Saturday, November 21, 2009

One Shot Wonder

We started stirring around 8am...we were all well rested and very hungry. After a wonderful breakfast from Jerry of eggs, chorizo, bacon, tortillas and the last of the tamales, we planned our day. Jim and I were going to score a javelina. I had originally planned on bringing the meat home and actually trying it, but had been dissuaded earlier by Jim and Jerry. Had they not convinced me that eating the javelina would not have been the most pleasant experience, I would have come to the conclusion on my own as we cleaned them - but that is for later.

Jim had mentioned a group of hunters that had come through a couple of years ago and how they planned on making a skull mount of a javelina. I thought that might be an interesting momento to my trophy hunt weekend. They grow tusks similar to wild hogs, so the skull has some character. Combine that with the fact that Jim knew of people who would appreciate the meat and I was convinced a javelina was a good way to end the hunt.

Now, we had seen javelina on the property and they didn't appear the be the most wary of game. In fact, some would approach the mule as they had learned to equate the sound of the engine with the dropping of corn. However, they typically didn't get too close.

We started driving around the property. We were both convinced that we would be back at the lodge in short order. It didn't turn out that way.

We drove, sat, dropped corn, drove and sat some more. We did this for the better part of two hours and had only seen one javelina. It was a small pathetic one with a hurt foot. We left it alone.

We finally happened upon a feeder and about 20 javelina milling around. Jim turned the mule to face them at about 100 yards.

We glassed them for a while watching them eat and fight. It is amazing that they aren't related to hogs and they look and act so much like them. I had read that they are actually related to hippos. We watched them for a while and Jim instructed me to find the largest of them. I instantly identified the largest and tried to acquire him in my scope. The problem was that there were so many of them running around that the one I had picked was always behind at least one other javelina.

Because we never had to get out of the mule, I had a perfect rest. I also didn't experience the same level of buck fever with these as I did with the deer. I knew I had all day to wait - the javelina weren't going anywhere as long as there was corn on the ground. In fact, of all the hunting I've done, this seemed the least sporting. It seemed a little more like shooting to me. The javelina weren't going to go anywhere. I could have gotten out of the mule, mooned them, did a song and dance and they still would have hung around.

I watched and the one I picked out finally became clear. Or, at least I thought he was clear.

What actually happened is kind of hazy. I fired true and the one that I had picked out dropped right where it stood. My shot was placed on the shoulder and instantly killed my target.

However, another javelina went flying off to the left...He was clearly gut shot and hurt badly. Jim noticed it first and instructed me to put another bullet into him to finish him off. Unfortunately (as we would discover later as we cleaned him), my second shot went through the back and out through the belly - he was now gut shot twice...although definitely dead as well. To my point about the lack of sporting nature of javelina hunting, the others who scattered were back eating around the two carcasses within 30 seconds of my shooting.

So, my one shot killed two javelina. I'm still not sure if the second one was actually behind the first and the bullet passed through both or if there was some strange ricochet off a bone of the first. Jim made the point, and I completely agree, that it doesn't matter. As the shooter, I am responsible for the outcome. If this had been two deer, I would have had paid a significant price for the error. As it was, each hunter is allowed two javelina a season, so I was done.

Javelina are known as stink-pigs and they are aptly named. In fact, these were two of the more nasty creatures on God's green earth. First, you have to leave them alone after you kill them to give the fleas a chance to make their escape. I'm not sure we gave them enough time because I have a bunch of nasty bites on my hands. Additionally, they stink. Forget the fact that one was gutshot - they both stunk and stunk bad. Javelina have a musk gland on their back that they use when they are alarmed. This gland really gives off some odor. Also, while we were cleaning them I brushed off three ticks that had travelled from the javelina to my hands.

We finally got done with that nastiness and took pictures of the javelina and a couple more of buster. We washed and drew up plans for the meat and the trophies and prepared to say our good-byes and Angie and I were anxious to get home and had an eight hour drive in front of us.

I told Jim that I had planned on a trophy hunt weekend and got the added bonus of making a friend.

I'm not sure which was the greater pleasure, but in the end, it all made up a weekend and a birthday present that I will never forget.


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