Wild Pig

Cholame, California, 2015

Here is my pig. I'm going to estimate him at about 190-200 lbs on the hoof. Excellent eating pig. Taking your shot just before legal shooting light expires doesn't make for great photos, but if you look closely you can see where the bullet entered just behind the shoulder. There was no exit wound. We found the bullet in the rear quarter on the opposite side.


Above is a picture of my nephews blond pig, and my black pig, as they take their final ride. They are both just about the same size. Nice pigs, especially considering the 4 year drought that California has endured.


Here is the recovered Barnes .257 TSX, all copper bullet. Perfectly mushroomed!


I decided to try pulling out the lower tusks from the jaw of my boar. My first time trying this. I asked my guide to cut the entire lower jaw from my boars head, and I put that in the freezer until ready to work on it. To pull the tusks, I filled a pot with water to cover the jaw, and added about a tablespoon of Tide laundry detergent liquid. Then set the pot to boil. Once it reaches a low simmering boil, leave it for about 30 minutes. Don't go too long, or boil too hard. I've heard the tusks can crack, so I would avoid over heating, and also avoid temperature shocks.

After the first boil, pull the jaw and let it cool enough to handle. Then grasp the teeth and see if they are loose enough to pull out. Wear some old gloves, because those teeth are honed sharp! From the boar constantly gnashing his upper and lower tusks together. For the tusks, try pushing them inward instead of outward, because of the natural taper of the teeth. The boiling should have loosened the collagen enough that they will wiggle loose, and the laundry detergent has helped to break down the fatty tissue. If they won't pull, scrape as much meat and tissue away as you can, and try a second boil. But just one boil worked for me.

So you ask, why would I want to pull the tusks from my boar? Makes an interesting souvenir. I threw this little dangler together in an afternoon. The spent casing is the one used to take the animal.

It was the first evening of our hunt, May 15, 2015. We were hunting on the Jack Ranch, with My brother Ron, my nephew Chris, and two friends Don and Mark. Our guide Jeff, had Ron, Chris and I, out in the field at about 5 PM and we had hunted the twilight hours in several locations on the Jack Ranch. Don and Mark hunted with a second guide, but we were in communication when needed. We had seen a few wet sows, but not what we were looking for. About 7:30 as the sun was sinking low, we spotted large numbers of pigs out in the barley fields. We also spotted lone pigs heading down toward the fields, which are more likely to be the dry sows and boars.

Jeff parked the truck, and he led the 3 of us on what felt like a foot race toward the oak studded hills, where we hoped we could ambush the pigs from cover.

The pigs in the field didn't work out for us, after a missed shot, as well as the wind changing up on us. But we were in a good position, with enough light left, to hopefully get the drop on pigs arriving late for dinner in the barley.

Jeff positioned me in a spot where he said I would have a good chance at pigs passing by, or pigs that the other hunters might set on the run. Meanwhile he headed to the south with Ron and Chris. This would be the first big game animal taken by Chris, so everyone was keen to see him get a good opportunity.

So I found myself alone, hoping for some porcine company. I spotted a lone pig pretty far to the northwest, but obviously headed east toward the barley, so contrary to my guides instruction, I headed out to try and intercept. It ended up being a long hike/stalk, and I never did get eyes on that pig. So as the sun was setting at about 8 PM, I headed back to where I was supposed to be sitting and waiting. And just as I approached my designated spot, I see a pig headed down the valley exactly where Jeff had told me to watch. Guess I wasted shoe leather for nothing, but my opportunity was headed my way, and maybe I hadn't blown it after all.

I had plenty of time to watch the approaching pig, and I slipped over under the branches of a huge old oak tree. I glassed the pig to be sure it was not trailing piglets, as I had promised Jeff I would not shoot a wet sow. Those are off-limits, and are our assurance of good future hunts. I couldn't be sure this was a boar, the tall grass was concealing his male hardware, but I had plenty of time to be sure there were no piglets or other pigs. This was a lone pig! Exactly what I needed to see.

I took a comfortable seat, setup my Trigger Stix bipod and rested my custom Remington 700 BDL in .257 Roberts Ackley Improved in the cradle. This rifle is fitted with a fixed power 4X Leupold, so no fiddling with the scope. All I really needed to do was wait, control my breathing, and let the pig keep coming closer. He was quartering toward me. As the distance improved, the angle was becoming less favorable, and of course the chances of the wind switching and betraying me increased. I certainly didn't want this to turn into a running shot, so at an estimated 100 yards, I centered my crosshairs and squeezed.

The pig dropped in his tracks with a squeal. He had enough left to try to get his feet under him, so I squared away for a second shot if it was needed, but it was over for him pretty fast. No second shot.

The Barnes .257, 100gr, TSX boattail did a good job of putting him down. Always an iffy thing with these damned copper bullets. Mixed results at best has been my experience, but this one entered just behind the shoulder on his right hand side, and we found the spent bullet in his left rear quarter, perfectly mushroomed. I figure it traveled through about 2 feet of solid pig before expending all the Ackley Improved energy that had launched it. Very acceptable performance.

Moments after my shot, as I was approaching my downed pig, our guide Jeff came over the small hill behind me. He was close and had heard my shot. As we walked up to my pig he informed me that Chris had his pig down too, and he and Ron were nearby waiting. We both had nice boars down, and on the first evening too. Although we barely beat the waning shooting light. We field dressed the pigs under flashlights. By the end of the weekend hunt, all 5 of our party had their pigs, for 100% success.

I personally built this rifle, over the 1985-86 time frame. Based upon an old Remington BDL in .22-250 that I had bought used from a friend, it had been my very first hunting rifle, acquired as soon as I was legally old enough to own it. I fitted it with a Douglas Premium barrel, which I bought tapered, crowned, blued, fully chambered, and slightly long in headspace. Working in my spare time in my employers machine shop, I fitted the barrel using an ancient engine lathe, and head space gauges that I purchased from Brownells. The stock is a Brown Precision genuine layed up fiberglass. This is all old time stuff, 30 years ago. Some of the companies are still around, some aren't. Things have changed in the 30 years that are behind me, but things that worked then, still work today. Well, some things anyway.