I realize the greeting may be somewhat late, but my view is that anytime you go hog hunting it is still appropriate!
In reality this story covers an event that happened the day after Thanksgiving anyway. Who wants to camp out to buy another flat screen TV when you can go kill hogs?
Since my brothers started SHWAT a few years ago I have been the beneficiary of some very nice “table scraps.” Don’t get me wrong, my two boxers would tell you if they could talk that they live for table scraps and the occasional item that happens to hit the kitchen floor. It’s the highlight of the doggie culinary world. As are the experiences I have been able to take part in on occasion with my brothers Stephen and Jonathan. As a more “regular guy” with a demanding 8-5 M-F job, scheduling is always a bit tougher for me so when I do get to participate in any of their events, well, they are the highlight of the year and produce much bragging and bravado for several months! Seriously. Like I said, this took place the day after Thanksgiving and I am still talking about it!
Normally my wife and I host Thanksgiving but this year we went to Abilene to my brother’s house. While there I helped him knock out a few projects and so he decided we would go hog hunting! Although I have been to a few very cool events with the SHWAT founders I have never really been hunting – for anything. Needless to say I was pretty excited but also had tempered expectations having heard more stories of not getting hogs more times than actually bagging some.
We headed out to Vera, Texas to Farmer Brown’s house. There we were graciously provided lunch before the hunt. Farmer Brown owns or leases about 150 acres of non-contiguous land in the Vera area. The land is kinda like Tetris out there, cut up into various shapes. Farmer Brown has 4-5 pieces but they don’t touch each other.
We geared up for day hunting in cool temps but with what felt like a continuous 30 mph wind! I head out with my Daniel Defense rifle with an Eotech red dot and 3x magnifier. Jonathan provided me with a Viking Tactics sling that perfectly snapped right into the rail and buttstock. Boots, jacket, gloves, hat, sunglasses – BAM, ready to go. Well almost. First we had to sight in several rifle and optic combinations. Always fun when the wind is blowing 30+ mph and you are using paper targets stapled to cardboard boxes. Resourcefulness is required to keep all that in place for sure.
After getting sighted in, we jumped into the farm truck and took off. I would say “old farm truck” but frankly it’s newer and has a lot less miles on it than my personal truck! It is dirtier than mine though! Farmer Brown’s son-in-law went with us so the 3 of us were squeezed into the cab. We went to a conservation area that is not farmed; always a good location to find hogs. Tall grass, slightly undulating terrain, a good place for hogs to bed down… Nothing. We drove to the several other plots of land they farm, still nothing. And when I say nothing, I mean nothing. Not a rabbit, a squirrel or varmint of any kind. Bubcus, nada, Nyet, zilch, Nine, Non, I could keep going here but you get the message. My tempered enthusiasm was proving to be correct.
Light began to fade and in West Texas that always means spectacular skies. Pinks, yellows, purples all set against the ever deepening blue sky. It certainly looked like the consolation prize. We were a bit chilly and certainly hungry so we headed back to the farmhouse and there ate a hot dinner prepared by Mrs. Farmer Brown. Let me tell you, not having seen any hogs (or anything else…) we were pretty darn spoiled in my book. No protein bars, Spam or general camping rations for us. Nope, we even finished off an entire pan of chocolate chip cookie bars, still warm and gooey. Now with bellies fully satiated we geared up for a night hunt. More jackets, snuggie hats, warmer gear head to toe. It was also time to swap out daytime running gear for nighttime stuff. Queue A-Team theme music here. I switched to my brother’s Accurate Armory AR pistol with Wilcox RAPTAR IR/visible laser/white light combo unit. A Team Wendy helmet with ATN MVN-14 night vision optic attached with a work of art mount by Wilcox. The machine work on the mount alone is enough to make you stare in awe. It is a complicated thing of beauty that works simply. Farmer Brown’s son in law, Jared geared up with a Tavor with an ATN THoR thermal sight. Jonathan had a set up similar to mine except no weapon. He went as the guide. Jared with the thermal site was our spotter since he would see the heat signature of hogs before we would see them through our night vision. We returned to the conservation area with high hopes that the little piggies would be out for some evening dinner. We walked around for a while, eventually making it to the far side of the “grassy knoll” in the conservation area. Still nothing. We kept walking south a bit and Jared spotted some hogs in the open field. So here we are, grassy knoll behind us, open field with hogs in front of us and a tree line behind that. Wind is at our face so they probably can’t smell us. They are not real close at this point. Jared has them in his thermal, Jonathan has them in his night vision and I am crouched there scanning 180 degrees of field of view going “I don’t see anything!” “Where are they?” So I am thinking Jonathan’s night vision is much nicer than mine. Of course he took the nice one for himself! So we creep in closer and closer ten steps or so at a time. Finally I start to see something. Jonathan says “you see those shadows in the optic, those are the hogs.” I see them, not real well to be honest but I see something. The closest hog to us, which seems pretty large to me, must have heard us; he stopped grazing on freshly planted, wheat and lovely grubs long enough to start oinking and snorting at us. At this point we knew we were made and set up for a quick shot before they start to run. Jared and I drop to a knee and select our targets. Jonathan calls the ball and gives us a 3-2-1 count via a thump on our shoulders with his fist with a “silent” 0 for us to fire on. Jared and I fire. And darn near fire at the exact same time, not bad at all for never having done this before! We each got about 2-3 rounds off, not a lot, but the pigs were “flying” so to speak. At this point and you would have to be a much better hunter than I to keep shooting with any hope of actually hitting anything. So I now refer to my previous statement; Bubcus, nada, Nyet, zilch, Nine, None, that’s what we got. Lee Harvy Oswald was a better marksman than I or he had magic bullets that I could have used. I was not real surprised as I was still struggling to see much through the night vision optic. After the hogs took off Jonathan asks me, “Hey, have you tried to adjust the focus on that thing?” Uh… No, what focus? Duh… So I adjust the focus on the end of the optic. I think, that is some better. Not great, but still better than it was. I am thinking at this point, and probably said to him – you might have mentioned that earlier! So we take off in the truck and go find a new spot.
This gets better. But you’ll have to come back get the rest of the story. It’s too good to fit on one page, so stay tuned here at SHWAT.com and on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram to for part two and all the latest from SHWAT™!