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Author Topic: Russian Boar with my bow  (Read 132 times)

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Offline Rancid Crabtree

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Russian Boar with my bow
« on: January 21, 2018, 04:46:53 PM »
So why would a bowhunter go after hairy, tusky, swine on a game ranch/preserve/reserve/high fence operation/enclosure/cage/pen/or whatever judgmental term you want to apply to the act of chasing game where the high fences surround the land? After all, nobody in their right mind would do such a thing. Right, I6've never taken my bow out to a game ranch/preserve/reserve/high fence operation/enclosure/cage/pen/or whatever judgmental term you want to apply to try and arrow an animal. I?ve never had reason to but after thinking about it briefly, does a bowhunter need a reason to bust through knee deep snow in frigid temps looking for groceries? that's up to you. For me the list of reasons is pretty long for why I would try my hand at this sort of adventure for the very first time. In less than a month I will be bowhunting in Hawaii and there are several new pieces of gear I hoped to evaluate in the field before trying them for the first time 4,500 miles from home. With this adventure, I did it to: (in a very particular order):

1.   FOR THE PORK!!!!! I LOVE PORK!! And I would rather fill my freezer with natural, hormone and antibiotic free meat that I personally harvested than plastic wrapped meat on a foam tray from the local grocer.
2.   Test (in a hunting situation) a new drop away rest I`ve spent a year designing and building.
3.   Test new (heavy and high FOC) Aluminum arrows I built for my Hawaiian bull hunt on something besides foam.
4.   Test a new (to me) broadhead for the Hawaiian bull hunt on a real-life critter. In this case it`s a Woodsman broadhead.
5.   Test two new bow camera mounts that I designed and made that I hope to use on future hunts.
6.   Test/evaluate the use of a hip quiver (have never used one for hunting before) that I hope to use on more spot and stalk hunts and especially for the Hawaii hunt.
7.   All my WI tags are punched leaving no big game bowhunting in January for me to do the above.
8.   This particular target species does not exist in my home state so I have to travel if I hope to pass an arrow through a Russian boar.
9.   I`ve never gone after hogs before.
10.   Self-filming with two cameras under spot and stalk conditions in close quarters. (This adds a level of difficulty to bowhunting)
11.   Adventure. (who doesn`t want new/different bowhunting adventures?) It pleases me to close the distance on an animal and successfully execute a shot.
12.   Education (every time we pursue a different species we learn something new that we can apply to other hunts. Every time we send an arrow into an animal we learn about its performance/lethality)
13.   News Experiences (I`ve never been to the Michigan`s UP before. I`ve never seen Escanaba in Da moonlight.)
For some, there is no way, no how and no reason that could compel them to pick up their bow and seek to arrow a boar within the confines of a fenced operation. (unless somebody else paid the fee for them). And that`s ok. Your time, your money, your choice and until now I too didn`t have enough reasons to do it.  I wasn`t against it, I just never had a desire. This particular fenced operatron happens to be 370 acres (just over 9, 40s) of thick woods, open hardwoods and open areas. and is larger than any lease or farm I have hunted in Wisconsin by more than double the size (that`s one hell of a big pen).

I drove up the night before and got to see Escanaba in Da moonlight.

The lodge looked modest from the outside but the accommodations were outstanding. Despite the frigid temps, the night was warm and comfortable.

The next morning was even colder. This is defiantly Hawaii.

I drove to the main building for breakfast and to meet my guide Don. During breakfast, Don asked several questions to establish my level of hunting and bowhunting experience. He was particularly interested in my broadhead of choice. When I informed him, I WAS NOT using a mechanical head, he seemed at ease. When I showed him the long, 3 bladed Woodsman I think he was even more assured that there were no concerns with the one part of our gear that is ultimately responsible for killing. He then shared horror stories of past experiences with clients using mech. Heads. He was blunt and had lots of first hand experiences to form that opinion as he has been doing this for many years.
After breakfast we spent more time talking in his truck about bowhunting which Im pretty sure allowed him to gauge who he was dealing with. Since this was a meat hunt, I told him I?d heard that uncut (not castrated) boars are not good to eat so I would target a sow. He said that boars that are sub-200 Lbs. have great tasting meat and that I should not hesitate to go after a boar. I also explained to him all the new items I was hunting with hoping to evaluate their effectiveness in advance of my Island hunt. Despite my never having sent an arrow towards a hog before , he felt no need to tag along or participate in my day beyond showing me the property. He deposited me and my gear in the snow and drove off. The temps were in the teens, the wind chill even colder and enough to make you want to cover any exposed skin.
The boars are skittish, wary, jumpy and not at all tolerant of humans (can you really blame them?) There eyesight is far better than I had imagined and I immediately wished I was smart enough to wear snow camo instead of the brow/green I had on. Their nose rivals a deer and once I encountered that, I noticed they never stopped testing the air for humans constantly harassing them. Getting in bow range was not easy. It has to be done from down wind or you can forget about getting close.

After busting through knee deep snow and glassing only to be busted on many occasions when I was still more than 100 yards away, it was clear this was not going to be like walking into a pen and shooting a pig. There were no stands, no blinds to wait in or behind, it was the sort of on-the-ground, spot and stalk I was looking for. These pigs were educated and not at all interested letting me get anywhere near them. I had underestimated these hogs. Frankly, I expected it to be easier than it proved to be, after all, I was only trying to kill a pig in a pen.

Here is a brief video of what it looked like.

The hogs never stopped moving. I would imagine is warm weather they may lay around and avoid exertion but it was cold with deep snow so they stayed on the move. They were never in one place very long and would suddenly have a desire to be elsewhere (and always in a hurry). The biggest boars were solitary. I would see them at great distances that would challenge a rifle shooter. The fact that they are so dark coupled with the white background helped me spot them but this hurt me because the hogs used that to their advantage due to my dark camo. Often times they knew where I was before I would spot them in the forest.
When I would spot a large group, there were a few occasions when I would anticipate where they were headed next and played the wind and could close the gap to 40 yards but the act of withdrawing an arrow from the hip quiver, nocking an arrow, starting and zooming camera #1 and then camera #2, clipping on a release and successfully executing a draw cycle required too much motion when dozens of eyes were always scanning. Ultimately, I would be spotted and it was off to the races after a grunt and blow from one or more large sows. More times than I can count I dropped to my knees and whispered a curse word or three only to stand up. Brush off the snow and start over.

I realized very quickly this pork was not going to be plastic wrapped on a foam tray. This would require effort and the snow and cold and self-filming, compounded the event. This was an honest to goodness challenge and I was loving it. Clearly these are not tame hogs. These are not pet pigs in a cage. They are wild in every sense of the word and wide ranging even if not Free ranging.
The deep snow and the short legs of the hogs meant the hogs would create runs through the forest that were narrow but well packed down. These trails were not a quiet walk due to earlier freezing rain that created a layer of crunch and the cold of that day made the snow actually squeak under my size 13 pac boot but the trails were clear indication that the hogs prefer walking there than busting a new trail. Likewise, Don`s 4x4 also created packed down trails the hogs were happy to use.

With the wind in my favor I headed towards a wooded edge of a clearing with enough clumps of trees to provide cover where I could wait. Also, I needed a break from walking the deep snows. While I waited, I practiced all the actions required to capture the event on the two cameras. More than once I was very happy to be wearing my Black Claw Bow holder since setting the bow in the snow was not an option and there was no place to hang a bow on a tree or stab a bow holder in the frozen ground. This was the exact reason I designed the bow holder because it kept my bow upright, at the ready and on my person while allowing both hands to tackle the tasks of self-filming and keeping both hands in a warm pocket instead of holding the bow.
From time to time a large boar that never objected to breaking a new trail, would pass by but always in excess of 100 yards, occasionally a group of hogs would pass but all my filming movements would get me busted. The lack of heavy cover made it difficult set up on a location that blocked my movements but sitting still seemed to make more sense than simply chasing pigs over the 370 acres so I waited. I lost track of the number of times I got as far as clipping the release on the string. Clearly, I was too close to the trail so I backed deeper into the woods but even then, I was getting busted. When I was about to move to a different location I spotted a group of 3 boars cutting through the woods in my direction. This time I started the cameras far earlier than ever which is a risk since one of cameras was filming in slow motion and using up memory and battery life is big gulps. I clipped my release on the string but left the bow in my Black Claw bow holder since it was exactly where I needed it to start the draw cycle.
The lead boar walked by at 30 yards. I was able to get away with the draw but then he turned and faced me. He stared directly at me for several seconds and then turned. Even though he was quartering away I could still see his eye meaning he could still see me. The 2nd and 3rd boars were behind a tree and the tree I was standing near blocked their view. I put the 30 yard pin on the far side shoulder hoping to drop my woodsman behind the near shoulder. In real time, it looked like a typical quartering away shot. The boar expired in less than 50 yards.
Since the pig was down within eye shot, I went looking for the arrow. By the time I placed back in the quiver the blood-soaked fletching was frozen solid. As I approached the boar I was surprised at the impact point. Later, when I viewed later in frame by frame arrow flight, it showed just how much the hog had moved before the arrow arrived. My lumbering 691 grain arrow going 221 feet per second caused my broadhead to impact the near side ham, plunging forward, through the vitals, the opposite shoulder blade, exiting just behind the ear. The heavy arrow passed completely through about 35 inches of moving hog and performed exceptionally.

I recovered the arrow and already the blood soaked fletching was frozen solid.

Here I break down the shot thanks to the bow mounted camera.

I dragged the boar a short distance to where it could be reached by Don`s 4x4 and I took a few pictures, then waited for him to arrive. This gave me time to review the footage which is like opening a gift on Christmas morning. Did I get a toy, or socks? This time it was a toy. Both cameras proved themselves and I learned a great deal about the changes I need to make before self-filming my hunt in Hawaii. Had I not made this effort, I would not have seen the shortcomings of the 2 camera system but I still have time to improve the camera setup. Likewise, the hip quiver was a huge success and requires no upgrades.

The new Drop away rest I`d spent so much time developing worked flawlessly as did the heavy arrow and woodsman broadhead.

When Don arrived, we took more pictures.

We loaded the hog and headed back to the main house to dress the hog, talk about the day and get something to eat. In my opinion, the entire event was challenging, physically demanding and in no way could be construed as killing a pig in a pen. In fact, I`ve had archery deer and bear harvests that were far easier and less demanding than this. This hog hunt was enjoyable and educational and allowed me to evaluate new gear I have never taken afield before and most importantly I was heading home with a bunch of pork and footage to put together. I also left with something else. I left with zero regret, guilt, shame or hesitance to say I took a hog with a bow and arrow inside a High fence. and enjoyed it very much.

I enjoyed a daytime drive along the shores of frozen lake Michigan as the hog chilled in the bed of my truck.

When I got home I disassembled the hog and learned more about the damage the head did. To say Im impressed is an understatement.

« Last Edit: January 25, 2018, 05:45:34 PM by mudbrook »
Any day in the woods is a good day.