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Now to boar you about California wild pig hunting

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POSTED April 10, 2018 12:36 a.m.

Over the last few years I have seen increasing numbers of wild pigs while out on my outdoor excursions. As I understand it, wild pigs weren’t very common in California until William Randolph Hearst imported some Russian Wild Boar to stock his private game preserve at Hearst Castle. 

Apparently everything went along fine and dandy until the boar refused to cooperate and escaped into the surrounding countryside. Over the years the Russian Boar began to breed with escaped barnyard pigs that had formerly belonged to neighboring farmers.

  For a couple decades it seemed as though nothing was happening on the pig front, but the hybrid pigs, known as feral pigs to Fish & Game biologists, were merrily breeding away and expanding their numbers in the wild back country of the coastal mountains. Pretty soon the pigs were making a nuisance of themselves by tearing up crops and fences in semi-civilized properties. It was about the late 50s that pig hunting began to become popular both on the central coast, as well as Catalina Island.  Hunting guide services soon became available and word began to get out that wild pigs were a pretty darned good game animal. They are smart, fast, incredibly edible, and make a great looking wall mount. To top it all off, the pig population is growing by leaps and bounds. By the late 70s the pigs had spread across the coastal valleys and into the fringes of the great central valley. 

Until about a dozen years ago I had only hunted wild pigs at the Hunter Leggett Military reservation over on the coast. Although I hunted my little heart out, the only glimpse I got of a wild pig was at the check-out station at Hunter Leggett where the successful hunters weighed out their animals. Boy was I impressed! Those wild boars were the biggest, nastiest, ugliest critters I had ever seen.  Still, however those darned pigs turned out to be smarter than me, and I got nowhere for several years. During the last few years, however, wild pigs became increasingly numerous on the ranches where I catch rattlers 

Getting afflicted worse and worse with boar fever, I began to carry my old 7 millimeter Mauser carbine with me.   Finally, on my 50th birthday, I spotted a nice pig standing broadside at about 50 yards. This time I did everything right and actually shot my very first wild pig.  My son’s comment was “All right Dad, great shot!” What a thrill! Although the pig I got was only average and weighed about 250 pounds on the hoof, I’ was still almost as excited as a new bridegroom.  I could get into this wild pig stuff. It’s pretty darned exciting. Now I’ve got to get a really BIG one.  I heard that one of the guys on a neighboring ranch shot an old boar that went over 800 pounds.  I ‘m going to get started loading some more cartridges for my old Mauser. 


Until next week,

Tight Lines.   

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