Brenton Mitchell takes us after big pigs in hard country that is not for the faint of heart.
There’s something about watching an arrow fly true to its intended target that has me mesmerised. Its just an awesome feeling when you put in the hard yards to get in close enough for a shot, then watch that arrow sail right into the boiler room of a big gnarly boar, that s also when it sometimes can get a little hairy as pigs have the ability to give as much as they get at times.
I love bowhunting pigs, they are a real challenge with archery gear. Their eyesight may seem to let them down a little but what they lose in the sight department they sure make up for with their other senses. With the ever present danger of being charged by an irate boar after a fatal hit, it makes hunting pigs that little bit more exciting as they can and very often do even up the score with a less than careful hunter.
Here are a few short stories of some of the more memorable pig hunts I’ve had the privilege of being part of.
Idling along the dry creek bed on the quads Jamie pulled up abruptly in a cloud of dust, which seemed to lazily drift back and envelope me. He started fumbling with the zipper on his bow bag and I knew he had seen a sleeping pig in bottom of the creek bed. Sneaking up beside him and peering over the bank there lay a nice rough looking NT boar. With a thwack a well placed arrow from Jamie’s Mathews Helium Bow punched right into the heart lung area and with a woof the large boar erupted from his bed only to pile up just ten yards from the hit. It was a great way to start our hunt this morning and to make it even sweeter I managed to film the whole thing. Slowly approaching it was clearly evident that he was done and we celebrated with a few backslaps and handshakes for a quick clean one arrow kill.
We always like this to be the norm with a quick clean kill but with pigs. They seem to have a knack of working out what or who has stuck them with an arrow and do their best to even up the score before the full effect of the arrow has taken place.
Later that same day, Wade spotted what seemed to be a good sized sow laying asleep in the sand under a shady tree. Removing his boots and slowly stalking in to 25 yards he put in what he thought was a great shot on the sleeping pig. Following up on the pig after it made its way into a thicket of saplings and long grass in his socks we soon heard a few hollers and girly screams coming from the middle of the thickest spot. Jamie and I made our way in to see what Wade was putting on a turn about when we seen the size of the pig which looked quite a lot smaller when it was laying on its side in the sand. She was a huge big old sow and Wade’s first shot which he thought was a good shot actually hit a rib bone and deflected just under the skin and exited without doing any damage at all. So when Wade came up behind his supposably mortally wounded pig she spun and charged in an instant. Wade fired again but missed and this resulted in the girly screams we heard as he fended her off him with his bow. She finally let up and he put in a good shot and finished the job before she could do any real damage but his pride was already damaged. This was a bit of a wake up call for us all as she was only a sow and not a big cranky boar with sharp hooks.
We ended up taking about a dozen good boars and over a couple of days and thankfully none of them were as cranky as wades big sow.
Another trip, which comes to mind, was from back a few years ago hunting with Jamie again and another mate Scotty at Jamie’s dad’s property near Texas Qld. We were looking over a few small pigs coming in to feed on the ripe cactus fruit in the area when a nice big hooky boar came waltzing up out of the gully below and over to the cactus tree about 100 yards from us. After scissors paper rocks I won so it was game on. Slowly making my approach through the rocky terrain, there was no cover at all so every time the boar would face away I would make some quick ground then stop again and wait when he turned broadside or towards me. This took quite a while and after making it to around thirty yards I decided that I wasn’t going to push my luck any further. With the boar happily munching away on the fallen fruit he was quartering away at around 45 degrees which was a bit tight for my liking but with a seventy pound bow I was confident of slipping an arrow in around his last rib area and down into the lungs. Drawing back and steadying the pin the shot was away and that’s when all hell broke loose. The arrow flew true but connected with a rib on impact and only seemed to get a third of the shaft in penetration. The boar roared and spun around looking for what had just stung him. After looking right at the motionless figure standing thirty yards away he knew exactly what I was and instead of taking off he roared again and with white foam coming from his chopping jaws he came flat out charging right at me. Well I don’t think I had time to scream like a girl but I did decide to run for about ten feet before realising he would be on me in an instant. I turned to face the music and fend him off with my bow but as he made it to about 5 feet from me I noticed the blood coming from his snout and mouth and he collapsed before He could unleash his anger on me, much to my relief. Right about then I could hear laughing coming from up the hill as Jamie and scotty were yelling out get him get him while rolling around in the rocks laughing. Nice pricks I thought.
This is why it’s a very good reason to use a strongly constructed two-blade broadhead for tough-skinned or big-boned animals. A multi blade head will never penetrate a deeply or punch through bone as well as a 2 blade head.
Another great hunt that comes to mind was out at Charleville in western Queensland with my hunting mate Wade.
We were poking along a dry watercourse with just a few small holes left with water. Every pig in the general area would have to be watering at these drying holes we thought and after a short walk we found this to be right. There were pigs at every hole for about a kilometre. Peering into the shadows along the waters edge we spotted the tips of a boars ears flicking above a fallen log. Closing the gap to twenty yards had the big boar lying in his bed quartering away. Drawing the Mathews MR7 I settled the pin of my HHA movable sight on the big boars last rib and let drive. The boar erupted from his bed and ran back past us unaware of what had just happened. He stopped snorted his disapproval and trotted about fifty yards away until the razor sharp broadhead started to take effect. With the wobbly boot, he lay down against a large Gidgee tree trunk and I took this opportunity to follow him up and put a second shaft tight behind his shoulder to finish him as quickly and cleanly as possible but he never got back to his feet and passed out on the spot. He was a great old western boar with big thick hooks unfortunately with the tip busted off one side. He still managed 26Dpts with a broken hook so I was a happy bowhunter.
It was a great trip out west with a few nice tusky boars taken along with a few other pigs and goats with the bows.
We are so lucky to be able to go out and hunt this great land of ours and It’s a great way to spend a few days in the Aussie bush doing our part for conservation thinning out a few ferals.
We as hunters do more for the conservation of our bushland and its native species than any bureaucratic, shiny-arsed biro pilot in the greens party could ever hope of doing, so get out there and educate the non hunters so they hear our side of the story and why we choose to hunt. For most hunters its not so much about the kill, It’s the hunt that draws us to the bush.