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Justice For Bob White: Handgun Hunting In Texas

This wasn’t the murder I was expecting.

With sunset past and dusk falling on the South Texas mesquite, this day’s hunt for whitetail deer was ending. The too-young bucks hanging around the feeder startled and scattered. I got into my glass just in time to see it wasn’t a big buck pushing them off.

It was pigs. Two of them, and good-sized boars at that. Both of them ran right to the feeder, but just seconds later one of them jerked away and ran off, the other right on his heels. And I could’ve sworn that pig had a bird in his mouth.

As twilight faded to night, I got out of the blind with my flashlight and walked the 200 yards to the feeder. Sure enough, there was a trail of feathers mixed in with the corn on the ground.
I recognized the species.

Over the phone, I relayed the bad news to Bryan Wilson, owner of Frio County Hunts. “I just watched a hog carry off one of your quail.”



“Man … that sucks. I love my quail.”

And that’s the truth. Every Texas hunter of a certain age does. We all remember our childhood hunts for the bobwhites. Fall fields full with the sound of their namesake call. A boy could get a couple on a walk with just a .410. They’d scare the heck out of you bolting out of the grass … and then it was your turn to scare them right back.

And then they just all disappeared.

Bryan, like me, has spent years cultivating nesting grounds for them, making sure the ragweed and forbs grow, and of course keeping the skunks, raccoons, and other predators in check.
And all for some damn pig to kill one. This would not stand.

“You mind if I skip the deer hunt in the morning and go looking for pigs? That whole section of brush seems thick with them.”

“Get it.”

I slept in and headed out to the feeder about sunrise. It wouldn’t take a bloodhound to catch the trail. Ropey bands of saliva had collected in the sandy soil, and a trail of feathers led from the feeder to the brush.

A wall of South Texas thornbush stood before me. Unwilling to crawl on my hands and knees through the cactus, the path used by the pigs was unavailable to me. No, I’d be walking their trail. Carefully.

There’s no pushing branches out of the way; no rushing through it. This is a hard, hard part of the world and nothing survives here without fighting for its life. Every leaf has a thorn. Sharp and barbed, they’ll let you pass, but the price is blood. Stepping over cactus while picking mesquite thorns out of my arms I made my way through the brush along the trail.

Not half an hour, and less than a hundred yards down the path, I heard them. Nothing loud, no screams and squeals, just a few grunts and shuffles.

At that, I drew my revolver, a new Smith & Wesson 10mm stoked with 220-grain hard-cast rounds from Buffalo Bore.

Passing under a scrub oak and around a tight bit of young huisache, I saw them.

They saw me too. By the time I registered one pig, more were running deeper into the brush. But the one stayed.
I don’t know what I expected when I started down the trail, but it wasn’t to walk up within 15 yards of a sounder of pigs. I wasn’t expecting this boar to stand his ground, but I wasn’t surprised either.

Haughty, he snapped his jaws and took a few steps toward me.

I shot that quail-killing son of a bitch right in the face. Twice.

When he wheeled and ran, I shot him one more time in the shoulder to send him on his way.
There was no doubt he was hit. Bright red blood spattered the bark of the bushes behind him. As he bolted his way through all manner of cactus and hateful greenery, his blood trail was easy to find. Even so, with the brush it took me a solid hour to follow a pig that didn’t run 100 yards from where he was shot.

At least he had the courtesy to die in a clearing.
My pocketknife made quick work cutting out the loins and hams. The rest was left for the coyotes and the Caracara.

I called Bryan with the good news.

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