I live in a very small town in South Carolina, so there’s not much talk about wild hogs. Many of the residents don’t know that hogs have made this little town their home, too. There are a few that do, mostly farmers and hunters. I met a local man, Mr. Jimmy Ramsey, who was very intrigued about hunting big game with airguns. In his mind, an airgun was a bb gun or small caliber pellet gun, so the idea of taking a large wild hog or a whitetail deer was not on his radar. He approached me and said, “Airgun Angie, I have a hog problem. Do you want to see if you can kill some with your bb gun?” I said, “That’s really kind, but I don’t like hog hunting.” Are you kidding me? Of course, I leapt for joy at the opportunity and said, “Absolutely! I’d love to! When can I go?” The property Mr. Ramsey has asked me to hunt is less than five minutes from my house, that’s a local hunt!
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Air Rifle Set Up
Since his invitation, I’ve taken several hogs on this property with an air rifle. I’m gearing up for another hog hunt; when I say gearing up, I mean gearing up. This time I’d like to test a different air rifle, the Seneca Dragon Claw .50 Caliber Big Bore PCP, with an MSRP of $720, purposed for big game hunting. It is capable of shooting round balls, slugs and bolts! I would love to harvest an animal with a bolt but, I don’t have much experience with archery. I am not confident that I would make an ethical kill shot, so … I will stick with lead. After sighting it in and making myself familiar with the operation of the air rifle and all its likes and dislikes, my choice of ammo is the Seneca .177 grain round ball by Air Venturi with an MSRP of $45.99. I dial in my ATN X-Sight 4 K Pro with an MSRP of $699. Done, well almost, the Seneca Dragon Claw is a PCP, I will need to fill it with clean, dry, high-pressured air using my Air Venturi Mini Wingman 100 cu in tank with an MSRP of $299 before going into the field. Now, it’s ready to take on the hunt.
Methods of Hunting
Hog hunting is year-round in my neck of the woods, as it is in so many other places, because they are an invasive species, multiplying rapidly. There are many different methods of hunting this species in South Carolina. Some hunters use well-trained dogs to track, catch and bay the hogs, then the hunter will then stick the hog with a knife or a spear. Some choose to trap them and dispose of them in the trap. The method I prefer is what some call still hunting.
To the Stand
On March 30, 2022, which is early spring, it can be a little chilly in the mornings and evenings. Gearing up also includes staying warm, especially this time, since this hunt is a night hunt, I dress appropriately and comfortably. I was almost sure the hogs wouldn’t come in for a bite to eat until dark. With intentions of a long quiet evening, I pack up my air rifle, ammo, ATN Night Vision Binoculars, with an MSRP of $899, a bottle of water, and at approximately 6 p.m., I make the very short trek to the tower blind to settle in. Once I am in the blind, I set up to be as quiet and quick as possible with the least amount of movement. I rest the barrel of the Seneca Dragon Claw on the window and the stock in my lap. I power on my ATN X-Sight 4K to make sure it is set to day vision and the sight picture and reticle are clear.
The Hope of the Hunt
With the feeder being only 43 yards away, I could clearly see nothing had touched the Raging Boar Rootin’ Juice Wild Game Bait I poured on the corn earlier that day. Even though I’m expecting it to be a long quiet evening, I’m hoping they find the bait irresistible and it draws them in early. After an hour of squirrel and bird watching, I’m surprised by a small bachelor herd. Three young boar hogs approach, all about the same size. As I readied myself to take a shot, one let out a squeal and as quickly as they came in, they were gone. I was convinced I had made a mistake; they must have sensed my presence. I kept my position, my heart racing, in hope they would come back, in hope that I didn’t just blow it! I’m not sure the amount of time that passed but it seemed substantial. I was getting weary of holding my position and frankly losing hope they were coming back.
Thoughts were cluttering my mind, surely, they ran to their fellow hogs and told them, “The black stick monster is back! Stay away from the magic corn cloud!” I finally settled myself and began to hope again. I may have to wait until after dark, but it’s still a possibility to have a successful hunt! As I began to relax, I came to know that young bachelor herd didn’t sense I was here, they sensed the boar hog I’m looking at right now was there! No need to switch my ATN to night vision, as there’s still early with plenty of daylight left! This guy walks out, he does a small circle back behind the pine tree and without hesitation, he answers the call of his hungry stomach. It doesn’t take him long to get comfortable at his dinner table, nor does it take me long to get comfortable with my aim point. I press record on my scope, then I point the Seneca Dragon Claw barrel toward him, place the cross hairs of my ATN optic for a drop shot, I’m not sure what to expect, (this is my first hunt with the Seneca Dragon Claw after all), I disengage the safety with my right pointer finger, placing that same finger on the trigger and pull. As I watch the mostly black boar hog, save the large white spot on his back, drop in his tracks, I sigh a sigh of relief. Success, no wondering, no hoping, no guessing! He is down!
Harvesting the Game
Now what? I return my rifle back to safe, send that all exciting text to my husband, Edmund: “HOG DOWN!” I wait a little while before packing up my gear and climbing down from the stand to inspect the harvest! By then, the sun is down and it is dark. We approach the boar hog with caution, like I’ve said before, you never know what to expect with hunting. When we’re sure he’s done, we load him up and take him home to do my next favorite part, field dress him. My son and I tend to perform all the skinning and gutting of the game we harvest, which I am pleased to do. I believe it is an important skill and responsibility every hunter should know how to perform. The meat from this hog will go to a longtime family friend; it is a great provision to be able to share. It is also a great pleasure to say my first hunt with the Seneca Dragon Claw .50 Caliber Air Rifle is a success.