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Old 05-20-2018, 10:49 PM
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BigFatGuy BigFatGuy is offline
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Here's the play-by-play

Our guide was Chad Weibe of Oakstone Outfitters (Oakstone is his company). He's a taxidermist of some renoun, and has hunting rights on his own ranch, plus a few of his neighboors. All in all, he's got access to A LOT of land, and he keeps the number of hunters on the land at any time low. He told me he doesn't like to have more than one group hunting his land at the same time, and that held true during our trip... our first day was the last of the previous guy, and someone started on our last day. Chad's a nice guy, and an excellent guide... a real "hunter's hunter".

Friday
1pm: we show up and set up the RV. Chad supplied power and water for our rig (extension cord and garden hose), which made life a bit easier than it might otherwise have been.


3pm: we get into Chad's truck and start scouting. due to the amount of land, all the pig hunting guides in Paso Robles seem to work out of vehicles. Drive around until you see a pig, stalk into it, try to get a shot. We check some 5 or 6 different locations, hoping to catch a sleeping pig

5:00pmish: we're driving next to a hillside when my wife calls out "PIGS!". There are 3 sows and a big boar (1000 lbs, 1100 lbs, something like that :-) making their way through the underbrush. We all leap out of the truck, get ahead of the pigs, throw my rifle onto my sticks. It was about a 120 yard shot, quartering away. I fire, and there is now some disagreement of what happened. I think I panicked and pulled the shot high. Chad and my wife think I hit the pig. The pig agreed with me. He took of sprinting like a freight train. We did our best to recover and track (an hour and a half without finding as much as a blood trail) including using Chad's dogs.

7:00pm(ish): Chad stops the truck, gets out, and runs his hand over the tops of the grass. He kind of looks up like the universe is telling him something, tells us to bring our rifles, and walks up a hill to a nearby barley field. The field is empty on arrival. We sneak around a bit, he peaks over a small "cliff" where he knows there's a good muddy wallow, and sees a pig getting out of the mud to come up into the field we are in. He sets my wife up on her sticks, tells her to "aim there". Soon enough, the pig saunters up the hill and starts nosing around right in front of her rifle. Pig turns to the side, Mrs. BFG fires, pig hits the ground like a steel target. About a 50-60 yard shot, right in the shoulder.



Chad described it as "the muddiest pig" he'd ever seen taken... Tossed it into the truck, and brought it back to his shop for processing. Once it was hosed off it had downright pretty fur... dark black and shiny... it was kind of a pig supermodel.

On the way back we saw another pig in a field, running from the truck. I got my bipod down and took aim, but a 170 yard shot on a moving pig was out of my skill range.

Dark fell on the way back to the shop, and the land exploded in pigs. They were EVERYWHERE. At this point I'm thinking this really is "shopping"... if I'd hit my pig we'd be packing up to go home...

Mrs. BFG got right into the skinning, gutting, and whatnots. This pig weighed about 135 lbs. We never found the bullet. No exit wound. It might be buried in the shoulder joint or something.



We also kept the liver and heart.


Saturday
5:00: climb into Chad's truck again. Drive around all day finding places where pigs "have clearly been sleeping", but no pigs. Climb lots of hills. (Chad is REALLY FAST in bad terrain... i am not)


11:00am: return to the RV without seeing a single pig all morning

3:00pm: Chad had a family engagement, and we went out with Adam. Adammight lack a bit of experience relative to Chad, but is highly energetic, gregarious, and talkative. Compared to Chad's somewhat stoic nature it was a nice change We drive around all evening without seeing a single pig.

7:00pm: I accept that I most likely won't get my pig, and this isn't "shopping"

7:15ish: Adam, glassing some nearby hills and fields, comes sprinting back to the truck. "I saw one." He drives to a good upwind location, and we stalk into the field... a half mile? The pig looks like it weighs 1500 lbs. It's in the barley, head down, turning back and forth as it munches away. We set up, I get on the sticks, Adam says "wait, I can get us closer". I was nervous from my previous miss, so I followed him in another 20 yards or so in a crouched-sneaky-walk. Set up on the sticks about 80 yards from the pig, get on the scope, and quickly realize pigs are essentially symmetrical animals. What I thought was the head was actually the ***. Waited til the pig moved his ears to confirm I was pointing at the correct end, set up the shot, and felt truly "good" for the first time this trip.

"OK, wait... before you shoot, how do you feel about this?"
"I can take him. I've got a clean shot."
"If you think you've got a good shot, then go ahea(BANG)"
"squeal"
The pig falls over. Shot went clean through both shoulders and took out part of his spine on the way.


I also joined in the cleaning, but I don't quite have the stomach for it that Mrs. BFG does. I had no issue with skinning, but lost my nerve right around "make an incision around his *******, then cut off his nuts". I can't even watch people get injections in movies, so I think I did pretty well.

We also kept the heart, liver, and nuts.

My pig weighed 180lbs and has "cutters", although one is broken off.



We go to bed, glad that I don't have to set a 3:30am alarm.

The next morning we quarter the beasts, load them in the coolers, pack up the rig, and drive home. Chad's dogs are VERY friendly and love attention from hunters:



You can fit rifles, ammo, 4 coolers, 2 pigs, and lots of ice into a class B RV... you just can't get to the bathroom until you unload:


We dropped the carcasses off at Harmony Farms in La Crescenta (La Canada?), which is a superb butcher shop with a very pro-hunting and pro-military ethos. Asked for lots of big cuts (fresh ham, loin roast) cut in half or quarters for easy 2-person use, bacon, a few lbs of polish sausage, and the rest as grind so I can try making my own sausage.

Pig heart tacos are delicious.


Some closing thoughts:
1: this isn't shopping. There is, of course, a serious benefit to being the only hunter in a large swath of pig-rich land, while having the help of a person who truly knows the land, but the pigs are wild, are not restrained by high fences, and are not baited, fed, or otherwise "maintained". We were hunting in real farmland and ranchland

2: I thought I was a halfway decent hiker. I suck at hiking.

3: I thought I was a halfway decent shot. I need a LOT more practice.

4: we both need better binoculars and scopes

5: Even Adam (our guide) said he ends up using guide services to make sure he can get access to hunting land that isn't over-pressured. This makes me wonder if my idea of becoming a hunter this late in life is even a realistic one... I learned a lot this trip, but there's a TON more to learn, and that's just one species in one property...

6: taking that final shot was easier than I expected. The pig wasn't walking, so it was basically target shooting. I guess I got my nerves out on the first shot.

7: I have no serious meat-processing gear. I need freezer, vacuum sealer, grinder, and somewhere to store all this new crap.

All in all, this was fun, I learned a lot, and now we have to figure out what our next hunt will be...

Thanks, all, for the advice and help!

Last edited by BigFatGuy; 05-21-2018 at 12:38 PM.. Reason: dude's name is Adam, not Eric.
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