This was my very first hunt using a bow. Before today I’ve only been hunting less than a handful of times in my life. My earliest memory of hunting was with my dad, I was very young and we went out to the desert and shot a rabbit. At the time I didn’t really understand that this was hunting, I just thought we were just out in the desert shooting rabbits. The only other time I’ve gone hunting was as a 38 year old adult.
I moved back to Texas in 2010 and decided to try dove hunting. I have a new appreciation for the lowly dove. Not only are they fast but they can turn on a dime, plus if you haven’t practiced (a lot) at shooting moving targets, it makes for a humbling experience.
In America we have this nostalgic ideas that Texas is still the wild west, in reality it’s anything but. Most of the land in Texas is privately owned and unless you’re the owner, are good friends with the owner, or have a lot of money it’s difficult to find affordable places to hunt. That is unless you bow hunt. If you’re a bow hunter in Texas there are (dozens) of public areas that are managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife.
I live in Round Rock, Texas just north of Austin. There are two places that are open to bow hunting Lake Georgetown and Granger Lake. Granger Lake is a 10,882 acre area just north of Tyler Texas that offers both draw deer hunts and year around hog hunting, that’s where I find myself this morning stalking wild hogs.
At 39 degrees It was cold (for Texas) this morning which worked in my favor. Because of the temps I suspected the
hogs would be on the move. As I made my way south towards the runoff area I crossed a field and into an open area that looked like a perfect place for deer but because I hadn’t entered the draw, deer wasn’t on the agenda so I continued. I headed north east along the pecan grove until I hit a creek, at that moment I could smell it…the distinctive smell of wild hogs.
As I slowly and as quietly as possible made my way east along the creek I could hear rustling and snorting on the other side, a few more yards and I had in sight my first two hogs. One being a large female around 150lbs and the other being a juvenile around 45lbs. As I continued along the river looking for a good place to cross, out of nowhere a huge black bore exploded out of the brush in front of me. The boar was no more than 10 yards away and I never saw him until he ran for it. I heard the sound splashing which indicated he was crossing the creek to the other side, I had to find a place to cross.
I continued down the creek for another 20 yards until I found some downed trees that looked wide enough for me to put my weight on. I had waterproof boots but still didn’t want to get wet so I grabbed a dead branch off the ground for balance, I had almost made it across when I lost my balance and ended up in the creek with water over my boots. So, now I had wet feet but I was on the right side of the creek so the stalk continued.
I continued east along the north side of the creek looking for sign until I came across a bend in the creek where there was fresh sign that the area was used for wallowing. As I got closer to check out the area, the big female hog from earlier crossed over. I wasn’t in a position to take a shot however I knew that there was a smaller hog close by. At that moment I heard splashes, snorts, and saw the second hog wallowing in the mud. I got in position and drew my bow, as the smaller hog crossed to the other side of the creek I lined up my pins, got set and suddenly an arrow was away. I didn’t plan to fire yet, I hadn’t practiced with gloves on and this morning as I got in position I didn’t figure on having gloves. Sure enough I had fired prematurely.
Luckily, I was in position so when I fired I still got a hit. The Rage Broadheads did their job and I had my first Texas Hog. Wanting to respect the animal and not let it go to waste, I removed what meat I could carry and headed back to the truck with fresh meat to put in the freezer.
Granger has not become my favorite place to spot and stalk hogs. I didn’t know this at the time but because I killed a hog at Granger Lake, I am now an official Granger Ranger. At over 10,000 acres there is a lot left to explore and in the coming months I will be out often to see what Granger has in store.