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Pigapalooza 2015 (9 javelina, one taken on video)

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When the 2014 season ended, I remember thinking, I doubt I can possibly have more fun then that chasing javelina. 2015 proved to be no different, turned out to be one for the books. Filled with fun days in the field and stacked with plenty of "firsts" as well.


Dillon started this season of with his archery metro pig back in Dec. We hunted washes behind our neighborhood and it finally paid off. He made a good shot at about 20 yards through the front leg and his pig expired very, very quickly. This is Dillon's second archery pig


Dillon's 2014 Dec Metro Javi



Per tradition, we started archery hunting January 1rst, first day out was my son Dillon, myself and my buddy Nelson. Dillon stalked a great whitetail buck and came darn close to getting a shot, but we didn't find pigs that day. January 2nd, Dillon, my daughter Ashley and I set out. It was a cold, windy morning and we came up empty the first couple hours. We decided to hike over to the next ridge and I glassed up a herd while we were taking a quick break as we topped the ridge. We snuck right in on them but Ashley missed a shot and sent them scrambling, I was able to call them back, but that also resulted in arrows flying and not meeting their mark. Day 3, Nelson and I were at it by ourselves. We ventured into one of our favorite spots and it didn't take long before pigs were located. Nelson let me take the front and it took us quite a while for me to send an arrow. Just about didn't happen as a sow and two reds were less than 20 for about 3 minutes and I thought for sure it would end badly at any second. I opted to pass and hoped we could hang on long enough for a different pig to present a shot. Finally, one pig started moving our way and I let him have it at about 10 yards broadside as he crossed our path. Wasn't able to call the herd back, but the herd of 20 plus scattered and small pockets remained here and there. Nelson moved down hill to get a shot and even drew his bow. No shot was taken and upon letting his bow down it derailed on a small branch, made a nasty noise and luckily he didn't get hurt! He was chapped, the day was over, or was it!? I told him to shoot one with my bow and he laughed, then I laughed. But a few pigs had made their way down into a wash and held up at about 500 yards. After thumping a barrel cactus with my bow about a dozen times. We clearly saw he was on the mark at 20 and 30 yards and he moved down into the wash, my bow in hand. About a half hour to forty-five minutes later, pig #2 was down for the count!


My archery pig



Nelson's archery pig



During the week, I decided to go out solo and try and fill my metro tag. I had scouted this area once before, which basically consisted of a leisurely walk with the wifey late one weekend morning. Based on some minimal sign and a few beds, I decided it was good enough and headed over for an afternoon hunt. My season ended fairly quickly as I was able to fill both my tags in two consecutive half days of hunting. I hiked all over these little hills and was pleased with the sign I was finding. Probably around five in the evening I came across some very, very fresh scat. I hustled up to a little rock outcropping and started scanning all around. I picked up a herd only 200 yards away. Wind was in my favor so I stalked into them quickly knowing I didn't have much time. When I got into 30 or 40 yards, I just had to stand there and wait for one to step out and I let one fly at about 20 yards when one walked by and closed the gap for me. My javi didn't make it 5 yards and was expired before I could walk to it. I've been using the Rage Xtremes 2.5" and animals have met an instant demise from these heads.


My metro javi



Tuesdays were the only days off my daughter Ashley and her boyfriend Alex could get together so I made arrangements to take off Tuesdays to hunt with them. I set Alex up with a spare bow and this was to be his first hunting experience. My daughter Ashley has been shooting a bow since she was 8 years old. At 21, she has been on many bow hunts for deer, javelina and even a bull elk hunt. She had never taken an animal prior to this season and last archery javelina season was the very first time she had even flung an arrow. She had two misses last year and two misses for this January, but hard work and years of trying would finally pay off. My daughter and I headed out for the last Tuesday of the January season without her boyfriend Alex. We had hunted the two prior Tuesdays and came up empty. Alex couldn't take another day off so it ended up just being the two of us. I found the herd we were after right as the sun started beating on the ridges. We made a long stalk and got above them. Unfortunately, they bedded right when we were getting into bow range. Hours later, we were feeling the effects of the sun and the one bottle of water I grabbed when we dropped our packs 75 yards above was GONE. I actually resorted to tossing rocks to get them up, as Ashley could no longer take the sun beating on us. We had been twenty yards or less for over an hour and no shot. The rocks seemed futile as I chased some off and some would bed right back down. Just when it started to seem hopeless a giant boar walks out and stops at 20 yards in the best window we had. WHACK, the 10 plus year quest came to end. She hit the pig almost square in the ear, it looked like Mike Tyson himself gave this thing and overhand right. I thought it was down for the count, but she ended up putting another arrow in a couple minutes later. Ashley had thumped a giant boar and redemption was finally hers. A bitter sweet end to a long overdue archery harvest! Her boyfriend Alex had one quick shot opportunity on his first day out on a lone pig, but didn't take the shot. Next year will be his redemption I'm sure.


Ashley's archery javelina and first bow kill




Next up was my wife Colleen and my son Dillon with muzzleloader tags. We changed gears and went into an area we hadn't been for about a year. Saturday we got into two different herds and a huge troop of coatimundis and came soooo close to whackin & stalkin pigs and some desert monkeys, but couldn't get the shot. My son was using his new Barnett Crossbow and Colleen had her Thompson Center 223 pistol. Sunday was just Colleen and I, but no pigs were located. Colleen and I went out Monday after work, we tried a new area based on some feedback from my buddy Nelson from his wife's deer hunt back in November. Colleen decided to bring out her CVA muzzleloader and she ended up taking a pig that evening from 102 yards. We didn't even move from our glassing rock. Doesn't happen often, but gotta love that! We glassed for quite a while and I must have somehow missed some bedded javelina has they suddenly appeared right under us. I had mentioned all afternoon I could smell them, I should have known it was only a matter of time until they showed themselves. Colleen is now 6 for 6 on hunting tags, an amazing streak for any new hunter. She has taken 3 consecutive javelina (two with muzzy and one with her 223 pistol), two consecutive rifle wt and one muzzy cow.


This was a great cure for the "Monday Blues"


Colleen's muzzy javelina





I pulled Dillon a little early from school on Thursday as he was not going to be able to hunt the second weekend of the muzzleloader season. After about a 35 minute hike, we were posted up on our glassing knoll. The wind was brutal and I could barely hold down my binoculars. We kept at it, but also kept second guessing our decision to hunt this particular spot. Dillon had mentioned if we would have been better off going to where Nelson and I had scored our pigs on the same day back in early January. I told him if we didn't find pigs that we would have been better off going there, and if we had gone there and not found pigs, we would have wished we would have gone here. Pretty simple redneck logic right there! Right when we were ready to call it, out steps the herd. Dillon spotted them with the naked eye. With almost no time to spare, D took off down the canyon with his crossbow, rangefinder and a radio. I walked him into the herd as quickly as I could using one saguaro after the next as a reference. He ended up lighting one up at 18 yards with the virgin crossbow right at dark. The herd immediately turned on him and I could hear the panic in his voice over the radio as the pigs moved towards him woofing and jaw popping. I told him to roar and stomp his feet and that is EXACTLY what he did! No gash wounds to my son and all was well, the celebration ensued. He was stoked for sure. He found em, he stalked em solo and to top it off, he gutted his first animal with minimal help from me. D even packed out the pig and his crossbow out while his ol man came out light as a feather. Good stuff, he's growing up.... and I'm growing old.


Dillon's crossbow javi




As muzzleloader was coming to a close, my buddies Steve and Bill had not yet filled their tags. I asked Steve if I could tag along with him and we decided on Sunday working best for the both us. Last year Steve thumped one with his pistol, Nelson was with him while Colleen & I watched from long range through the binos. I offered up the wife's CVA as time was ticking on the tag become soup worthy and Steve agreed that might be a good idea. He brought his pistol in case we could find ourselves in the ideal stalking situation. We left the truck at first light and split up to hike separate ridges. At the end of our hike we met up on the back sides and I just couldn't believe Plan A had not produced a stinker. Sign is amazing in this area and we have taken pigs off these hills in years past. We sat down to glass off the foothills, but again came up empty in what is prime pig country. With morning quickly fading away, I busted out my javelina chorizo burrito and gobbled it up thinking we need all the help we can get. I swear it wasn't 5 minutes later we glassed up a herd over a mile away. I had stalked this same herd three years prior with my daughter and Dillon and I KNEW they were already in their bed which made the long hike over there a no brainer. We failed three years prior because after an hour of sitting and waiting I started to second guess they were even there anymore. We staked in, my daugter had my pistol in hand instead of waiting them out with the rifle and that proved to be the wrong answer as they busted out and we barely caught a glimpse of them. What we did see, was well used beds and I always glance up there to see if I can lay eyes on those guys again when hunting in the general area. Steve and I were working with much more intel this time around and we sat on the same rock ledge as three years prior and didn't budge. We held up at 100 yards until we finally started catching movement. It wasn't long after when Steve sent the 250 grain sabot into a very large sow.


Steve's muzzy javi




This year for the rifle season I offered to take one of my son Cody's friends to come hunt. Cody doesn't hunt much anymore and he was game for a javelina hunt when I told him I would pay for a buddy to come hunt as well. Thomas and Cody's hunt came up quick, the weekend prior I took them both shooting on Saturday. It was the first time his friend Thomas had even looked through a scope. 36A was our destination and since it was myself, my two boys and Thomas, camping was a must! Colleen helped me do the shopping and we loaded the trailer Thursday night for a Friday afternoon departure. It was tough day at work Friday as the rifle pig picks came to my cell and posts went onto facebook haha.


Pic of camp right after we started setting up



The Friday night campfire was as good as any and we had high hopes for the weekend. Saturday morning me and the crew headed to our predetermined parking spot and I was hopeful there hadn't been hunters in there for opening day. After about a 20 minute hike we were in position and the glassing began. Dillon kept going to a different hill to increase our odds of spotting pigs. I ended up glassing a small herd heading right for him and his hill, but while I was trying to get him to see them the radio went dead and go figure, not enough double AAs to swap out. Cody, Thomas and I bailed off and started to hustle towards Dillon hoping he would locate them and get us on them once we arrived. We never quite made it to Dillon. He was motioning me when I was about 75 yards out and told me to get down. He gave me some hand signals to let me know that they were headed our way, which was a 180 from the direction I last saw them heading. Cody had said from the get go that Thomas would take the first shot. Cody has yet to fill a pig tag, but I was proud of his decision and fully agreed that was the way to go. We patiently waited as the herd got closer and closer. Thomas dropped the hammer at 82 yards after some coaching from me to take his time and shoot between breaths. He made a perfect shot and the pig expired within a few feet. We quickly got Cody behind the rifle but the 82 yard crack of the rifle sent the remaining pigs full speed in different directions and they never looked back, nor did the the J13 have any effect on them. So much for calling them back, works like a champ bowhunting. There would be no double on this day. Dillon had been rolling the video camera and managed to get some pretty decent footage considering he's still a youngster! Thomas has been coming to our house for over four years since we moved into our new neighborhood. He's a great kid and this was a great deal indeed. Thomas and his family have opted for chorizo, bratwurst, and hot italian. I dropped his pig off at Jon's shop. My wife already had an 8x10 framed waiting for him when we got home and I plan on getting the skull to him as final keepsake to his first hunt.


Thomas's first hunt/first animal...



The Wrecking Ball Crew



A quick video of Thomas's hunt, shot by D and I did the editing


Unfortunately, Cody getting his first javelina was not in the cards. We had no trouble finding them a few more times, but the bad luck was endless and the wind was bordering on ridiculous. Every move we made after we located pigs was wrong. They always zigged when we zagged and Cody ended up missing a prehistoric blonde looking javi Sunday late morning after waiting almost two hours for him to stand. His was a harsh defeat and the wind made the decision for us that we had indeed lost our will and we threw in the towel for the Sunday night hunt. 25-30mph winds are no joke and the kids just couldn't enjoy themselves in those conditions. I wish we could of snuck out one day this week to get Cody his first javi, but with have busy weeks, me with work and Cody with school, track and band. I hope he decides to stick with it, he does seem unlucky as far as hunting, but the reward will be that much sweeter when the taste of success comes.


All and all we hunted well over a dozen different herds of javelina from three different units. We ended killing out of 6 or 7 different herds. I'm sure all but two were boars which is a lucky bonus in my book. I still somehow feel like I haven't quite had my fill, but I'm looking forward to getting out and trying to finding some big whiteys before they drop.


Thanks for checking out our adventures if you managed to hang in there for the long winded post!
















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It was a long read and I was hoping it would never end. Great job to the whole crew. Nicely done on putting it all together Justin. I will send you a picture of Peg's pig wearing her new hat from you. Thanks for sharing. You definitely have these pigs figured out. :)



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Congrats you definently know how to hunt these stinkers! I too think eating my javelina churrizo from one hunt during another is good luck!!

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TJ, very nice... Send it over!


Thanks guys


Man, I keep going over the details of all these great hunts and there really is just too much to share. My boys were razzing Thomas and telling him he had to take a bite out of the raw heart haha. I hink h was game to do it too! I ended up cooking it at camp and he actually gobbled up half the heart! He's hardcore!


A lot of good memories packed into a short javelina season for sure

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I thoroughly enjoyed the read, thank you for putting it together. Congratulations to all involved, way to put the smack down on the piggies!

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Great post Justin! Glad I was able to be part of it again this season. Thanks for bringing the muzzy. Can't wait till next season

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Another great year for the Pig Patrol!

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