Hunting Tips, Questions, Stories & Discussion

Focusing on managing Texas wildlife habitat and natural resources for native and exotic wild game species, for this and future generation of hunters and outdoor enthusiasts.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Hunting Report: June 20, 2009

It was a Saturday morning at Escondido Ranch in late June when the piercing broadhead on an Easton arrow came scorching out of my latest Christmas present. I was hunting for only the second time with my Mathews 'Reezen' bow I had received from my father-in-law. I had shot the bow hundreds of times at still and 3-D targets but this was my first live stalk and proved to be a successful one.

I had stayed up late Friday evening with my good buddy and recent brother-in-law Cody Moore to catch up on lost time. When Saturday morning rolled around I was a little tardy getting out of bed. As I strolled into the kitchen around 7am I noticed that my father-in-law was out on the front porch glassing some animals by the river and the surrounding feeders. He motioned to Cody and I and we joined him quickly on the porch. To my surprise there were two large black feral hogs coming into a feeder from the river below. I immediately turned to Cody and said "let's sneak down there and try to get a shot." Of course he agreed and we proceeded down the switchback and planned our attack. Stalking animals during a hunt is such a sweet experience, but, stalking large feral hogs is one of my favorite aspects of hunting at Escondido Ranch.

We knew we had a good chance at getting at least one of them because we had two things definitely in our favor. The first being that the hogs were hungry and were preoccupied with trying to get into the feeding area and second, the wind was blowing due south, straight into our faces. This allowed us to move quietly through the mesquite filled brush and approach the animals to within 40 yards. With every step my heart was pounding faster and faster. I knew this was going to be my first attempt at shooting an animal with my new bow and I wanted to make a good shot because if I missed I would never hear the end of it, especially from my rifle slinging, hunting buddy Gary. I took a couple of more big steps to get to within 30 yards of my target. I steadied my position, drew the bow to breakover position, zeroed in on my target and let it fly... The next sound I heard was the squealing of a hog that was paralyzed with the shot. I did it!! I successfully stalked and killed my first animal with my new weapon of choice. Congratulations followed from my good buddy Cody and all of our family members. What an adrenaline rush!!!! Whether you are a rifle hunter or bow hunter like myself, the folks at Escondido Ranch can accommodate all or your hunting needs. Thanks for reading and God bless.

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Thursday, January 22, 2009


Is it possible tell how old the hog you shoot is when Texas trophy boar hunting?

Looking at the Russian boar or feral hogs jaw can help you come very close to deciding how old the hog or boar is. You can also tell if the hog has any European boar heritage by examining the area of the jaw between the tusk and the regular molar teeth. If there is a small isolated tooth in the middle, there is some European breed in the background of the hog. This is not at all uncommon in Texas where Russian boars and even domestic European swine breeds have bred with the wild hog populations.

A feral hog that is under 2 years of age will have three adjacent teeth at the back of the lower jaw. There will be two smaller teeth in front and a molar looking tooth at the back. After two years of age there will be an additional molar that pops up at the back of the lower jaw, giving a total of four teeth. Despite common theories that you can use tusks to age a Texas trophy boar that is not a accurate means to age an animal.

Until the age of three the two smaller teeth in this group of four will gradually be replaced by thicker, heavier, molar like teeth, very different than the previous teeth that looked a bit like canine teeth. At years three and four additional molars appear, so at the end of the wild hog's fourth year he will have six teeth at the back of the jaw.

At the fifth year the final tooth will be fully showing and the teeth will start to show wear and grinding down. After the fifth year is possible to tell the approximate age based on the amount of wear of all the teeth, but this is really just an educated estimate.

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Sunday, January 4, 2009


What is the best method to ensure a kill shot while hunting feral hogs?

Wild hogs are much more difficult to hit with a kill shot than many of the other species of animals found on Escondido Ranch. Hunters have to have a good understanding of the area of the hog that is most likely to result in a clean kill rather than having to track the animal. Feral hogs are extremely tough and it is very difficult to catch them if they are not serious injured with the first shot.

Wild hogs have a very small lungs and a small heart cavity, so shooting accurately is essential. The best place to aim for a clean kill shot is into the middle of the upper shoulder area or slightly to the front into the base of the neck area in a line from the shoulder, another good area to shoot for is behind and below the ear. Shooting behind the elbow or shoulder may not result in a kill since all the vital organs are well protected by the heavy front shoulder muscles and bones, and thick skin.

Are feral hogs only found in the central Texas areas around Escondido Ranch?

Wild hogs are a serious nuisance problem in most areas of Texas. They can actually be found in very suburban settings however they tend to avoid the large cities that are found throughout the state. Almost any community with rural areas or acreages is going to have some type of feral hog population. In general the hogs will tend to keep out of sight during the daylight hours when people are around, however they will come out at night to root and get into garbage, causing a real problem in some areas.

There are feral swine reported in 39 states in the United States and four provinces in Canada. The wild hog range extends well down in to Mexico where they have mated with the domestic hog population, producing a hybrid. It is estimated by a recent A&M Texas study that there are over 2 million wild hogs in the state of Texas and at least another 2 million scattered throughout the other 38 states with populations.

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