It can happen...............
No matter how long you’ve been hunting you can still become so excited you bungle an opportunity and today it happened to me.
First let me tell you what led up to it. The weather forecast called for a 7 KPH wind from the north. I had wanted to wander over to an abandoned olive orchard to see if any pigs were coming in for the ripening olives but with a northerly wind that would be counter productive…..they’d know I was coming.
After driving to the property and up past the farm house to the first gate at the top of the hill I saw a rabbit, he had run a bit and stopped hiding in the tall grass. Today, I was carrying my Zastava .223 so if I was to take the rabbit it would have to be a head shot. Luckily, the rabbit was holding. I retrieved the rifle off of the dash but it was on 6X ( it’s a Leupold 4-12x40 ) I cranked it down to 4X but he was too close and there was not enough definition to be able to see him through the grass, the picture was blurry too. Well, I took the shot but didn’t hit the rabbit………...no surprise there though. The conditions were woeful.
Because of the wind direction I decided to drive through the back gate of the property and turn right into the wind to check out some rocks wallaroos like to hang out in that I know about. That turned out to be too dicey because the ground around the back gate was a quagmire due to the recent heavy rain and I wasn’t going to risk getting bogged in it.
I stopped 40 yds. short of the gate and got out of the car to check the wind only to find that it was blowing from the south???. Hey, that meant I could now go and check the olive orchard after all. Grabbing my shoulder bag and rifle I set off. The understory was very noisy with lots of loud snapping sounds produced by each footstep causing me to proceed slowly picking the spot to place my feet so as to minimize the noise.
Eventually I arrived at the fence bordering the olive orchard and began looking down each row carefully when suddenly I felt the breeze on the back of my neck. Heck! It had changed direction by 90 degrees. Now anything in the orchard would know I was there. But what choice did I have, I was there now. So I continued to look down each row as I came to them when suddenly I saw a big pig.
It is hard to evaluate a pigs size accurately but I’d say this hog was about 175 lbs. From my position I did not have a steady rest for a shot but it didn’t matter anyway because he caught my scent and took off. The next thing I saw was a fox who jumped up and made haste for parts unknown without giving me a shot either.
The events up until then were pleasing because my idea of pigs in the olive orchard had been validated by the one I’d seen. I poked along slowly but realized if I was going to see anything I was going to have to walk into that northerly breeze so I started off in that direction. Near the top of a rise I took a break to drink some water. I stood my rifle up against a tree beside me and pulled the water bottle out of my shoulder bag.
The area where I’d stopped was covered in 4’ high clumps of native grass with spaces in between where animals could walk through. As I was putting the water bottle back in my bag two large pigs walked out of the grass 15 feet away. The first one didn’t see me and of course I had the breeze in my favor now. The 2nd hog however, did see me as I reached for my rifle and quickly disappeared.
The first hog had stopped as he’d hear his buddy thunder off. He was obscured by tall grass but I could see the blackness of it’s coat and simply fired at what I thought was his shoulder. Frankly, I don’t know it I hit him or not, but I cannot see how I could miss at 15’. Still, he showed no sign of being hit and there was no blood to indicate a hit so I have to assume I somehow missed him??? Too excited I guess after being skunked the last 4 trips out lately and today by comparison seeing so much game. But as they say ‘no cigar’ although I thoroughly enjoyed my day in the field.