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Posted By: mogwai
02/24/2014 10:01 pm

I drove up to Atwater yesterday for my Hunter's Education class, being instructed by Dave Gibbons of Hammer Stryke. (absolutely amazing instructor, beautiful wealth of knowledge and somehow made a 10 hour course extremely enjoyable.)

Needless to say, I passed the exam with flying colors and picked up my hunting license this morning. Going to hit some BLM land at Laguna Mountain on Saturday for hog and coyote. Beyond excited!

Of course I am looking for all the advice any of you are willing to share with me, but most of all I just wanted to share in my progress.

Happy hunting, see you in the woods!

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Reply By: WHC Admin
02/24/2014 11:11 pm

Let me be the first to congratulate you and wish you luck on your hunting adventures. Without dogs, you're in for a tough hog hunt. Get out early and look for the presence of hogs i.e. smell, scat, tracks, wallos, rooting, and rubs. Wild hogs prefer moist terrian with dense cover, preferably near water. They wallow to cool off... after a wallow the mud caked hogs scrub their bodies on nearby trees, aka rubs. I would get a good map of the area or Google Earth the terrain to get an idea of where to start, then go get a BLM map or here's a link to an iphone app link. You can go to the link and download the pdf. under Guide to Wild Pig in California for a More thorough introduction to Pig hunting in California. Good Luck and Happy hunting! Be sure to let us know how you do.

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Reply By: Michael-E-Clay
02/27/2014 1:00 pm


Welcome to the real world.

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Reply By: mrbusybusy
02/27/2014 3:01 pm
Can't wait to hear about your adventures!
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Reply By: mogwai
03/10/2014 1:12 pm

I can't believe I am going to say this, but since I started this thread, I have had the pleasure of going on 4 hunting day trips. For those of you interested in hearing about my adventures, here's a breakdown of how the vastly different trips went:

Day 1, March 1st - leading up to my first outting I was getting hit left and right with hurdles to jump over, through and slip under. For starters, it had been raining all week long, my hunting buddy had pulled a last minute bail out, I was feeling a little unsure about some of my equipment and I was honestly debating postponing my start date in order to be met with better circumstances. Nonetheless, I woke up at 4 am and made the 2 hour drive to Laguna Mountain. Sure enough, it was dripping rain the whole freeway portion of my drive, but once I got off the interstate and began driving the small 1 lane roads to my destination, the skies began to clear up and the possibilities of a partially sunny day were presenting themselves. By the time I pulled into the parking lot the sun had already started to rise, definately later than I had initially anticipated my arrival. I spent a good 15 minutes getting my gear situated on my person, lacing up my boots and stringing my bow. The "partially cloudy" skies were quickly becoming dark again and just as I reached the gate to the trail and noticed the sea of mud ahead of me, the sky opened up and began to dump. I thought to myself "well shit, I'm already here, how bad can be a little wet be?", so I started walking. Long story short, I hiked a couple miles in, got to the top of the ridge and came face to face with mother nature. The wind was howling at a good 30-50 mph, it was absolutely pouring, the path was drenched, I was sinking in ankle deep mud and with the overwhelming about of Live and Coastal Oaks being dead, leafless skeletons, there was no shelter from the storm. I was going through one gear malfunction to the next, my "water-resistant" clothing wasn't resisting much water (haha), my backpack zippers breaking and broadheads falling apart, so by 11 am I hadn't seen any form of life and even if I had, the wind was so strong that there was no chance of me shooting off an arrow, and with this said, I made my way back to my car, tail between my legs, soaking wet. I ended up sitting in my car, optimistic that some sort of miracle was going to dry out the skies, but ended up heading home within an hour.

Day 2, March 2nd - with an extremely busy work week ahead of me, I decided to go back out the next morning. I had reluctantly spent a fair chunk of change at Dick's the night before, reevaluating my gear and making some much needed upgrades, so I felt obligated to get back into the field. The weather reports were all reading 0-20% chance of rain and regardless of the mud wrestle that was Saturday's hike, I was determined. With my wife and kids looking to meet me at a day use campsite in the early afternoon, I got myself up an hour earlier and got to the base of the trail with plenty of time to get up and over the ridge before sunrise. Obviously there had been no time for the mud to really dry up, so once again I marched on in the sludge. Upon reaching the top of the ridge I made a last minute decision to shoot down the backside of the mountain into the gorge versus hiking the windy-ass ridge again. I'm not going to deny the fact that I was pretty much terrified walking the woods in the dark by myself, but once the first light hit, I felt confident and far more relaxed. With my new pack functioning perfectly, new quiver holding my broadheads onto the arrows tight and my clothes dry from my knees up, I felt golden. Once inside the valley I fell in love with my surroundings, the creek was moving, the birds were chirping and the mossy rocks and trees were abundant and beautiful. From hours and hours and hours of studying the google earth cordinates, I arrived at my first potential hunt spot. By this time I had already missed my opportunity for a first light sighting, but I still spent a good 45 minutes setting up my portable ground blind and situated myself for the long haul. Seriously, I couldn't have been sitting there set up for more than 5 minutes when than 0-20% chance of rain showed up, and honestly, it felt like I was in a monsoon. My little brush cover wasn't protecting me and after an hour of sitting in the downpour, wind and rain in my face, no animals in sight, I packed up my gear and slowly headed back to the site to meet my girls. As I began my hike out I started feeling a little uneasy, I could hear the sounds of twigs breaking when the rain would let up a little, and maybe it was just my mind playing tricks on my but I truly felt like I was being followed or at least watched. I laughed it off and hooved it up the last 2.5 miles to the crest of the ridge. Still raining, I could hear my wife and kids making their way up the front side of the mountain trail, my 3 year didn't seem too pleased as her tone rang through the dead oaks, but I couldn't see them yet. Just as I was about to hit the turn off to the main trail and my final decent into the camps, right before my girls became in sight, I saw a fresh, still steaming pile of what I am certain was bear shit and then heard something "large" slamming it's way down the hillside through the brush. Knowing it could only be a black bear I wasn't too concerned for myself, but felt the safety of my little kids to be questionable. We met up and walked back to camp where we cooked some hot dogs over the fire in the now drizzling rain, tried to make the best of things and eventually headed home.

Day 3 & 4, March 8th & 9th - with the better part of the week being dry and my buddy back on board, I decided to give the BLM land another try this past weekend, this time set up to camp out in the back country. With daylight savings hitting us on Sunday morning, we decided to get on the road very early on Saturday so that we could really get ourselves set for the weekend. Still wipping the crust out of my eyes, we reached the parking lot at 3 am and hiked our way up and over the ridge, down the backside, into the gorge, along the creek, past my first potential spot, into the brush and as far as we could get ourselves from the atv trails and day hiker/hunter paths. We set up my ground blind and decked it out before first light hit us. The mud had dried, and by the large amount of pigs trails coming into the creek, we figured we were good to go. With the two of us glassing to the SE 30 minutes or so after sunrise, yet to see any form of movement across the little creek and into the bramble and brush covered valley wall, we were approached by a hiker, the first and only human I had seen since coming to this area. Even though we weren't in any way dialing in the actual hunt at the time, he completely blew our cover. Standing in a meadow 10 yards from us, like a sitting duck, talking loudly and asking all sorts of unneccesary questions, stomping all over my feet. The Vegan Terrorist Hiker, as we dubbed him, made it clear that he didn't support hunting and went on for a good 5 minutes about his vegetarian practice. (side note, I spent 15 years of my life a vegetarian, 8 of which I was vegan. Nothing he had to say was new information to me.) Eventually, frustrated and trying to avoid getting in an argument, we packed up our gear, san the portable blind, and headed SE into the brush to find ourselves a spot to set up camp. We put up our tents, set up a fire pit, collected wood, had breakfast and loafed around for a few hours. The back country was tugging at my heart, I loved everything around me. It was beautiful, so much more quiet and still than my suburban life. The remainder of the day was spent hiking around and scouting for new potential hunt spots for the following morning. Towards the end of the day, we were discussing going back to get my ground blind to hide behind considering our complete lack of animal sightings, when just then we saw our friend, the vegan terrorist, making his way along the creek bed, 200 yards or so from us. Whereas we in no way felt physically threatened by this fellow, seeing another person, much less this creep, was the last thing we wanted to see. Having ducked in some bramble, we were able to watch him walk right passed us and towards our camp. Maybe as a way to hone our hunting/stalking skills, we trailed him for the 10 minute hike to our spot. Without too much hassle, but still with a fat dose of his rhetoric, we told him to hit the road. Nothing too uncomfortable went on, but the thought of sabotage was irking me. We watched him head back out without turning back to look at us once, we felt safe. The sun began to set and we ended the day with some dinner and a bottle of brandy.

I woke up early the next morning around 3 to the sounds of something walking around my tent/campsite. I unzipped and peaked out my tent, the sound of the zipper sent our visitor running off into the dark, the thought didn't really cross my mind until I woke up my buddy, but no, this wasn't our vegan friend, it was an animal. Having it be the first real encounter we had had with animal life thus far in the trip, albiet not even a shadow of a sight, we were amped to get the day going. There must've been a little rain over the course of the night because the ground around us was more than damp and our visitor's tracks were very evident, mountain lion. We fed ourselves, drank up some coffee and packed up the campsite before heading back to our blind for another sit. Along the way we found the remains of the lion's dinner, a small deer leg some 100 yards from our night's camp, certain that the leg wasn't there the day before, we treaded extra lightly. The rest of the day was spent in silence, waiting, waiting and waiting some more, but to our dismay, not a single animal was to come in sight. We chalked it up to experience and by 2 pm headed to the parking lot. During our final decent into the lot, we saw the vegan again, he was sitting on a rock with a sketch pad drawing a tree, quite a poor illustration if you ask me. I had a few sharp, but less than combative words with him, wished him well in life and got back to the car. He followed us at a fair distance and went as far as to jump in his truck and tail us out of the parking lot, down the road and into another campsite where we were planning to cook ourselves some dinner and reaarange our gear before heading home. He sat in his truck, barely in sight of us for an hour and then left, we didn't see him again, but I can't say that I felt good about this guy or wanted to have an altercation with him...

So, in closing, I have yet to have an opportunity to shoot an arrow at a hog, or even see a hog in the wild for that matter, but I have falling head over heels in love with the hunt. I feel like I've caught a bug and can't wait to get back out there...

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Reply By: Michael-E-Clay
03/10/2014 2:44 pm

Great article! Remember though, as a licensed hunter you are an ambassador of the sport. It is a hard situation though when a hippie decides they want to ruin a hunt. In the old days, people in a tribe that acted like that probably ended up as dinner themselves. The worst thing that could happen to a hippy/anarchist is that anarchy actually happens. Then, when the police aren't there to protect them, and the forest rangers and hunters aren't there to control the game populations,.. they will be the first ones munched by savage roaming herds of 300+ pound wild bone crushing boars. Dandy Lion bracelets and Cat Tail arrows will have no effect at that point verses what appears to me (and the rest of hunters everywhere) to be nothing more than some fairly angry bacon & a hunting opportunity of a lifetime.

So isn't that funny to think about? Leave a vegetarian alone in the woods without the help from people like us and eventually they stand a chance of actually being eaten by Bacon.


It's a stretch, but in California (and many other places where wild hogs are taking over) it could become a reality,.. if it already hasn't happened (insert dramatic music here).


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Reply By: mogwai
03/10/2014 1:13 pm

As the sun was beginning to rise on the second morning.

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Reply By: Michael-E-Clay
03/10/2014 2:46 pm

You sir, needed some dogs! Those pigs probably saw you guys coming before you were going ;)

Were you going to try to whack one with a recurve bow?


If so, what draw weight is it??

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Reply By: mogwai
03/10/2014 2:57 pm

yup, I am def feeling the need for some dogs. Sadly, even though my 2 cats follow me to my daughter's daycare in the morning, I don't think they'd be any help in the woods, prob just a condor snack.

Yes, I was planning on using my 60# recurve, but I had a .308 in tow just in case.

Next time!!!

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Reply By: cosswald
03/11/2014 6:20 am

Patience Grasshopper.....................

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Reply By: mogwai
03/11/2014 10:10 am

I'm just taking it all one step at a time. I feel that hunting almost redefines patience, learning to be still in every sense of the word. Being able to take a brand new look at life has given me so much mentally and even physically (the latter in terms of simply exercising and raising my heart rate.) I consider myself to be fortunate to have caught this bug, as a man living the city life in California and having a true escape from the hussle and bussle. Now that I have actually been in the field, I can deeply embrace the fact that the kill is only a small part of the hunt, being still and silent amongst the trees is so extremely rewarding.

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Reply By: RaptoRazor
03/25/2014 8:46 pm

Good to have you on board!

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