We found our way to our guide just fine this time, and arrived to find that we had new company on our pig hunt. Chris' cousin Eric (Chris was our guide), was coming to help Chris spot, and Chris' younger brother Manny, was going to go with us, basically to hang out and make sure we didn’t get lost while calling, since Eric and Chris had planned to scout in the same area we were calling in but away from us so we could get some action while they were glassing.
Manny was NOT happy to be along and told me so, so when we finally stopped for lunch, he got into it with his brother and said he wanted to go home. They argued a bit and I was a bit uncomfortable, so I said I would take him home. That was not going to happen, so we ended up taking Manny in to eat while Chris and Eric split for a while. Manny ordered his lunch then left for a bit to see a friend while waiting for his food. When he came back, he didn't even want to sit with us at first, and then complained some more. I finally got mad and told him I was taking him home. He said he would get in trouble and wanted to stay. I told him tough crap, and that he wasn't a guide, and I wasn't a baby sitter, and that if I come back, and he WANTS to hunt with me, I will take him out, but I wasn't going to have him around ruining our day.
When we got back to his place, Chris and Eric were there, so we dumped the 15-year-old attitude problem and went hunting.
We got out to a "secret spot" and quickly spotted some pigs in the saddle of a mountainside. We tried calling them and they came down the mountain a fair ways but were holding in some thick brush. We decided to put on a stalk, so we drove to the bottom of the canyon and parked the trucks. We started climbing and it wasn't long before we came across javelina tracks, and fresh LION tracks mixed in with them. The guides were a little nervous and wanted Dakotah to stay close between us. There were a lot of large boulders and you could see places where the lion (or lions) had pounced from the rocks down into the mud of the side hill, "maybe" the previous day at the latest.
We worked our way up and over the thicket that held the pigs, and then down to get a shot. Eric and I stayed up on top and watched while Dakotah and Chris headed down to get on the pigs. This was done for two reasons. First, because if the pigs squeezed out of the thicket, we could more easily see where they went, and two, because if a lion came along for some chicken legs or buffalo steaks, we might be able to kill it before it got Dakotah and Chris. It was about that time that we discovered that there was a strange smell coming from above us. It turned out there that what was left of a javelina, was in the bush above us buried in dirt. In the meantime, Chris waved us down.
It turned out, that the lion had just finished pouncing from a boulder and had split the herd! This had happened while we had been climbing to get there! You could see the tracks of the pigs milling around, and then the lion tracks appearing out of thin air. I am not an expert, but a decent tracker and I could see the story unfold before my very eyes. The pigs had congregated in the shade, and were feeding on wild onions in and around the thicket. The lion pounced and likely carried away its latest victim, while some of the pigs went running madly right and some left. With caution and somewhat weak stomachs, we headed right where the majority of the tracks lead, but with a need to watch my back trail, I caught movement from behind us. A string of 5 pigs was heading up the left side hill. We quickly turned and set Dakotah up on a large rock. One of the pigs was a big black boar, but it never stopped and quickly disappeared out of view.
Another pig stopped perfectly broadside in front of a large flat-faced boulder. This was the shot we wanted. Dakotah lined it up and I got the video camera on the pig. I barely had a chance to get on it when Dakotah fired. "POCK!" I heard the bullet hit home and the hog stagger. It never went down, but wobbled around a bit. I told Dakotah to, "Hit it again!" but the guides said he was done. He started moving off so I told Dakotah to shoot once again, and finally heard a, "click." I told him to reload again as I knew he short-stroked it. I concentrated on filming and told him to wait for it to stop. When it did I said, "Take him." Another click! This time the pig walked into a thick patch of prickly pairs and mesquite, so we decided to move in closer. Dakotah's first shot had been at 102 yards.
We worked our way up the hill and quickly found the pig in the brush. We set Dakotah up and Chris walked around the brush a bit to push the pig out where Dakotah could shoot. The pig walked out at 7 yards and Dakotah shot it again. It laid down and look dead. The rifle was on the bi-pod, so dakotah jumped down to check it out, just as Chris yelled for him to stop, He stopped about a yard short, just as the pig lashed out and started snapping like crazy and clicking it's teeth. Fast and vicious.
Here is it after finally passing. Look at those teeth!
Dakotah telling the story:
Forcing a smile
With the crew
Getting serious now.
After a bit more drama, it was over, and we took some quick photos and started skinning. Dakotah was tired and was getting cold. It was hot when we started climbing and we got sweated up good. Now it was getting dark and there was a lion close by, so we were all anxious to get off the mountain. The rangefinder said the trucks were 970 yards away, but that was straight across, and not down and up and around and over! Getting over all the rocks and through the cactus was enough of a challenge in the daylight, without doing it in the dark with a lion no your trail. We were all relieved when we made it back to the trucks safe and sound.
Dakotah with my undershirt on the outside…getting very tired and cold. He’s slept maybe 8 hours total in three days. Tough kid.
We slept really good that night.
We had convince the guide to let us meet him a bit earlier at his house for breakfast, since Dakotah had not had a breakfast in three days and really didn't have a real lunch or dinner either. We had always had to leave too early for the restaurant to open, and on the second day, the store opened too late for us to wait for snack food. We arrived at the house and our Guide's mother and father had prepared a large spread of food. There was eggs and corizo (sp??) sausage "stuff" that was super yummy, regular scrambled eggs, bacon, pancakes, fresh orange juice and.....coffee! I had been dry for three days and was suffering caffeine withdrawal. It was heaven. Thank you Mr.and Mrs. Goode!
We didn't have a lot of time, so Chris and I, without really discussing it, both planned in our heads to make shorter stands and more of them. At the first set, we jumped a cottontail on our way in. Then we quit calling at 15 minutes only to get busted by a coyote as soon as we stood up. I had been having trouble with my FX5 remote shorting out and rebooting, so I was only using the caller without the remote and could not set ti away from me. That made matters a bit more difficult but this time at least, it seemed that if we had just sat a few more minutes we would have gotten a shot.
Next set the same thing happened. We stood up at 15 minute mark, and there stood a big male about 250 yards out. It howled, then ran back. I sat down quickly and howled back at it. A second yote joined in to my right and we ended howling back and forth for over 10 minutes! In desperation, I switched back to cottontail distress, and then finally into a coyote pup distress with the hope of bringing them into the open, but no dice. After the yips, they left the area.
On our way back to the truck, we found an old ruin patterned into the sand with rocks. There were broken clay pottery pieces scatted in the sand with a lot of cool patterns and Eric found a cool crystal that had been carved. We didn't disturb anything, but took some pictures, and that killed the rest of the morning. We settled up, said our thank yous and goodbyes and headed back for the banquet.
All told Dakotah managed to shoot a coyote in each type of terrain they offer at the reserve. he shot one in the flats, in the desert and in the lines, and he also got a javelina. There were a few quirks, but I have never been on a perfect guided hunt. Overall I was extremely happy with the service we received thankful for the opportunity to have been able to go on this hunt, particularly with my son.
I hope you all had as good a tie as we did and we will see you next year. I will post the pictures in a separate thread or in a gallery for you to view.
Oh, and sorry for the long winded post.