A Tradition Askew
April 3, 2014
That title is a fancy way of saying, “whoops! I missed my annual April Fool’s Day post.”
It’s not that I had anything particularly solid to work with this year, due to varying factors (day job) and limited inspiration. But it’s tradition, dammit.
My brother and I were off hunting Tuesday and Wednesday, and while the lodge advertised wifi, the mere wisp of a signal I found when I logged in Tuesday evening would hardly have carried a full post with images. What’s worse, the signal was security-protected, and since it was approaching midnight and the guide had gone home to bed, I didn’t dare go knock on the door and ask for a password. So I guess the April Fool’s joke was on me.
Well, that was fun. It’s an archery-only hunting ranch about an hour from here, called Crystal Creek Bowhunting. The plan was to hunt for axis and hogs, and while the package offered the option of shooting sheep (ramboulet, mouflon, aoudad, and some hybrids) and turkeys, I was pretty much narrow-mindedly fixed on axis. Thus, I passed up a couple of opportunities in return for… well, I did see some axis yesterday afternoon. From the truck. On the way to the stand. But I never even had one come past my stand, much less pose for a shot.
I did get a shot at a hog during the hog-a-palooza on Tuesday night. The damned things came out of everywhere, and all six hunters had shot opportunities. At the end of it all, six hogs were dead. Unfortunately, most of the pigs were of the football-size. One of the hunters managed to skewer three with one arrow. A few bigger (50-60lbs) showed up as well, but the real heavies held up in the thick stuff until after dark. One of the other hunters took two of these meat hogs, including a really cool looking blond boar. My own shot went a shade high over a little boar at 22 yards. I’d been holding out for an orange and black spotted boar, probably about 60 pounds or so, but it just wouldn’t come into my shooting lane long enough. As it was almost too dark to really see my pins (time for a new sight), I switched over to the black boar and promptly jerked my shot.
My only redemption was that my brother, typically an absolute dead-eye with the bow, missed his pig too.
As dusk settled into night yesterday, I had one more close call. A good-sized, 125 or 140lb pig was coming right to my stand. Unfortunately, he stopped to snack in the thicket as full darkness fell. I heard Mr. Scrofa rooting rocks out of the way, and then after a sudden grunt, he was tearing and chomping at something. I’m pretty sure he was eating the 5′ buzz worm I’d seen earlier, which had disappeared in that same general vicinity.
Whatever it was, it occupied him for the final moments of shooting light. When I couldn’t take it any longer, I hit the Surefire and tried to light him up, but he was screened by a thicket of persimmon and mesquite. I heard him grunt and bolt, but only a few yards. Then he stood there and popped his teeth at the intrusion.
After a few minutes, I climbed down out of the stand and went out to wait for the guide to swing by and pick me up. As I stood in the darkness, I heard the pig return to his feast, less than 40 yards from where I stood.
Bowhunting is hard.