Was a time with the arrival of June, July and early August I had my bags packed and was headed to or preparing to head to southern Africa where they were into their fall and winter. Day times may have been warm, but night times often cool to downright, freezing standing water cold! I loved those trips, the wildlife, the people, the food, the adventures.
Even though borders are open and hunting in Africa has returned to “normal” and certainly is good, unfortunately, due to many different circumstance I am not going to Africa this year. In years past there were several times I went on safari to Africa twice a year. Since I mentioned the term “safari”, what exactly does that term mean. If you look up “safari” in Webster’s dictionary it is defined as a “journey or expedition”. With those of us who are hunter/conservationist, safari, or the journey or expedition involves hunting.
Interestingly, those Africa countries where there is hunting, meaning specifically and scientifically based information sustainable hunting there is an abundance of all types of wildlife. Where hunting is no longer permitted the only wildlife that exists there is well within the perimeters of national parks. Wildlife, outside of a few birds and some insects, no longer exists. This is something we must as those of us who love wildlife and the outdoor lifestyle must make certain all people know!
Be that as it may, and the fact I am not going back to Africa this summer, does not mean I do not miss doing so! True, I did not like the long plane rides. But to put things in the proper perspective one can fly from anywhere in the USA or for that matter the world to Africa within twenty-four hours or less. This compares to the days before international flights by air, when going to Africa normally meant first a train ride to a seaport, then boarding a ship which took many days to reach Africa, then again a train ride to a jump off place before heading into “the bush”. Then of course, repeating the many day return home process.
This summer I will be spending my time relatively close to home, and that will likely be the case for a while. Honestly…I am not complaining. I have access to both a small parcel of land I own where I have my range set up, and property leased for hunting.
Depending upon who you talk to, here in Texas where I live, we are blessed or cursed with a growing population of wild or feral hogs. These can be hunted year around, including during the heat of the summer.
When it comes to hunting wild hogs, I am not into shooting numbers, of hogs using semi-auto rifles topped with thermal sights and the like. I like hunting hogs with my single-shot, lever guns, and bolt action rifles, as well as my revolver handguns, specifically my Taurus Raging Hunters. To me it is not about shooting large numbers of hogs. I love hunting for two different types of hogs, eating hogs and old boars with large tusks.
“Eating hogs”, in my opinion, for the most part are those which weigh upwards to 80 or so pounds at the max. These, regardless whether gilts (young females) or boars, tend to produce tender and tasty meat. Occasionally I will shoot an older “dry” sow, meaning a female without pigs at her side, or obviously pregnant. Either of which is rather difficult to find.
Meat from these cooked in a great variety of ways in many different dishes, is extremely good to eat. And, as long as the meat is heated to 180-degrees, there is no reason to be concerned about parasites or diseases.
I will also admit to enjoying hunting and targeting older boars with big teeth. These older boars can be and often are extremely wary, no different than wily older mature whitetail bucks. Quite often, they like mature whitetails, tend to be primarily nocturnal.
I mentioned earlier I do not hunt hogs at night via thermals, a personal decision. My compadre, Luke Clayton, with whom I have done a weekly radio show now for nearly fifteen years, also do a weekly podcast, “Campfires with Luke and Larry” on Sporting Classics Daily and our weekly tv show on Carbontv.com, “A Sportsman’s Life” has recently started doing some night-time hog hunting. Luke is much like me, but he only hunts for eating hogs. He shoots one at a time, properly takes care of the meat, and doesn’t let anything go to waste. I should add Luke is one heckuva camp cook and has taught me much about how to prepare dishes from wild hogs. Dishes he has prepared from wild pork rivals, if not exceed some the finest eating in the world.
So part of my fighting “summer doldrums” revolves around learning more about cooking wild hog meat from Luke!
This fall, I am scheduled to hunt whitetails on my own property, the lease I am now on, plus a hunt or two with Brandon Houston with our H3 Whitetail Solutions. I am also planning on hunting on the Choctaw Hunting Lodge, pronghorn antelope in New Mexico and also in Wyoming during the Landers’ One Shot Antelope hunt, mule deer in Baja Mexico The Global Sportsman and the Hargrove Ranch in Texas, one of my favorite hunts Some of these hunts I will be using rifles and some I will be hunting with handguns.
The rest of this summer I will also be putting Trijicon scopes, Huron and AccuPoints, on those rifles I plan on using this fall which do not already wear them. I too will be spending time at my shooting range sighting-in and also confirming zero on several rifles and handguns. With my rifles, depending upon, caliber and cartridge, I will be sighting-in so they will be dead on at 200 yards, which with most rifles I am hunting with this year will also be dead-on at 50 yards, which is essentially “point blank range” or what others now refer to as as “Hunter’s Zero”. With these sight-ins I can essentially hold-on target out to about 300 or so yards, again depending upon the round used.
How will you spend your summer?