Hoggin’

by Larry Weishuhn

 

“Hitting right where they’re supposed to. Looks like the ride down to Texas didn’t affect the guns.” said Brian Robeza.  I looked over at Mike Kuethe and Stanley Peroke who, like Brian, had made the journey to near Fairfield from central Illinois.  They nodded in agreement.

 “These guys hunted hogs in Texas before, down in South Texas near Crystal City. And Mike shot the biggest one. It weighed 12 pounds!” snickered Jim Bequette, an old friend dating back to the days I worked for Jim when he was the editor of SHOOTING TIMES.  “Think they’ll be able to do better here on the Clay Hill?”

 I smiled and glanced over at Luke Clayton.  “I strongly suspect before the day’s over you’ll have a chance or two.  There’s some pretty big hogs here on the ranch.  And according to Paul Dubose, the owner, he’s been seeing some really good sized hogs, not pigs, HOGS!”

 Later that evening after Joe Dunn and Luke had fried a batch of blue catfish, the hunters; Brian, Mike and Anthony, were dropped off at their stands.  While they hunted, Jim, Luke and I spent time “scouting”, and  Jim and I told tales of years gone by.  That night when we picked up the hunters they were all smiles.  Each one had taken big-bodied hogs.  Mike had taken a “toothsome” boar and Brian had shot two with one shot; a big sow and a small shoat several feet to the side of the one he shot at.  It took a little while, but just before mid-night the hogs had been butchered and put into ice-filled coolers.

 We spent the morning scouting in different directions and found some more places to hunt that afternoon.  A bit later, after another meal fit for kings, this time elk, the hunters were again dropped at their hog stands.  Luke, Joe, Jim and I headed to a catfish pond and managed to catch several channel cats up to about 8 pounds. 

 That night when we picked up the hunters they had more hogs. 

 “Got some hog dog people coming in, in the morning to take y’all on a hunt; Curtis and Traci Ganer, Jeff and Tabitha Bobbitt, Randy Johnson and couple of others.  They’ll be here at daylight” said Paul, Clay Hill owner, just before he bade us a good night.

 Stories of great stags hunted; bested and lost were told way into the night.  And, as usual, it didn’t take long to spend the night in hunting camp.

 The morning arrived before first light as Curtis and crew pulled up with their dogs and trailers.  After some hasty introductions, we headed into the woods behind the old moonshiner’s cabin where Paul had seen some big boars in the recent past. 

 No sooner had the dogs been released than they struck a track.  We followed as best we could through the dense underbrush.  About ten minutes later, Randy said, “They’re bayed, let’s go!”  With that our entire bunch took off at a run.  I watched as Brian, Curtis, Randy, Traci, Jeff and Tabitha slid into deep ravine where the dogs bayed a spotted sow.  A few moments later Brian “stuck” the hog and, after photos, we were on our way back to the ATVs.

 Paul suggested we head in another direction where some big boars were previously seen.  It didn’t take long; the dogs were again on a trail.  This time they went nearly out of hearing and then headed at a right angle.  “Let’s go toward them.  I think they’re headed to the bottom behind the duck pond” suggested Paul.

 Several minutes later the dogs started baying.  Curtis and crew released the catch dogs and a few minutes later they had the hog caught.  We took off at a run through briars and thick underbrush, crossed two creeks and approached a third.  On a small point covered with briars, was a hog, a big boar hog with flashing white tusks.  It took all Curtis and Randy could do to throw and hold the boar while Stanley applied the “coup de grace.” 

 A united effort dragged the 350 pound boar out of the woods. Later that afternoon the “Illinoisans” finished butchering their wild pork for the long drive back to the Land of Lincoln.  When the “Illinois bunch” left the next morning, it was with a promise to return to Clay Hill Ranch again next year!  We’ll be looking for them!

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For more information about hunting wild hogs or whitetail deer on the Clay Hill Ranch please go to www.clayhillranchhunting.com.