After Action Report: Feral Hogs. Or… “How I owe my Guardian Angel a drink”

You know the old adage, “God protects fools and little children.”  If given that premise on a standardized test and were then asked,

“God will protect Dante because he is: 

a) A Fool
b) A child
c) all of the above?”

How should you answer?

Let me give you a hint, I passed the Age of Majority a good while ago.  Well… At least physically. 

Honestly, I’m beginning to wonder when God will handwrite in a 4th option, “d) God will NOT protect Dante.  God is tired of protecting Dante.  Dante goes through Guarding Angels like Paula Dean goes through butter.  I’ve got three angels still out on stress related leave.  DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE COST OF LONG TERM DISABILITY IS FOR A CHERUB!  No, Dante is on his own.  Ungrateful little… Sorry, he just frustrates Me.”

But I digress…

I haven’t been hunting since I was Answer “C”.  But recently, thanks to the kindness of <edited for OpSec>* and his father, I’ve been able to make the foray into real hunting** on “Bear’s” (don’t know who “Bear” is?   Read the footnotes.  I don’t put them there for filler) family property.

This was my second time going out.  The first time, I got nothing, but saw some hogs and, in hindsight, probably should not have been so selective with my shots.  I tried to get on the ground, but a scoped BAR and a 9mm pistol was just not conducive to scrambling around in the tangled brush.  A quick attempt proved fruitless so I just walked the trails and called it a day.  God, it was the most peaceful time I’ve had in ages. 

In the weeks between hunts, I considered my options as the brush gently called to me in my dreams.  “Dante, we’re in here.  We have cookies.”  So I ordered some 180 grain hard cast Buffalo Bore for my .357 and pulled the venerable Winchester 94 out of the safe.  My fist adult, purchased for me, not handed down gun.  It has run out to the range several times and proved rather serviceable with only a few failures to load that seem to be endemic of the “lawyer models”.   In truth, it was probably my short stroking the action, but whatever…  The Interwebs says the post 64 94’s suck so I can blame it on that. 

This past weekend I was able to go back up to the property with “Bear” and Day 1 passed with nary a peep from Bambi, but I could hear “stuff” in the brush.  Day 2 was much the same.  Day 3 was the last chance to get Bambi or “something”.

The sun light came and the chill lingered.  Around 8:00 AM it was obvious that no deer was going to stumble out onto the clearing to partake of the corn.  I hemmed and hawed trying to talk myself out of going into the Underdark.  But lacking any real common sense, I went ahead prepped my ’94 and my person for the trip into Porky’s realm.

As a preface I have a confession to make.  My name is Dante, and I’m a gear whore.  There, I said it.  I like gadgets and gizmos and will almost always use them to compensate for my lack of experience until I get the experience I need.  And even then, they are still way cool.  This time I tried some calls that did now work*** and some scent blocker spay and soap.  That morning of the 3rd day, I used the scent blocers.  Now back to our story.

So with Thudy-Thudy in hand, a knife, a folding leather hat, and my .357, I slid myself into the brush****.  I cut my way to the first clearing then paused to take a look around.  What peace and quite.  How much darker it is under the canopy.  It was almost surreal.  It was like being somewhere in fey dream world, complete with the ghost of a swirling mist.  For some damn reason, unknown to me, I checked my cell phone.  “Bear” had texted me that he was on his way.  Blah.  I was just getting used to this. 

“One more clearing.  Just one.” My mind told me. I could see one about 30 yards ahead.  “DO IT!”  I did.  As I reached the edge of the clearing, I got pretty snarled up in some thorny vines and came to dead halt.  I put the Thudy in my left hand and grabbed the knife to cut myself free.  That’s when things went rodeo. 

“SQUEEEEEEEAL!  SNORRRKK SNORT! HUFF SNORT!  SQEEEAL!”  The whole thicket around me erupted in a din of porcine racket.  2 ran past me on my left at about 20 yards.  One on my right took an oblique angle and sheered off somewhere behind some trees.  One more on my left stopped about 15 yards from me and starred at the strange figure not moving who seemed to look human, but didn’t smell quite right.  In some fit of Hollywood nonsense, I put the knife in my mouth and leveled the rifle right behind Miss Piggy’s ear and… “CLICK!” 

Now it is true that the one of the loudest sounds in the known universe is “BANG” when you expected “Click”.  But I can tell you with the acute knowledge that comes from being Tueller (Or would that be Tusker?) distance from a wild pig whose IFF***** is rapidly coming to the conclusion of, “Lunch,” that, “Click,” when you expect, “BANG,” is positively deafening (and somewhat defecating).  In fact, I intend to start referring to the “Big Bang” as the “Big Click” for that must surely have been louder and more likely to send things flying out of you.

Now the rest is somewhat fuzzy since I kind of went into auto pilot as the world slowed down.  I KNOW I jacked the lever twice, indexed the crossbar safety, and re-cocked the hammer at least once.  I know I pulled the trigger 3 more times.  I know other porkers where squealing around me.  I know it went, “Click,” three more times.  All my actions seemed to be in the right order, but I’m not going to bet on that and will wait for the proverbial, “Life passing before my eyes,” to check and see how the events unfolded.

But at some point my defensive pistol instincts kicked in and I went to my .357.  As I lifted and cocked my revolver with my right hand and tried to lower the rifle with my left, Miss Piggy decided to bolt with a squeal.  I guess the sudden transition from relatively still rifle stance to sudden aggressive pistol draw, that I’m sure was about as smooth a transition as moving from XP to Vista, spooked her.  I was about to shoot, but she ran off in a way that would have put my shot far too close to the direction that “Bear” would be driving up. 

I spun back around to my right in time to see 2 smaller pigs coming toward me.  I leveled my revolver at them, more in defense than an attempt to take one.  If they got too close I was going to do my impression of a Phalanx.  They altered course and gave me a less than wide berth.  I could hear others dashing through the undergrowth and I even caught so foggy glimpses of some more that would dart toward me then veer off before committing to running me down.  Then they were gone from view.

With pigs still screaming in the near distance, I started back the way I came.  One problem, I was still caught. In all the excitement, I’d forgotten to finish the job of cutting myself loose. I chuckled to myself and was still kinda shaking but retrieved the knife from my mouth (Yes, it was still there) and finished the job. 

Something had sent the pigs into a full batshit frenzy and they were squealing like mad somewhere past the clearing.  Now free, I was about to exit when I saw the two ejected rounds lying on the ground.  Now I’d like to tell you that I bent over to pick them up instead of beating feet because of some deep desire for the forensic realities behind the malf.  Alas, no.  I’m just really cheap. 

I got to about 10 yards from the edge of the brush and the squealing moved off away from me.  That’s kinda when I lost it.  I just started cackling.   I emerged from the brush, .357 still in hand, Winchester being held in the left, knife returned to its sheath, and my hat rakishly akimbo.  I was still laughing maniacally. 

“Bear” found me laughing like a mad man and quipped, “Sounds like you had more fun than I did.”  I told him the tale. He picked up the ’94 and said, “May I?” 

“Sure,” said I.

“BOOM,” said the ’94.

I started laughing harder.  Then remembered the rounds in my pocket.  “Here,” try this one.”  I produced one of the .30-30 Leverevolution rounds. 

“Bear” took it and said, “Well, you can see a light dimple on the primer.”  Then cleared the gun and loaded the round. 


“I hope you don’t mind me saying, but you really should spend some character points on wood’s craft.  Cause you suck.”  “Bear” offered helpfully.

Jackass.  But it’s not like I wouldn’t have said something similar if the roles were reversed.

We all decided that the scent blocker must have worked for that pig to stick around that long.  We also decided I need a lighter oil.  Sure the one I was using might be great at room temp, but it kludged up at 34 degrees and needed to be worked free.  Of course, I have my own theory.  The hog was somewhere between 200 and 250 pounds.  I’m not sure how well those 165 grain bullets would have worked on her.  Perhaps it was my guardian angel keeping me from pissing off the sow. 

“That damn fool.  Here let me stop that pin.  Whew.  Wait! What’s that ass doing?  He’s racking another shot!  DAMN IT!  Whew.  Stopped that one too.  That should… OH NO!  THERE! Now cut that out…  OH Holly hell!  STOP!  Ok, the next one you are on your own.  I’m out!”

So what have I learned?  Scent blockers seem to work.  I don’t know how to call a wild animal, but I see quite adept at stumbling on them.  I need lighter gun oils.  I need better .30-30 rounds for hogs.  I NEED a larger side arm.  That .357 looked way too small to me. 

My wife wants me to get higher, more rigid, leather boots.  I want body armor.  So I asked if she’d be Okay with assless chaps as a compromise.  She smiled.  I’m not sure what that means. 

Just before my close encounter of the porcine kind, I was thinking how much I liked the stalking****** as opposed to sitting in a blind.  After the incident, I had to ask myself if I still felt that way.  There must be something pathologically wrong with me because I can’t wait to do it again.  I’ve NEVER felt more alive and at peace******* with life than I did in the midst of that bad decision. 

So I heartily apologize in advance to whoever has GA duty over me next time.  I’m intending to get on the ground again.  So how’s about you let the gun work?  It would probably be better for all involved.  Well, maybe not the pig. 

For those interested, these are the products I used as scent blockers.  IMPORTANT FTC NOTE: I have had a nice long hot shower so my posterior is ripe for osculation.

Edited to Add:  I have the rounds that failed.  I was planning on putting one in a shadow box with the sign, “Dante: 0, Pigs: 1, Underwear 2.” 

*Oops. The names have been changed to protect the guilty so I have to change the names of the innocent as well.  We’ll call him “Bear”.
** Not giving your child a .410/.22 over and under with 2 ¾ inch slugs without so much as a range visit and saying “good luck”.
*** I say they, but my real guess is they didn’t work because of me.
**** And by “slid” I mean “stumbled, tripped, and cursed.”
***** Identification: F**K or FOOD
****** Okay, “Stumbling,” in my case.
******* At least with my clothes on.

2 Responses to “After Action Report: Feral Hogs. Or… “How I owe my Guardian Angel a drink””

  1. 1 Dragonfly, aka Mrs. Bear December 22, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    SO helpful, isn’t he? Too kind of you to label him “innocent.” 🙂

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Conservative, educated, understands history, distrusts government, distrusts politicians, dislikes pop-culture, and carries a firearm. In short, I'm what The Framers of The Constitution were counting on and everything your government wants you to fear most.

The only thing I don’t have to complain about is some GI taking up space in my living room. I’ll let you know about the Civil Courts if someone ever owes more than $20 to me. ---If you didn’t get that one; sue your Civics or US History Teacher.

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