I went out yesterday (Weds) for a guided archery pig hunt at Tejon. Met with my guide (Steven) and the rest of the hunters around 1pm and we headed up to the nice south side cabin. This was my first time on the south side, and its awesome!
Unfortunately I didn't get to see much of it however, because this hunt would be over the first evening!
We left and headed up powerline road around 4pm and within 15 minutes we spotted a bunch of pigs just off the road within about 30 yards.. they were already busted running up the hillside but right away we were in it already! Further up, I spotted pigs across the canyon on a ridge close to the road. We inched up within about 200 yards, got out of the truck and started our stalk. Wind was blowing pretty hard and swirling... we both thought we'd bust them but we pressed on anyhow in hopes we'd get an opportunity. Just over the hump we hear them and then they start heading right at us in all directions. Probably 8 or so pigs with a couple sows in the 225+ lb class. Well by now I'm shaking like a leaf and Steven and I get down low, there are hogs all around, the wind is swirling and my heart is pounding. Just then the biggest sow about 250lbs+ heads right for us, stops and starts stomping, snorting and huffing at us. We were within 10 yards! I had no clean shot but she seemed to start getting agressive looking like she'd come right at us so I drew the bow. She changes direction and heads off behind a bush, but another big sow follows her from left to right and gives us a pretty good lane for a shot about 18 yards away, but we are hunched down too low to clear the grass, and I'm afraid to stand up as there are at least 5 hogs within 15 yards of us and they are getting edgy. Finally a third sow around 200lbs slowly walks through the same path, I'm at full draw, but I'm too tensed up and nervous to keep my pin steady and there is still a bit of grass to get through. I decided to pass on the shot and the first big sow had finally winded us and they started bookin'. Fun as heck hunt so far and its only an hour or so into it!
We head into an adjacent area and spot 2 different groups of hogs, 1 hanging out with some cattle and some all alone but in a hard area to get to. We decide to drive as close as we can to the ones near the cattle and plan a stalk, hoping not to spook the cattle and the hogs. About 200 yards down the ridge we spot the cattle and they spook hard, but we didn't hear any pigs bust so we're pretty sure the pigs have worked their way a little lower and we are in good shape. Wind is in our face and we continue towards a clearing and spot them. We hunker down again and we've got 4 sows spread out in a line in front of us about 35 yards, 2 of them wet with piglets in tow. These are much smaller pigs, but since I'm looking for a perfect meat pig for my first, I'm excited and finally we confirm one about 100-120lbs is not wet and is in a perfect position for a shot. We inch up slowly to 30 yards, I draw my bow, try to steady my nerves, hold the pin and let it fly.
... and I watch the arrow dart hard to the left from my aiming spot! WHAT THE?!?! I hit her 6 inches too far back from the vitals, a gut/liver shot, and I'm completely sickened with myself. How could I let that happen?!? Steven confirms its not a "good" shot but she's hurt.. she ran about 60 yards to the right and stopped and hunched over. Fortunately the other pigs didn't bust and they all resume feeding/nursing activities. My pig is still hunched looking hurt and lays down a few minutes later. We decide to wait it out and hope for another shot, and the other pigs finally move away and we spend the next 45 minutes inching slowly to her looking for shot #2. We move up to 20 yards and I put another arrow through both lungs. She bolts hard, unfortunately in the one direction we hoped she wouldn't.. straight down a nasty hell hole.
We waited a while then move up to the spot we put the 2nd arrow through her and find lots of good blood. Unfortunately no arrow in sight. We pick up the blood trail and slowly work our way down into the canyon. About 1 1/2 hour later following the blood in rough terrain (real steep loose dirt and dead leaves that hid the blood trail as we were causing little dirt slides), almost dark, we finally spot her anchored up against a tree about 10 yards from the bottom. Pig down!!!!
She wasn't big, ended up roughly 100lbs dressed (guess) but she's exactly what I was hoping for.
We dressed her out and found that my first shot had just skimmed the liver but was basically a terrible gut shot. Thank goodness I had the opportunity at the 2nd shot or she may have got up and ran to the next county never to be found (and my hunt would be over, pigless). 2nd shot went right through both lungs about an inch above the heart.
With light fading fast, and a cold night forecasted, we decided to hang her up a little in a tree and come get her out of this hell hole in the morning with a quad. Ahh, the joys of guided Tejon Hunts! I found my first arrow on the way back and there was very little blood but plenty of gut sign... ack... Back at the cabin I shot that arrow again and it darted to the right. I shot it about 10 times and it was a wild arrow, always darting off 6 inches at 30 yards in random directions. I had checked all my arrows and picked out my best 4 for my quiver just an hour before the hunt, but my only guess is that I mixed them up and put an unbalanced "bad" arrow in my #1 quiver slot. Damn! Never again...
About 7am we made our way down the bottom of the draw (more like a ravine!) on the quad... I still can't believe we made it in and out of there.... downed trees and rocks everywhere. But we made it within 100 yards of the pig, strapped her on and hauled 'er out.
Success!!!! I've been trying real hard to learn the ropes and get my first pig, so this was mighty sweet for me to finally get 'er done. Lots could have gone wrong but I guess the stars were aligned. Steven was an awesome guide and of course all the guides and hosts at Tejon are top notch. Another amazing and memorable experience at Tejon!
Anyway, here's a pic of my 'lil meat pig..
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