Read this with a big echoing reverberation in your mind: the World Predator and Wild Hog Expo (expo… expo…) Ten days ago, along with fellow SHWAT™ Founder Jonathan Owen, I attended the World Predator and Wild Hog Expo in Waco, Texas. This is not a big show by trade show standards but it is definitely a quality show and open to the public. Some of the biggest and best names in tactical hog hunting and predator hunting were there. Innovative products were displayed side-by-side with some not-so-new but still impressive products. Unfortunately, you didn’t make it, but that’s why you count on us. So, read on, and you’ll learn something new.
Among the celebrity hog hunters in attendance were “Pig Man” Brian Quaca; Craig Meier of Helihunter; Rod Pinkston, Founder of Jager Pro; Clark Osborne, founder of Tactical Hog Control; Xtreme Hog Hunter’s Randy Brown, and the world famous Larry Weishuhn of “A Hunter’s Life” TV series. All were available for questions, autographs and photos. We also saw some good industry friends and made some new ones too.
One of the celebrities, we spent time with is Rod Pinkston. Rod is a down- to-earth professional. He is a veteran of the US Army Marksmanship Unit’s Olympic Shooting Team and has hunted boar in Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic. Clearly he knows how to shoot and hunt. One of his claims to fame is that he is said to be the first to adapt military style tactics to hog hunting.
The credentials of his staff are impressive, too. If you want a great experience taking down some wild pigs, Jager Pro can provide it. Some may call what he does hunting. Rod calls it eradication. Using high end night vision and thermal equipment, Jager Pro and its clients can take down dozens of hogs in a single night. That’s truly a SHWAT™ kind of experience!
We also got to know Helihunter’s founder Craig Meier. Craig has trapped, used traditional hunting methods, dogs, and night vision to take hogs in the name of controlling the feral hog population. This started on his own ranch. Wanting to be more effective and efficient, he even hired the state of Texas to conduct aerial eradication flights on an annual basis. Finding this is to be an improvement, but still lacking, he identified the need for regular patrols via helicopter. So he went out and learned to fly. Since then, he has brought on other experienced pilots and now runs Helihunter. Yeah, he’s really living a tough life!
There were more than 70 companies represented at the Expo. I’ll highlight a few for you.
Ident Marking. Ident what? Marking. As in laser engraving. What does that have to do with hunting? Other than marking an AR lower for SBR purposes so you can use a suppressor without having a really long rifle, not much. What isn’t apparent by the name is that they sell high-end night vision equipment. We’ve hunted with the guys that run this shop. They really know their stuff when it comes to NV. With above average quality control and attention to details, they can provide you with some serious gear and you will know what you are getting. They also do some innovative things with night vision tubes and mounts.
Boar Down Decoy Company markets hog decoys. According to the owner, they are very effective. The idea is that the decoy makes the real hogs think that the area is safe and the live ones don’t pay any attention to the fact that the decoy is just a piece of rubber, even when they are right on top of it, pushing it around. I think we’ll have to test this out to see if it works as well as they say.
Another one I have to mention is Legion Firearms. If you don’t know that name, you should. They make premium ARs. These are things of beauty and operation is super smooth thanks to the nickel boron coating they use internally. They have a whole line of rifles to drool over and then buy one of each. In all honesty, I don’t have any trigger time on one yet, but we’ll fix that soon enough.
We also met Brandon Moore, the owner of NiteHunt Lights. We’ve talked with him before but we’ve never actually tried out his lights. He sent us home with one to test, so we will do exactly that and keep you in the loop. On the surface, it looks like a great light and a good value.
Our friends at Nightforce were there too. Great people and if you’ve been following our “Grandpa’s Gun Reborn – From Dust Collector to Long-Range Precision Rifle” project, you know Nightforce makes some great optics. If you haven’t been following this project, you should. Check it out here.
Lightforce, the sister company of Nightforce was also on hand. Lightforce makes a line of top notch lights. They are well known in the auto racing and off-road communities. They also have a line of hunting lights that is touted to be among the very best. Once it got dark, the show moved outside to a park just across the Brazos River, where some goats were tied to stakes in varying places in a field. Abner Druckenmiller of Foxpro’s Furtakers TV, Byron South with MOJO Outdoors TV and The Predator Pursuit TV cast demonstrated how to use the Lightforce hunting lights with the goats subbing in as predators.
After it was all said and done, I was genuinely impressed. Compared to some other industry shows, the World Predator and Wild Hog Expo, may be a bit smaller, but it makes up for size in the quality of those attending. With names like Jager Pro, Pig Man, Niteforce, Eotech, FoxPro, Ian Harford of Team Wild TV and many more, it was bound to be good. I’m glad we went. If you have the chance to go next year, you should. It’s well worth it. There are some great products and people to see there. Stay tuned to www.SHWAT.com to see how some of them can directly impact the quality of your hunting pursuits!