After almost three decades as an outdoor writer, I sometime find myself backtrack and rekindling old friendship that I made decades ago. A couple weeks ago, I was invited to the Ben Wheeler Wild Hog Festival to be a judge of the cooking contest and have a book signing for my book, “Kill to Grill, the Ultimate Guide to Hunting and Cooking wild hogs”. While in my booth, an old buddy and his wife came by to say hello. I used to help him with guided hog hunts near Athens years ago and our talk went instantly to some of the exciting times we’ve enjoyed together. Our conversation soon when to the present and he began to tell me about a good friend of his that was in his words, “covered up in hogs”.
“Luke, a good friend and his wife own an awesome ranch just west of Athens”, began my friend. “The place is surrounded by some remote land that is not hunted. There is a nice hunting lodge on the place. Do you think you might give him a call? He asked if you could help him set up a hog hunting operation on his place.”
I was more than pleased to make a new friend that enjoyed hunting hogs, especially one with the keys to the gate of what I later discovered was hog hunting Utopia!
There was a time in the past when I would have jumped all over managing the hunts on a good hog hunting operation but today, I find myself way too busy with gleaning fodder for my articles (actually hunting and fishing) and producing three different radio shows each week. But, it just so happened that I knew just the person to run this operation.
Enter my longtime friend and partner in elk and bear hunting in Colorado, Larry Large. Larry has been looking for a ranch with lots of hogs, one that is not high fenced but in country that has a very healthy wild hog population. After a visit over the phone, the plan was made to meet the ranch owners bright and early the next day. Our plan was to put our boots on the ground and thoroughly scout the ranch on foot. There’s absolutely no better way to learn a piece of land than to first walk the perimeter and then scout the interior.
We found the ranch owner and his wife to be very nice people and anxious to help get the place set up for hunting. Actually, all that was necessary to convert the ranch into a hog hunting operation was to set several stands and corn feeders. Larry and I were expecting a camp house but found a very nice lodge on the place, complete with patio and an area for outdoor cooking. The place will easily accommodate 4 hunters in comfort.
We spend about three hours scouting the ranch and found it impossible to walk more than fifty yards without seeing signs made by the obviously plentiful porkers. Rooting were everywhere in the fields and woods. Deeply rutted hog trails traversed the place. It didn’t take a Daniel Boone to see that this was one red hot piece of hog hunting property
After our initial scouting, we chose 4 of the best spots to erect ladder and pop up blinds, with feeders set nearby. With hog sign widespread over the place, it was difficult to narrow the stand sites down but we finally chose spots along the major hog trails. Corn feeders set just about anywhere would draw the hogs in.
Back at the lodge, plans were made to begin offering hunts immediately. All that was really needed is stands and feeders. The heavy acorn crop on the place had really concentrated the hogs. Keeping the feeders throwing corn each day will insure they stay nearby.
Large plans to be present on all the hunts and do the guiding. The ranch will cater to bow hunters and stands are set within bow range of the feeders. Large is a veteran bow hunter that has recently switched from hunting with his compound to his Darton Toxin crossbow, because of shoulder problems. He plans to give his hunters as much attention as needed.
“For first time bow hunters, I’ll take all the time necessary to make them comfortable and in the right place to be successful. I truly believe any veteran bow hunter simply needs to know where the stand is and what time the feeder goes off. The hog population is that good!” says Large.
Night hunting will be available for hunters with green or red night hunting lights on their bows. Anyone that has hunted free ranging hogs very much knows that too much pressure will push them out of an area. Large plans to hunts each stand no more than one hunt per week, this combined with a heavy feeding program will insure the porkers stay in the area and provide continued good hunting.
For more information on this new hog hunting operation, visit Large’s web site www.huntingeasttexas.com or give him a call at 970-819-3464
Listen to “Outdoors with Luke Clayton and Friends” on radio stations from Nebraska to Texas on weekends or anytime online at www.catfishradio.com.