Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A first class outfit.

This post is a big, “Thank you!” to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Service.

A few weekends ago they sponsored a youth feral hog hunt at the Nannie Stringfellow Wildlife Management Area. I was able to attend with my boy and was thrilled with what the Parks and wildlife department made available.

There were roughly 6000 acres of land made available for hunting that they split into 19 compartments. In each compartment they provided a 5x5 enclosed box blind that was located along working paths and game trails. The parks department had heavily baited the areas around the blinds a week in advance to get the hogs used to coming into the kill zones.

It had been raining heavily the week before and much of the land was either marshy or a mud pit. I do not have an ATV and was dreading the mile hike through the mud and slop to get to our blind. “No problem” they said, and drove us out on their ATVs. They dropped us off just steps away from our blind then gave us a phone number to call as soon as we were ready to leave so they would know when to come and pick us up.

For hunters that killed hogs they would drive out and help load the animals onto an ATV and bring it back to the cleaning station. The cleaning station had at least six gambrels mounted from beams under the covered pavilion. There was a fresh water hose for cleaning as well as a front end loader to dispose of the carcasses.

I do not want to give the impression of deluxe accommodations, wasteful spending, etc. There was not much out there….these guys are hoping to get a parking lot in a year or two instead of having to slog through a mud filled path every day. There wasn’t much but what was there was just right. I could not have asked for anything nicer and all it cost me was the $48 public hunt permit that I had bought for dove hunting late last year.

As far as the actual hunt itself, well, it was quality time spent with The Boy. We had a big time eating jerky, peeing in plastic bottles and playing Rock Paper Scissors. We saw plenty of deer, squirrels and birds but the hogs were scarce. After 14 hours of sitting in blinds over the course of two days we finally had a sow come in with dusk falling fast on the last evening of the hunt. We saw her at 250 yards out and patiently waited until she was ~140 yards. The boy took the shot and missed: too little light, too far a shot and needs more practice at the range. Let’s call it a teaching moment.

I’ll line up another hunt soon. Here piggy, piggy, piggy!

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