The biggest wild boar I have seen came off a ranch just north of our ranch in south central Texas. He was caught in a trap and he weighed 562 pounds when he was sold across the scales about 5 hours after capture. He was pure Russian and one bad hombre. The other story is my most recent hog hunt that happened two weeks ago. I was checking fences and cattle when I jumped three 40 pound hogs off of a deer feeder. I only had an open site .22 caliber rifle (Ruger 10\22) with me and the hogs where about 100 yards off. I squeezed off a shot and hit one right behind the shoulder. He bailed up in some brush so I flushed him out. The first clean shot I had was at about 40 yards so I put a bullet behind his right ear and the rest is history. That was the first time I had ever hunted hogs with a .22 and it was the most exciting hunt I have ever been on. I can definitely say I will try it again after deer season is over with.
24TH May 1997
I've been hunting Sambar deer for the past 15 years and I've been fortunate in taking some fine trophy sambar stags, but nothing over 28 inches. I would have to admit, especially for the last 3 or 4 years I have been trying to take a stag over 30 inches, but without too much luck. I have seen some fine stags in my stalking days that may have gone over 30 inches but it hard to tell unless you see the animal on the ground and you are running a tape measure over his antlers. I had my big slice of luck when I shot my first 30 incher during the Gippsland Deerstalkers annual club trip into the Wonnangatta Valley. You hear about a big head being taken and sometimes you might get see a 30 incher after the taxidermist has mounted it. But when you actually get the opportunity to see a potential 30 incher in your crosshairs, it does nothing to keep your heart beating at a normal pace. I was fortunate that it was a spontaneous reaction at the time. I really don't know how I would have reacted if a time factor had come in to it. Someone back at camp asked how I felt at that moment and if I got the shakes, it was only after I shot the stag that I started to get the shakes, while I stood over him and seen how big his antlers were. It was on a sunny Saturday afternoon when Klaus, Dennis and myself headed to spots X & Y for a late afternoon stalk. Dennis was going to try his luck on a stag that was rutting in a spot we had looked at earlier that morning. Klaus and I went to a spot where I seen a big bodied stag in November 1995. After spending considerable time cutting through blackberries, we eventually came to the base of a small spur. We had only gone about 50 yards from the river when we came across a well used game trail which happened to have a demolished coprosmsa bush which had all the bark stripped right off the branches, in the last couple days. Thats when Klaus and I decided to split up. Klaus was going to contour around to the left into a deep gully, while I sidled up to the ridge. The stag sign looked very promising, he was working the spur, I spotted his large rounded hoof marks which where leading down towards the river from the night before. I followed them up, but in the opposite direction heading up into a shallow side gully where I seen him in November 1995. I sat there for a short time looking through the binoculars, hoping I might see him again, no such luck. The time was 3.30pm, so I quietly stalked my way up to the ridge to check out a termite mound that the stags like to hit with their antlers occasionally, his foot prints were all around the mound, but no recent antler damage to the mound was noticeable. My strategy was to sneak my way along a well established game trail on the spur, to a shallow saddle and sit and wait for the stag to maybe move down before dark. I was being careful were I was placing my feet just in case there were deer nearby, I could just see the other side of the saddle when I heard a sound like dry leaves being disturbed. That's when I seen the top forks of the stag's antlers no more than 30 yards away. I clicked the safety off the rifle and as he stood up the crosshairs were planted on the lower part of his neck, he looked a magnificent sight. He was trying to make me out, but it was too late. The projectile struck him were I was aiming, putting him down where he stood. I walked up to him and made sure he wasn't going anywhere by putting another shot into him. The stag was actually bedded down behind a small log probably asleep. He knew something was going on, he must of thought I was another sambar ? I called out to Klaus who was making his way up to me when he heard the shots. When Klaus seen me with the stag, he was wrapped and shook my hand and said, " What a beauty, he's the 30 incher you have been after for all these years ". Early next morning about 17 people from our camp came up and helped carry out all the venison while I took the cape and antlers. It was great to be with Klaus Beck who I regard as one of the best sambar stalkers I've had the privilege to hunt with. I must personally thank the 17 blokes for their help that made it such a memorable event.
After wandering around the house for a while annoying the wife, watching TV and generally just annoyed with things. I decided to go for a quick afternoon hunt. I quickly grabbed all of my gear and explained to the missus where I would be, in the event something went wrong, and headed off. It was about 2.30pm and it was an hours drive to my destination. On arriving and having a look around, I wasn't too impressed with what the logger's had done to the area, but I thought I'd give it a go anyway. Walking along the old snig tracks, and generally glassing the area, I came across an old set of deer tracks, by their size I thought they might belong to a big stag. It sounds crazy but old tracks can lead to fresh ones. Even if nothing came of it, walking around on hard ground, dry leaves and bark etc. was good stalking practice. After walking down a bit lower, bingo, more tracks!, fresh ones. Looking around a bit, the tracks seemed to be the same stag tracks I had followed down, there were also tracks of three other deer, two sets looked like a hind with her calf perhaps. With the light fading, I kept tracking the deer down into the bush. I came across a main track, but the daylight was fading fast and it was too late to go on. As I turned to start walking back up the track, HONK!, CRASH and with a black flash the deer headed off to my left. HONK, again, another deer sneaking off into the ferns, this time on my right. With my spirits lifted and thinking that I'd done quite well in such a short time, I started to head for the vehicle. I'd only walked perhaps 200 metres when I stopped with the feeling I was being watched, I listened for any movement in the scrub, it was dead quiet. I took one step, when suddenly with a CRASH right beside me another deer took off. That made three deer I'd seen for the afternoon. After an hour of walking I made it back to the vehicle feeling elated and quite pleased with myself, I packed my gear and headed home. After driving a couple of kms. down the road I rounded a bend, there in front of me was an orange butt disappearing up the bank, which made a total of four deer for the day. I'll definitely be heading back to that area again for some serious hunting in the future. By Craig Whitehead