Hunting & Fishing for Stories & Photos

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Have You Seen a Javelina?

During the first week of January, my friend Matt (you know Matt from Ohio) [Ohio Homes and Acres Real Estate] flew out to Arizona for some warm weather and archery hunting for javelina and mule deer. The weather didn’t cooperate—it was 20 degrees colder in Phoenix than in Columbus, and single digits at my house up in Chino Valley. The first night we found both javelina and deer, including a 160” 4x4. All were too far to give chase, but it definitely proved to be a good omen. We owe debt of gratitude to another friend, Rich, for sharing his spot with us!

Glassing for javelina and mule deer.

High Quality Optics and the Outdoorsmans Tripod

The next morning we saw no deer, but as soon as the sun hit the hillside, the javelina appeared no more than 10 yards from where we saw them the night before. From 3/4 of a mile away, the Swarovski 15’s clearly showed the little buggers. We made our way down to them and with just a few hundred yards to go, we stopped to cross a fence. I made it over with no problem, but the barbed wire broke as Matt perched precariously with one leg over the top and his left hand on the T-post. I was able to untangle his leg from the barbs (he had borrowed my warm pants and was trying to save them) but I could do nothing for his hand. I didn’t realize that the rusty, jagged top of the post gouged a two-inch gash into his palm. I took one quick look as he peeled away his torn glove and we were off to the emergency room for a bunch of skin trimming and eight stitches. Mental note: it is best to go through or under fences, not over them! That afternoon Nichole used her Athletic Training and Physical Therapy skills to fashion a splint for Matt so he could still draw his bow, so we headed back out for the evening but saw nothing.

The Offending Post

The Gash (before)

The Gash (needles and scissors and stitches, oh my!)

The Gash (after)

I awoke early on the second day to find Matt’s face nearly as green as the Realtree Max-1 camo he was wearing. He had been prescribed a painkiller and took one before going to sleep, but reacted poorly to it and was up half the night puking. We stayed home that morning, but Matt cowboyed up and we headed back out in the afternoon. We found the pigs again and gave chase, but the best we could muster was a shot at 62 yards as they paused on a snowy hillside—I missed!

On the third day we found the javelina again and after pinpointing their location headed after them. We circled around, crossed a fence (Matt went under it), and snuck in close. We expected them to feed towards us, but they stopped just over a rise. We stalked even closer until the wind swirled and a pig started to “huff, huff, huff.” I told Matt to move around the oak in front of us. I whispered, “Fast but quiet! Fast but quiet! Fast but quiet!” I think he thought I was crazy, but he made it around the oak and drew on the closest javelina as I ranged him at 17 yards. The arrow struck home so I ran up a few yards to try to pick up a straggler. The only straggler was the pig Matt just shot, so he shot again but missed. We then ran over to the edge of the draw and Matt finished his first javelina off with a Texas heart shot. “From the tooter to the rooter,” as Matt put it!

Matt’s first Western big game animal.

I was able to help Matt on his first successful Western spot and stalk hunt.

Packing Out

Matt borrowed my Badlands 2200 Pack, which made easy work of his javelina.

We had a great lunch at a small cafĂ©, and then headed back to our glassing spot for a siesta before the evening glass. Late in the day we finally found the pigs—where there once were 12, now there were 11. They were near a herd of does, but too far away to make a play on them so we left them for the next day.

We made it back to our glassing spot before light the following morning to make sure no other hunters beat us to it. After a quick nap, we awoke to another bright morning. It didn’t take long to locate the javelina on the same hill. It’s a good thing they are so predictable! This time I directed Matt to a hill overlooking the pigs so he could glass and direct me to them. He had never used radios, and nearly had a coronary as I snuck in to within 50 yards of the entire herd. The closest pig that offered the first open shot was at 28 yards. I slowly drew, pressed my release, and missed wide to the left. I quickly nocked another arrow, ranged another pig, drew, released, and missed again to the left! With the pigs scattered to the winds, I sat tight as Matt picked them up again. He directed me to them, but his radio died before I made it. The only thing he could do was frantically press the call button, which registered as just a bunch of clicks to me, but made me stop and glass back at him. With archaic sign language he told me the pigs were right there. I moved a few yards downhill and shot the first pig that gave me a chance. It turns out the shot at less than 20 yards was on the pig furthest from me. There were a few less than five yards away that I couldn’t see! I hit her a little left, but she went less than five yards before breaking my arrow and expiring. I finally made my Hoyt Trykon do it's job! Where there once were 12, now there were 10.

This javelina marked my first with a bow. I have now shot them with a rifle, a pistol, and a bow. Maybe next year I'll try with my T/C Omega muzzleloader or my T/C Contender pistol in .30-30. With two pigs in the dirt, it was time for Matt and I to focus on mule deer.

My first archery javelina - with Matt's help!
(Yes, there's a pig in that picture and yes, it's bigger than a dirt clod but not by much!)