Hog Hunt with Big Bore Air Rifle

Hog hunting is becoming popular across Texas. Let's try it with an air rifle!

I’m fortunate to live within a mile of some very good hog hunting. I hunt hogs year around and have taken lots of big boars with everything from my compound bows to my trusty old .270. The past year or so, I’ve done most of my hunting close to home with my air rifles. There is an old sow on the place that might just be the smartest critter I’ve encountered in the woods.

The current littler of pigs first appeared on my trail cameras back in August, and now they are well past the weaned stage and weigh about 35 pounds apiece. But, all ten (now nine) of them are sticking with the sounder their mother is in charge of. Hogs form sounders or herds and usually a wise old sow is the leader. My goal the past week has been to intercept the sow and half grown pigs and put one of the little porkers on the smoker! I decided to sit in my bowstand, situated back in the woods in heavy cover and attempt to shoot one of the pigs with my Air Force Airgun in .25 caliber. Shooting a 46 grain hollow point by Hunters Supply, I felt confident I could cleanly take one of the pigs with a well placed shot through the vitals.

On my first three attempts, I heard the hogs coming through the woods. The leaves were dry and I could pin point their whereabouts well before I saw them. On each hunt, the old sow took the entire sounder on a circle around the area I’d been baiting, she got my scent and the hunt was over.

I noted the wary sow and her pigs were hitting another feeder within thirty minutes of noon each day. I set up in a ground blind 25 yards from the feeder at 11 am. This is a Snap Lock Blind I use for bow hunting. It’s very easy to assemble and easy to transport back into the most remote spots. I had four solid walls around me and hoped my scent would be contained. My plan was to shoot a fat pig at the first opportunity, hopefully before the sow got my scent.

Just after noon, I heard them coming. But for reasons unknown, the sow did not circle the area. She and the pigs came trotting up and paused at 28 yards to look the situation over. This gave me time to center the crosshairs on my Sun Optics USA scope tight behind the shoulder of a pig that appeared to weigh about 40 pounds. The pig was broadside and the Hollow Point hit where I aimed. Later I discovered it was a perfect heart shot. The pig took off at a dead run but made it only about 25 yards.

I let the little sow chill overnight hanging in a big oak behind my house and the next morning, skinned and quartered it and after cleaning the meat well, seasoned it with garlic pepper, salt and dark brown sugar and put half the meat directly into my Smokin Tex Electric smoker. I smoked it for 2 hours with wild plum wood and then put the meat in aluminum pans, added a bit of BBQ sauce and wrapped the pans tightly with foil. With my Smokin Tex turned down to 190 degrees, I let the meat slow cook all night. The next morning, it was fall off the bone tender (see picture below).

There are currently 9 more “eater” pigs roaming the woods near my house. In a week or two, I plan to put another in the freezer. They should weigh close to 45 pounds by then!

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