Years ago, it seemed that every evening I would scout before opening day of Texas’ archery deer season, some giant critter would walk right in front of me–namely, a big aoudad ram or boar hog. And I was always unarmed. It’s legal to hunt exotics and hogs year-round in Texas. I’m a slow learner, but finally I started carrying a rifle or bow on my evening scouting trips.
On Wednesday, September 12, while I was perched on the rim of a canyon, just such a scenario unfolded.
I had my big 80mm Leupold spotting scope trained on a handsome whitetail buck by the river. He was one mile away, but through the 60X power glass, it was like he was at the end of my driveway. He had long beams, long tines and ten even points–not much mass to the beams–but everything else was there. A young buck with lots of potential; his rack was polished up, out of velvet. I’d guess his rack at nearly 140-inches.
It was a rare calm evening with no wind. A storm had just rolled through drizzling much-needed, cold rain. Not sure if I heard it or saw it first, but straight below me on a sheep trail at sunset I spied something big and black. Through the binos I realized it was a good-sized wild boar. He was all by himself, like most mature boars usually are.
I scrambled to get my pack laid on the edge of the bluff. I chambered a 130-grain Hornady round into my HS Precision rifle and rested the .270 rested over my pack. I cranked the Leupold to 10X and checked the range. The rangefinder said it was 130 yards at a steep 30 degree downhill angle. When the crosshairs lined up on the big boar’s hairy shoulder, I touched it off.
The boar dropped instantly, kicked a couple times, then rolled down a steep, rocky bluff until he snagged in some thick mesquites. By this time daylight was all but gone. Considering the steep bluff I would have to descend in the dark to reach him, common sense prevailed. I headed for the truck.
The next morning I found him upside down, dead as a stone. He was a tank! A mix of dark brown and highlights of blonde on his face and back, like a silvertip grizzly. I propped him up for photos and set up my tripod amid spits of cold rain and gusty winds.
With a small steel tape, I took some measurements to keep me honest. His heart/girth measurement behind his front shoulder was 45 inches. From the tip of his nose to the base of his tail was 67 inches. His longest bottom tusk was 3 inches long and sharp as an ice pick. I’d say he was a solid 300 pounds on the hoof.
I’m as proud of a big, nasty mature boar like this as I would be with a buck for the wall. The boys at Skulls Unlimited in Oklahoma will clean the boar’s skull with beetles. Their work is top-notch. Then, it will sit on a shelf in my office next to other mementos of great days outdoors.
Remarkably, I shot another big, ugly spotted boar at that same vantage point one year ago.
I might have been a slow learner, but I’m making up fast for lost opportunities.
Back to scouting for deer season!
Rut Reporter Brandon Ray is an expert on the region. Ray was born in Dallas and shot his first deer with a bow in Central Texas at the age of 15. The full-time freelance writer manages his family’s Texas Panhandle ranch, is a licensed New Mexico guide, and last year took a 184 gross P&Y non-typical trophy. States covered: TX, OK, NM.