1st Annual ITS Tactical Hog Hunt AAR
1st Annual ITS Tactical Hog Hunt AAR
Our 1st Annual Hog Hunt was a huge success and we’d like to thank every one of you guys who made it out.
There was plenty of hilarity, great stories and most importantly everyone left with the same number of holes they came with.
Before we get into the AAR (after action report) I’d like to thank our host for the weekend, Robert, for allowing us to use over 500 acres of beautiful Texas land for the first of many Hog Hunts to come.
This past Saturday was the official opening of Deer Season here in Texas, which worked out great for our weekend of Hog Hunting in beautiful Seymour, TX. Robert’s property stretched further than the eye could see and provided a “stellar” view of so many stars at night, that it was hard to even pick out the well known constellations.
We had fantastic participation and while we had a few last minute cancellations, we wound up with 16 hunters including the landowner, Robert. We had David and Sam come in from Oklahoma and Paul who made the journey all the way from Houston. The rest of us seemed to be around a three hour drive away.
The weather for the weekend cooperated for the most part and blessed us with no rain during the event. It got down into the high 30’s at night and up into the mid 70’s in the afternoon, so like typical Texas weather we were bundled up in the morning and evening and could wear shorts in the afternoon. As the sun went down the temperature dropped considerably and the wind picked up into the morning, but thankfully everyone seemed to have packed appropriately. It definitely helped that we had a nice fire to sit around!
If you’re familiar with Texas weather, you can be wearing shorts one day and the next day it can snow. We couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful weekend.
Rocki took down a nice Buck on Saturday evening and we were able to witness Daniel’s skill in helping Rocki field dress, skin and butcher him up. While we all joked that Daniel was related to the Manson family it was a real treat to have someone there that knew so much about processing meat. I think everyone learned something, for instance, I never knew that every animal has a brain just big enough to tan their own hide (with the exception of the Buffalo).
Processing seemed to be a real family event for Daniel and his wife, as he mentioned the two of them could completely process a large hog in just 3o minutes. Daniel was also packing a nice set of Sushi knives that he favored for making quick work of the buck.
While we all joked that the buck that Rocki took down was wounded by me on Friday night, everyone had a good time giving me hell for shooting at a pair of glowing eyes Friday night. The group that I was with was hunting a large field previously used for wheat in the north east section of Robert’s land. As we were making our way to the field on Friday night we lit up a tall grassy area at took notice of a pair of glowing eyes.
Everyone seemed to be in consensus that we should take a shot, so I rogered up and let one fly from my M4. Thankfully my shot was high and we quickly got more light on the area; after someone calling out that it was a coyote, we realized it was a deer before I followed up with another shot. I say thankfully because it would have been illegal to take that deer on the night before deer season had officially opened.
While I’m still pissed I missed the “hog deer” as everyone called it, I’m glad I didn’t put our group in jeopardy if the local game warden would have come by our camp that evening.
Everyone was able to get in some great time hunting and I especially liked Saturday afternoon where we must have covered at least five miles on foot searching for hogs. As I’ve mentioned Robert has some beautiful property and it was a real treat to be invited out for a fraction of what it would have cost all of us to get out on a lease somewhere else.
Robert had no less than four feeders that had been going for a few weeks before we’d arrived and had quite a few hog sightings himself in the weeks leading up to the hunt. While most everyone just set up in positions within distances of each of the feeders, there were a few blinds that Robert had for us too.
There were four main areas where we were hunting, but it was great to be able to just take off on the land to explore and look for hogs. I think that in the end we had such a large presence on the land that I think we spooked a lot of the hogs. Next year we’ll be discussing some ways to try and mitigate our footprint to have a better chance at rounding up some hogs.
They were definitely in the area, as there is clear evidence everywhere on Robert’s property of hog destruction. We also know for a fact in my group that hogs had come by in the early morning hours on Friday night and eaten the sweet feed we’d buried earlier that evening.
As far as weapons go, there was a good mix of .308’s, 30-06, M4’s and even an SKS I believe. Rocki took down his buck with a 30-06 and a few of us had a turn with a nice .308 and accurate as hell scope that Josh had brought along. We set up a target stand at what seemed to be around 300 yards across the pond from our campsite and all took turns with some precision shooting.
Camping and Dining
Robert’s property is split in half by a highway and our campsite was located on the south portion of his land next to a nice pond. Despite being uneven ground for the most part, it worked out perfectly. We had a nice area to set up a fire ring, stoves and tables to form a dining area. The fire helped keep us warm at night and all laughing with great stories into the night.
Robert and Dirk surprised everyone on Friday night by buying a ton of hamburger meat with all the fixin’s to make monster burgers. Needless to say we had way more food than than anyone could possibly eat last weekend. We had to force Robert to take about six bags of unopened chips as everyone was still so stuffed Sunday morning to take any home.
We had a Smorgasbord on Saturday evening which consisted of everyone individually making different dishes for the meal. We all ate good with tasty dishes like Quail, Fajitas, Pork Tenderloin, Beans and Mashed Potatoes; for dessert we had Monkey Bread and Peach Cobbler from dutch ovens. I can’t leave off what I felt was the best thing I ate all weekend. Jason had the BEST guacamole I’ve ever had in my life that he’d bought from a local Hispanic market in the Dallas area. If you’re reading this Jason, be sure to leave a comment with the location of that place!
Musket Transition Drills
On Saturday afternoon we had a small shooting competition for some prizes provided by ITS and John, who brought some hats, a bivy sack and tool bags from the surplus store he worked at. For the competition I opted for a transition drill, where using a timer, everyone had to fire two shots from their primary; safe their weapon, transition and fire one from their secondary in under 5 seconds.
The fastest time for the drill was 2.41 by Jason who took first place, followed by Paul with 2.91 and Josh with 3.76. As I donated some of the prizes I didn’t feel right showing everyone up! I didn’t run the drill other than the demonstration and running the timer. I thought the drill was a great success as some commented they’d never even run any kind of transition drill before and that it was a good experience.
I’m going to give David a hard time here and talk about his Musket transition drill! He ran the drill with a borrowed sling on his SKS that I joked looked like he was running the drill with a musket! I have to say he shot that drill pretty damn accurate though.
Josh and Ray also felt the need to pose for a nice homo photo during the competition as well. You guys should have kept that crap in your tent with Hector and his Chemlight… (sorry, you had to be there to get that one!)
Downtime and Wrap-up
We mostly spent the downtime between hunting by eating, sleeping, talking, giving each other crap, drinking (at night) and even got in some lock picking practice with some tools and locks I’d brought.
The event turned out much better than I could have hoped for and I think we all made some new friends this weekend. It was a great group of like-minded guys who seemed to bond well almost from the get go.
On Sunday before most everyone headed home, we all circled up and passed out a nice commemorative 1st Annual ITS Tactical Hog Hunt dog tag that John had made up for everyone. In true Boy Scout fashion; I had a thorns and roses where everyone talked about something they didn’t like or wanted to change about the weekend, as well as something positive they took from the event.
There were plenty of thank you’s passed out for Robert’s hospitality and generosity in letting us use his property for the weekend and I wanted to state again how much it was appreciated Robert!
We only had one small safety incident during our competition, which was quickly corrected and everyone had great ideas for ways to improve next year’s hunt. Some suggestions ranged from putting up a check in/out white board for better accountability and better meal planning to avoid the over abundance of food we had.
It’s only going to get better from here and I think I speak for everyone in saying we had an awesome time and can’t wait for next year!!
Special thanks to Jody and Rocki, our two paramedics for the event. Jody works for an EMS flight service in the D/FW area and was able to coordinate with the closest flight medical service to have a chopper on stand-by for the weekend; ready to reach us within 15 minutes if we needed it. Thankfully we never had to utilize that option!
Thanks also go out to John who made up the dog tags, donated prizes for the shooting competition and helped shoot photos for the weekend.
Be sure to keep an eye out for next year’s announcement for the 2nd Annual ITS Tactical Hog Hunt!
warning, some of the photos below may be considered graphic!