The Essence of Life

The Essence of Life

Monday, August 1, 2016

Henrique's Hog Hunt

Drawing from the mighty hunter himself

My nephew Henrique came visiting from Brazil to spend a month during one of the nicest summers I can recall here in Traverse City, but his mind was in something much beyond summer and the blue waters of the West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay.

As the old saying goes, "you can take the boy out of the farm, but you can't take the farm out of the boy," and as soon as Henrique arrived the only things in his mind were hunting and shooting, and maybe a bit of fishing.

As you may or may not know, Brazil has some of the most draconian (and ineffective) guns laws in the world, so prior to his trip to Michigan the only things that Henrique had shot were an old and very loose air rifle and some rounds from a just as old and maybe as loose 410 shotgun.

So, as soon as he arrived at my home he was at the backyard shooting my Crosman 3357 .177" CO2 revolver. I tried to introduce him to other air guns, but he was just in love with the Python lookalike. Some days later I introduced him to Sporting Clays at Cedar Rod & Gun Club, and on the following Tuesday he discovered the world of Trap shooting, and after dropping my daughter and grandson at the Grand Rapids airport it was time to explore Cabela's.

But all these activities could not quench Henrique's thirst for hunting. The problem was that we were (or at the time of this writing are) right in the middle of summer, not the most convenient time of the year for the Sport of Kings, and I had to find a solution or either he would go crazy or worse yet, drive me crazy. The only practical and affordable solution was a hog hunt, and after searching the internet I settled for Super G Ranch, in Morley, MI, about two hours from my home.

Before going on with the story I would like to make a few comments: I really believe in fair chase hunting, but like many other hunters, and probably many of you, I've hunted preserve birds before and hunted in large high fenced properties in South Africa, and found both to have a place in the modern world of hunting. And one of most certain places is in introducing new hunters to the sport, especially when a young aspiring hunter is visiting from a far way place out of normal hunting season.

So we are back to Friday a week or so ago, waking up at 4:30 AM (one must really be a very nice uncle to do such a thing!), getting dressed (in my case, as Henrique slept with his clothes on) and getting on the road (my huntsmobile was already loaded with all the gear.) After a pancake breakfast at McDonalds we arrived at Super G Ranch just after 7:30 AM and Les, the owner, took us to a 540 acres high fenced hunting area about a mile from his home.

As we drove inside the inclosure and parked the huntsmobile under a nice shade tree, three or four pigs came to us as to be fed, and we just ignored them, even a very large hog that slowly moved away.

Henrique geared up, which consisted of a brand new Ka-Bar knife on his belt and my 1949 vintage Winchester Model 70 in 270 WCF. I carried a range finder and my Ruger SP101 357 Magnum, the later more for psychological comfort than real need.

The plan was to walk around the 540 acres until we saw a hog and then approach to a reasonable shooting distance, a classic stalking by any other name, and we started down a two track that pretty much bisected the enclosure. After three or four hundred yards I noticed some movement just off the two track, and we approached carefully and saw two whitetail does. We stared at each other for what seemed like a long time and they bolted into the undergrowth.

Shortly after we came upon a very large cow, most likely pregnant, and shooed her away, before crossing a creek. From there it was uphill, and the temperature started climbing with us.

After another half a mile or so, Henrique spotted some animals. It was a group of four or five very large pigs busily making a meal of whatever they had found. The rangefinder read 130 yards, and we decided to approach and check for hogs. As we closed the distance it became clear that there were only sows. We talked a bit and Henrique said he really wanted a hog.

We abandoned the sows and continued our journey into the "wilderness." After sometime heading west we came across a little marsh and had to cross another (or maybe the same) stream, and then came across some rams. And although the rams would make a nicer wall hanging trophy than a hog, I rather eat porc than mutton (but I will rather eat lamb than porc), so we let them be. They also didn't seem to mind us being around, another reason to ignore the rams.

We started heading south and had to cross yet another stream, and once again uphill we found several rather small pigs, and even with the higher temperatures decided that they were not what we were looking for. But after turning east into the woods to sort of close the loop, I noticed movement far ahead. It was a sounder of maybe ten or twelve animals, and they were foraging leisurely heading for the stream.

We moved at an angle to cut their path and when the sounder crossed the two track that we had originally walked on, two hogs, a black and a red, started fighting. It was nice to see their battle while the large sows moved around, apparently ignoring the would be suitors.

While the hogs filled the woods with their squeals and grunts we approach to forty yards, I told Henrique to kneel, and he selected the black hog, sending a 130 grain Remington Core-Lokt just behind the left shoulder. The sounder broke out towards the marsh, and the black hog arched in the opposite direction, not traveling more than ten yards before collapsing.

Henrique wanted to finish the hog with his new Ka-Bar, but I refused to let the accident-prone young men to risk an injury, and told him to put another bullet into the back of his head.

Les' daughter came retrieve the hog with a front-wheel loader and we walked back to the hunstmobile. We met Les at the barn to skin and quarter the 260 pound hog, and some good conversation, prior to starting back home.

Tomorrow I will smoke one of the hams in my Big Green Egg and bring it to Cedar Rod & Gun Club for Henrique's farewell party prior to his return to Brazil on Friday.


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