Am­bush­ing pigs

When a friend sug­gested go­ing to Amer­ica to shoot pigs, Ed Cook wasn’t sure that the idea would fly

Sporting Gun - - In The Field Boar Hunting - DE­CEM­BER 2018

When my mate, Mack­erel, said: “Ed, you up for shoot­ing some pigs,” while out lamp­ing one night, I looked at him as if he had lost the plot. “What are you bang­ing on about?” I said. “You wanna shoot some pigs?” He reached for his phone and showed me a video of pig shoot­ing in the United States.

“I’ll be up for that one day,” I said in a voice that be­trayed du­bi­ous com­mit­ment. But over the next few months I gave it some thought. I’ve hunted most species in the UK, so the thought of some­thing dif­fer­ent was ap­peal­ing. I men­tioned it to my brother, Nath, and we de­cided to join Mack­erel.

Eigh­teen months later, and af­ter mak­ing some good con­tacts in the Texas hunt­ing com­mu­nity, we were on a plane. This was never go­ing to be a nor­mal hol­i­day. For a start, putting the three of us to­gether has the po­ten­tial for trou­ble. Add to this a for­eign coun­try, a huge se­lec­tion of guns, un­lim­ited pigs and a gi­ant recre­ational ve­hi­cle (RV), and it was des­tined to be mem­o­rable.

We cre­ated a list of what we wanted to do and nar­rowed it down to bow fish­ing at night, shoot­ing pigs with a ma­chine gun from a he­li­copter, and pig hunt­ing with dogs. Any­thing else would be a bonus.

On ar­rival, Mack­erel was ‘vol­un­teered’ to drive the RV and af­ter a cou­ple of wrong turns we were on our way to meet Richard Fleury, of Cen­tral Texas Bow­fish­ing Char­ters.

The lo­ca­tion was a river full of carp. In­tro­duc­tions done, the four of us set off on Richard’s boat, its lights il­lu­mi­nat­ing the wa­ter. Richard briefed us on how to use the fish­ing bows and reels and soon af­ter Mack­erel bagged his first carp with his first shot. Not a bad start. How­ever, 100 or so shots later we still had the same tally. Richard showed us again how to do it, equat­ing for dif­frac­tion, but we couldn’t man­age it, though it was great fun nonethe­less.

Next up, pig shoot­ing. Des­ti­na­tion reached, it was an early start at the air­port. We were given a safety brief­ing for shoot­ing from a he­li­copter with an AR15 ma­chine gun and were soon above the coun­try­side – each of us armed. Due to the thick veg­e­ta­tion the pigs were hard to see but Nath shot one early into our trip. A lit­tle while later he spot­ted a coy­ote; the pi­lot banked and gave us firm in­struc­tions to “shoot it”. We didn’t need telling twice. We ended with some coy­otes and a pig, had an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and saw first hand the dam­age the pigs cause.

Our fi­nal ac­tiv­ity, pig hunt­ing with dogs, was the high­light for me. Thanks to my friend Matthew Ren­ner, of Boars of Texas, we were in the ca­pa­ble hands of Lan­don and Corey and their dogs. They hunted with three pit bulls, which held the pigs at bay un­til we dis­patched them. By the time it had be­come too hot for the dogs, we had shot six pigs.

Our 10-day road trip pro­vided some real ad­ven­tures and we made some good friends. It also ended the way it had started – with ve­hi­cle trou­ble. As I drove across a field to check some pig traps, Mack­erel in­formed me to “mind the tree”. Bang! Crunch! I had cre­ated more roof ven­ti­la­tion.

‘Nath spot­ted a coy­ote; the pi­lot banked and in­structed us to “shoot it”.’

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