfool says:

    PETA be pissed lol

    1. avatar Geoff PR says:

      The ‘People Eating Tasty Animals’ are quite happy…

  8. avatar Robert W. says:

    Hold on, most important question.

    Nick was willing to go out in the wild without a Blackout chambered AR, or a SCAR?

  9. avatar Bob says:

    The question I have is will these things taste good either properly BBQ’d (cooked slow in a smoker) or made into bacon? I think I’ll shoot just about anything if bacon is the result.

    1. avatar arsh says:

      Scroll up a little ways and you’ll see I addressed your question. Another reader asked the same thing.

  10. avatar Sian says:

    Gig ’em. (come at me, bro)

  11. avatar Andy says:

    I just came back from Tx with about 200lbs of pig. I butchered three pigs to get that much meat. I field dress and quarter the pig as soon as possible. Then put it in a walk-in refrigerator at 38 F until it was time to come home (5 days of hunting). Then packed it up in a cooler for the trip home and had it all smoked at a local BBQ place. Two of the pigs were over 200lbs when shot. I like having them smoked and pulled. Big or small tasted great.

  12. avatar ClockN says:

    Smoked for a long time or make carnitas out of them.

  13. avatar Carlos U. says:

    With all the dangerous parasites they can carry, (Trichinosis, anyone?) I would only eat it if it has been cooked EXTREMELY WELL. So Pressure Cooker Carnitas would be the way to go for me. I don’t like the idea of little worms eating my brain. I’m fussy that way.

  14. avatar mdc says:

    10mm will be sufficient.

  15. avatar Forrestt C. says:

    As soon as I work up a load for my 7×57 I’d be more then happy to come down and help with your piggy problem. Hook ‘Em!

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