Tactical hog hunting covers a really wide set of circumstances. It includes the one shot one kill precision shot over distance, the spot and stalk, bolt guns, AR-15s, silencers and night vision. Ultimately, tactical hog hunting brings together shooters of all stripes to take on the challenge of the exploding feral hog population. The hog problem is more than the catalyst for hunting. In places, the sole purpose for hunting hogs is the eradication of this invasive, destructive menace.
Some who hold a narrow definition the term “hunting” where harvesting meat is mandatory, struggle to understand the purpose, and the excitement, of the much needed high-speed eradication of this species. This is not a story for them.
This is the story of Texas tactical hog hunting. It’s part one of a story of two well equipped good friends, Andrew Quant (owner of Atwell Tactical in Richardson, Texas) and Andrew Pickett. Add to that a land owner who trusted them. The 2000 acre cattle ranch in this story consisted of overgrown brushy terrain that had not been hunted. It was the perfect location for happy hogs, but made for a frustrated rancher who had reached out to the hunters for help.
The land owner had specifics in mind: clear out the hogs, but all scouting, all hunting, all movement on the property, had to be on foot. Leave the dead hogs where they fall. And don’t shoot the cattle. Hauling meat out by foot over several miles, from numerous hogs killed in widely separated areas, would create obvious logistical issues. In the lawsuit happy world we live in, giving that meat away after it sat in the field for some time, then packing it out by foot, could create liability issues for all parties.
It all began on a cool October Friday night with a hike into the property. With no moon, this required navigation with night vision gear. Since they were staying through Sunday with nighttime temps of 36 degrees, they had to carry a lot of cold weather gear in addition to their standard gear. Both Quant and Pickett carried Eberlestock Operator packs completely loaded down.
A single gravel road, long ago abandoned and overgrown, ran a mile and half into the center of the property. The brush was consistently knee high or taller, growing everywhere on the uneven topography.
On the initial scouting trip, hogs were spotted headed towards a tank. Stalking proved futile, as the pigs had moved on by the time Pickett and Quant made it to the tank. Satellite photos of the property showed a larger tank on the property, and the scouts headed there to set up camp.
After breaking camp the next morning, the two man team headed north towards the back of the property to another tank. It made for about a mile hike through the brush, over fences, all with packs full of gear on their backs. But once again, the hogs were nowhere in sight.
The satellite image showed another tank due south. Heading that way brought Pickett and Quant to the top of a hill where they spotted a group of four feral pigs due south of their location, east of the tank. The backpacks were discarded, and the two advanced on their hands and knees using mesquite trees as cover. The hogs were about 150 yards off. As they got closer, they spotted another group with eight hogs to right. The party split up, with Pickett maintaining the original approach, and Quant vectoring towards the larger group.
In short order they had both reached their firing positions. However, they still needed a firing plan. Pickett was looking at 100 yard shots while Quant was closer to 30. They looked at each other, nodded, and took aim. Quant fired first and Pickett missed, but got back on target and fired three shots at his group. Two of those shots sent back the telling “thump” sound, but this group was made of four BIG pigs. They kept going. Quant was running through his group. Pickett moved to help him clean up the runners, shooting one with a 6.8 Barnes TSX to the face. That one went down instantly. Official count at this point: Pickett 1, Quant 4. A great way to end a hunting trip, but they knew their work at this ranch was far from done.
November rolled around and the two friends got another call from the rancher. He had located a large sounder of hogs residing in an area of the property unexplored on the prior trip. The team loaded up for a cold weather overnighter and waited until dark for insertion. The game plan was to head south to investigate an area they had only seen from satellite images. This area was more densely wooded and rougher terrain, yet there was a dead end ranch road that cut through the middle of it. This seemed like a good location to start a patrol.
Within an hour Quant and Pickett came up on a herd of pigs at the end of the road. They shed their packs, and Quant spotted while Pickett did the shooting. Four dead hogs later, the official count on this property was now Picket: 5; Quant: 4. The Barnes 6.8 85 gr TSX does the job easily every time.
Having gathered the four pigs, taken pictures, and admired their luck so far, Pickett and Quant headed back to camp. They bedded down in bivy’s and slept pretty comfortably through the 36 degree night. Coffee and breakfast got Saturday morning started off right. Day packs loaded, they headed back to the pasture where they shot the original 5. In an effort to scout more of the area for further sign of hogs, they left camp in a different direction, working their way out way around to the west of the property.
Pickett and Quant caught up with a group of hogs easing along side of some super brushy woods, but the cows kept moving with them. They moved, the cows moved, and the hogs spooked down into the brush. The tactical hunters worked their way northwest, then headed straight back to the east towards the big tank where they were skunked the first time. They moved past the tank to ridgeline of the hill, and then turned back south to the location of the original sounder they had gotten into on the first trip.
Pickett spotted Hogs at 250 yards and yelled “Contact” to Quant. He moved to a position where he could see Pickett’s view, and they put together a game plan to take the three hogs.
The scrub brush in this pasture was knee high, and many of these pigs were 90-140 pounds. You can imagine the backs of the hogs jutting up just at or sitting just below the top of the brush. This bunch was nosing through an old round bale pile.
A ridge allowed the hunters to stay concealed, moving in to around 100 yards, stopping behind a stand of mesquite trees. At this distance, they now could confirm eight wild pigs in the group. Crawling on hands and knees to a position approximately 65 yards from the hogs, they decided to fire from this position to keep the lines of sight open. A count to three and both popped up and started firing, working from the outside of the sounder to the middle from their respective sides. This process worked extremely well, and the hogs didn’t even spook when the firing started.
Official count: Pickett 10; Quant: 5.
We’re not done yet wit this story, so be sure to catch part two. Not only will you get the rest of the story, we’ll detail the gear these Quant and Picket ran for this extraordinary hunting experience.