Quiet would be the best way to describe our afternoon’s hunt.  For the past three hours Derek Harris, my cameraman/field producer, and I had sat watching a park-like bottom, an ox-bow of the Red River which separates Texas from Oklahoma.  Not a deer did we see, in spite of our hunting area looking like it should literally wreak with whitetails.  “Saw a big palmated 10 point in the immediate area of the ox-bow bottom a week ago, and there’s a good chance he’s hanging out in it and then going into the wheat field on the uplands to the south when it gets dark to feed and chase does,” Graham Hill, our host, commented earlier in the day. 

  A palmate antlered buck; now that would be a worthy deer to conquer.  Just the thought of a chance at such a buck had piqued my interest in hunting the area.  Over my many years of hunting whitetail deer I’ve taken whitetail bucks with many different antler styles, but never one with truly palmated antlers. I had to try.

 As we lost “camera light” in the bottom, I suggested to Derek we ease up the bank and have a look at the field.  Chances were it would still be light enough to film on the uplands should there be game on the wheat. This is for an upcoming episode of my new television show, “Dallas Safari Club’s Trailing the Hunter’s Moon,” which will debut in late June, 2013. I eased up out of the bottom; glassed the field left and right and then straight ahead. Across the field I spotted a dark “something” coming toward us at a rapid pace, about 500 yards away.  As I shifted my Zeiss binoculars in that direction, I quickly saw it was a big, black wild hog.

“Set up quickly! We’ve got company coming right toward us. Big black boar!”  As Derek set up the camera, I set up my BOG Gear RLD shooting sticks and rested my .270 Win, Ruger American Rifle and waited as the boar rapidly cut the distance.  When he got within about 300 yards, he suddenly turned and started running to the left. It appeared he wasn’t going to be coming any closer.  At that point I grunted and squealed loudly.  The big black hog stopped momentarily giving me an opportunity at a shot. I settled the Zeiss Duralyt crosshairs high on the hog’s shoulder and squeezed the trigger.  At the shot, the old boar fell. I bolted in a second round; the boar got back up.  I shot him a second time and again he went down.  As he did, I bolted a third round into my rifle and kept the crosshairs on the boar in case he wiggled.  He didn’t, so without taking my eye off of the boar, I released the Ruger American Rifle’s magazine and stoked it with three more Hornady American Whitetail rounds; then waited.

Before leaving South Texas, I had sighted in my .270 Win Ruger with Hornady’s new American Whitetail ammo,130 grain Interlock bullet.  At our local gun range, I placed three shots within less than an inch at 100 yards.  I loved the way it shot and the accuracy the combination of Ruger, Zeiss and Hornady delivered.  Obviously it had just proven its worth on wild hogs.

  As darkness approached, we decided to recover on my wild hog.  I walked toward the downed boar which seemed to be growing as I got closer. As is always the case, I had bolted in a fresh round and cranked my variable down from 8x to 3x before walking toward the boar.

When I got to within about 20 paces of my “dead” wild boar, that “dear” boar jumped up, spotted me and here he came. Less than two feet into his charge, I had brought up my .270, found the charging hog in my scope and pulled the trigger.  At the shot, the tenacious, old boar staggered.  I quickly bolted in another round and took a step backwards.  The boar kept coming and I shot him another time, at which point he quit coming!  But I still bolted in another round and waited, just in case. I watched the boar for any kind of moment. Nothing!  Finally, I approached his side.

All my shots should have put the old boar down immediately. But that’s not always the way things happen.  Talk about some quick anxious moments.  It’s simply one of the many things that make hunting wild hogs so “interesting” and exciting.

That night with my winter bacon hung in the cooler, we formulated another plan for deer.  Graham and the ranch’s owner, Scott Chapman, suggested setting up near a patch of thick river cane just south of the Red River.  “Love that area because you really never know what’s going to show up there. Could be a big whitetail buck, a big wild hog, or possibly even a black bear.  We’ve been seeing a few bears in our area lately.  Of course they’re protected, but it would be great if you could see one while you’re here!”  I could not have agreed more.  I had heard the northeastern part of Texas had an increasing black bear population.

Later that afternoon, we eased into a small, natural opening in the thick woods and river cane; a perfect ambush site for a good buck.  After putting out some Buck Natural and then setting up my Nature Blinds stalking shield to look like a fallen log, I got ready for the afternoon’s hunt.

A short time after setting up, a 5-point buck appeared from our right and headed directly to the Buck Natural. He fed on it for about 20 minutes. I kept an eye on him but also looked for other deer. Then a doe appeared and walked right to the Buck Natural and started feeding. I watched as she fed.

Suddenly she raised her head and looked hard to her left. Immediately, I swung my Zeiss binoculars in that direction and watched as a very nice buck appeared out of the river cane and underbrush.  A quick look told me he had antlers spreading wider than his ears and he had a swelled neck.  He appeared to be at least four years old.  As the buck headed in the direction of the doe, I eased down my binos and raised my .270 Win Ruger and pointed it in the direction of the buck, which was now making a move on the doe. Behind me I heard Derek say, “I’m on him…”  Wonderful words to hear from your cameraman which equates to “shoot when you’re read  I waited for the buck to give me just a little better angle and then shot. The buck kicked with his hind legs and then turned and bolted out of sight. I was certain I had him hard. I waited all of a split-second before heading to where I last seen him, making tracks toward the Red River only about 75 yards from where I had shot him.  If he was only wounded, I did not want him to get to the river or beyond. I followed his tracks and quickly picked up a broad blood trail. Thirty yards farther, I found him dead.  He had died on the bank of the Red River.  At his side, I noticed one side of his rack was a typical 4 point. The other side had started that way, but then apparently due to an injury he had a sort of messed up rack, one with great “character.”  I could not have been more pleased.That evening there were many stories told around the supper table about great stags bested and those which bested us hunters.  Great to be back in hunting camp!

-Written by Larry Weishuhn