Hunting Self Defense

Hog Meets 44

Bad decisions make good stories. Or so they say. Well, I've got one of those to share. Here is what went down with a little hog encounter during a weekend of deer hunting.

Story time!

Before I begin, let me just say I wouldn’t have a story to share had the rules of stupid been obeyed. Meaning this situation could have been completely avoided.

Rules of Stupid: Don’t go Stupid places, with Stupid people, at Stupid times, and do Stupid things. Break one and you might be okay. Break 2 or more Rules of Stupid, though, and you’re in trouble.

John Correia, Active Self Protection

Let the story begin…

It was Saturday night of the last weekend in the white-tailed deer special late season in Texas. I had been invited to hunt on my buddy’s uncle’s property along with two other friends. Both the morning and evening hunts for white-tailed deer had been a bust for me. My buddy and I returned to the guest house where the two others stayed behind and had started consuming a bit of tequila and beer with my buddy’s uncle (the property owner) in celebration of having finished a successful hunting season earlier.

I caught up with everyone after putting most of the gear away. While partaking in the chit chat, the property owner mentioned that the hogs have been really bad recently and the trappers he hired were removing a lot of hogs but it wasn’t making a noticeable difference. The property owner continued to encourage us to dispatch any hogs we happen to encounter while on the property.

Shortly after the property owner left while finishing supper, we got the bright idea to go patrol the property for signs of hogs. It was still too early for bed and two of us weren’t partaking in the celebratory beverages since he had plans to get up early and hunt again in the morning. So we agreed to head out on patrol.

I’m going to pause for a second and highlight the rule violations that were about to be broken. First, a hog ridden property could be arguably considered a stupid place to go. Having two group members who had been partaking in celebratory adult beverages might appear to some as going somewhere with stupid people. Given it was early and consumption was light, I’m inclined to believe that rule wasn’t violated especially since those party members weren’t armed nor had intentions to dispatch hogs during the patrol. While it wasn’t late, the patrol was going to happen under low light conditions which could also be arguably considered as stupid. I don’t consider patrolling for hogs in of itself as stupid either, but given half the party wasn’t properly equipped for it I could also be argued as partially stupid. Overall, I’m giving this scenario a score of 1.5 violations for the 3 rules that could be argued as having been violated.

At any rate, I was already armed with the 329 PD revolver. I didn’t grab a rifle since I didn’t have a rifle equipped for night hunting available. The only thing I grabbed before heading out was the Leupold LTO tracker. The other party member who wasn’t partaking grabbed another LTO tracker and a suppressed AR-10 equipped with an ATN X-Sight night vision scope along with a tripod.

We set out and approached each field slowly while scanning it with the LTO trackers. Not long after we approached one field and spotted a sounder consisting of about a dozen and a half hogs that were tearing up the oats that had recently started to sprout. The party member with the AR-10 set up the tripod and positively identified the hogs with the ATN scope. The other three of us took a few steps behind the firing line and continued to observe using the LTO trackers and a smartphone that was streaming the video from the ATN scope.

With the AR-10 lined up for a clean shot on the largest visible hog in the tightly clustered sounder, my buddy fired a shot. The impact dropped the hog where it stood. Half of the sounder scattered to the left towards the creek and the other half scattered to the right. All the hogs were moving away from us. That is until the ones that scattered to the right turned completely around and headed towards the creek to the left.

The member on the AR-10 was tracking the hogs that scattered left to creek in an attempt to dispatch a few more when he realized the AR-10 had experienced a failure to eject. While he was clearing the malfunction, I noticed one hog that had initially scattered to the right didn’t turn completely around and head towards the creek like the others, but was instead headed right at us.

What happened next was a bit surreal. It seemed like time slowed down as it happened. I quickly communicated to the others that a hog was coming at us. I instructed the two unarmed members to take a few additional steps back as I started to engage. The AR-10 was still out of commission and instructed my buddy to keep his muzzle pointed towards the creek. I heard everyone acknowledge. All of this was happening as my hands were busy getting ready to engage. My support hand found a way to place the LTO in my right pocket and returned with the Streamlight flashlight instead. At the same time, my dominant hand drew the 329 and started presenting the revolver while thumbing the hammer into single action. Suddenly the hog was illuminated and in my sights. It was small (had appeared to be much bigger in the LTO) and was closer than I thought it was. I’m not sure if it veered towards the right from the white light or if it was already heading that way (and not directly at us). Either way, I fired. It squealed and turned more to the right and continued running. I’m certain it was a hit, but we never found any sign. Regardless, it was no longer coming at us and I re-holstered the 329.

The remaining hogs were gone.

The malfunction was finally cleared from the AR-10 and we proceeded to go look at the dispatched hog. I was several yards behind the guy with the AR-10 as he and another member approached it when the hog started to get up. The guy with the AR-10 drew his 357 and fired at it. The hog went down again. When I caught up with them, the hog started to move yet again. There was a little discussion as to whether the movement was an involuntary post expiration movement. To be certain, I asked the others to step back. As they did, I drew the 329 again while holding the flashlight in my support hand and fired another round into the hogs head. All movement stopped.

Expanded 240 grain XTP bullet retrieved from the hog encounter

While we looked at it and discussed the disposal options I noticed a shiny object just a few inches opposite where the 44 magnum had made impact with the hog’s head in the dirt. Sure enough it was the expanded projectile from the 44 magnum round I had fired.

We patrolled a bit more but didn’t come across any other hogs that night. Looking back I think that was for the best, we could have been better equipped and prepared for that activity. I’m not sure how things would have turned out had a larger number of hogs ran in our direction. I am thankful that I took the time over the past couple years to train and level up my defensive pistol skills. A lot of what I learned and practiced from the training courses came into play including communicating to the members of the party and being able to safely operate the pistol under those conditions.

While things could have turned out worse, I’m glad things turned out okay and none of the hunting party members were hurt. There are some lessons to be learned from this experience. In the end, it’s a good story made from a few questionably bad decisions.

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