by Azreel | February 6th, 2010

Been out hunting nearly every weekend since Jan.1st. Haven’t been as successful as I’d like, though most of the hunting has been on public land which is subject to overpressure from other hunters. Of the 6 trips I’ve made, I only came up with one doe and two hogs. Only one of the hogs was taken on public lands. The doe and the other hog were taken on a friend of mine’s ranch.

The ranch is heavily populated with deer and hogs – overpopulated in my opinion. On a spread around 600 acres, we counted more than 60 individual antlerless, and one small buck. The lack of bucks seems to reflect that most of the hunters on the ranch target large bucks and ignore the does and antlerless or spikes. This doesn’t bother me so much… I’m pretty much out there to enjoy the sport and fill the freezer with fresh meat.

The public lands are another matter entirely. During general deer season, you may as well forget about it. The land is useless for deer hunting. On one lot that spans more than 26,000 acres, I’ve hiked probably 50% of it scouting and looking for ANY deer sign, and come up with bupkis. Nada. On the other hand, it’s pretty well infested with wild hog. They are EVERYWHERE – problem is, on a piece of land that big, figuring out where they are and at what time. I’ve got their habits down pretty well. Well enough to the point that I can pretty much head out at any given time, temp, and moon phase and know where they are going to be. But that scouting took a lot of time to go over the land. But the time paid off and I harvested a nice boar last week. He weighed probably 200 pounds live weight.

Which brings me to the other downside of hunting public lands. You’ve got to hike a good way in before you get to where the game is. This guy was about 1.5 miles from the nearest vehicle access (they don’t allow ATVs, and I don’t have a mule or horse), meaning I had to hump 200# of meat out by myself over rough terrain. Not fun. I’ve got a little sled setup that I assembled out of a tarp and some rope that works pretty well. It packs in light and compact, and slides over the rocks and undergrowth with (relative) ease. In it’s cinched up “haul” mode, it also wraps up around the carcass and protects it from limbs and twigs.

I’m heading back out with a buddy of mine who is new to hunting. He’s been out once before with me early in the season, but I hadn’t had time to scout the land, and there were a couple dozen other hunters out there when we went, making our attempts unsuccessful. Now that general deer season is over (and the fact that the Superbowl is on when we’re going) I expect we’ll have all 26,000 acres to ourselves. Hopefully we’ll come back with a couple of nice boars.

I’m putting pics of the boar I took on public lands and the doe behind the cut for those gentle readers to find such things disturbing.

Little doeNice sized boar taken 1/31/10

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