Note: Graphic images included in this post………you have been warned!
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I was able to live a dream last week south of Houston Texas, going hunting for feral hogs. But this was no ordinary hog hunt where you sit in a blind and wait for a single hog to come along, nor was it a trophy hunt. While there were hogs out there that would have been a trophy for some hunters, they were just wild pigs to us. No, our hunt was with Vertex Aviation Group as part of an aerial depreciation program to eliminate or remove wild or feral hogs in Texas.
Feral hogs in Texas, as well as other parts of the US, are tearing up farm land and residential neighborhoods with regularity. The damage they do in a short period of time is unbelievable Seeing that damage from the air is even more incredible. For those of us who remember having domesticated hogs in pastures, just multiply the wallows and damage by 100X and you get the picture.
My problem has been two-fold: I wanted to go on a hog hunt and shoot pigs, but I didn’t want to pay out the nose for a “sit and wait” hunt to kill a single pig. There are a log of hunting clubs and lodges that offer boar hunts for trophy pigs and those didn’t interest me. I kept reading about how bad the pig problem is becoming in areas of the country and how they were attempting to eradicate them but could not figure out why a hunt would cost so much money and more importantly why you were charged extra if you didn’t kill a trophy. I am not a trophy hunter.
I had been in contact with an acquaintance and farmer from Indiana who also is a gun writer and blogger, Frank W James, about hog hunts, and he gave me some options. One of which was Vertex! After reading about Frank’s hunt with Vertex and seeing their website and comments on their Facebook Page it became pretty obvious that Vertex fit the bill for the hunt I wanted to take.
Why Vertex? Really it was simple for this farm boy. The least important but playing a factor was that it was a hunt from a helicopter. I have never shot out of a helicopter so this shot up the excitement factor by 10x and would also allow me to learn a skill that I might not ever use again, but would allow me to mark it off my bucket list. Second on importance was that we got to shoot pigs, the plural of pig, meaning many, without a trophy requirement or penalty. Vertex supplies the firearms, Battle Rifle Company AR15/M4 platform 223 cal semi auto, and all the ammo as part of the hunt package. Again I liked this very much!
Plus Frank’s experience and story did a lot to sell me on Vertex.
But the thing that sold me on Vertex was 40% all the above things and 60% the safety class requirement.
The safety class requirement was what really sold me on this hunt. No other service requires safety training to hunt with them. This was important to me for several reasons. First, it showed that they had my best interest at heart making sure that I didn’t hurt myself, them, their equipment or those on the ground. Second it also showed me that they were serious about their jobs and about the service they provided to their landowners. Lastly, it also provided training on how the hunt would go, how to shoot and how to insure that we got the best bang for our paid hunt. With most of the staff of Vertex being former military, the safety culture is ingrained and is very evident in every deliberate action they take. I like that very much. I felt safe, had the up most confidence in Mike and his staff, and felt very comfortable and at ease the whole time I was in the chopper and around the firearms.
There is an art to safely handling an AR/M4 platform from a helo and Vertex covers this very well in their safety class. The hardest thing for me was the mag changes. I am very use to getting the rifle up in front of my face or “in my work space” to do mag changes and clear malfunctions. This is a big no no in a helo. Keep the muzzle pointed out the door and below the horizon. So all mag changes and malfunction drills take place on your lap. So there are a some extra hand movements while the rifle is grounded on your lap. Being very deliberate in every action insures you do it right and in a safe manner.
I enjoyed the safety class almost as much as I did the hunt.
But I enjoyed the hunt much more!
We hunted for three hours in a dual gunner configuration taking turns sitting front and back seat. Mike would fly over the wooded areas and scrub brush around the farm fields and pastures. The down wash and noise from the chopper would scare the pigs out of hiding and into the open where he would fly along side of them and then put us into position to shot them. And shoot we did!
In our three hour hunt we scared up three groups of pigs that made it out into the open. The first group had over 20 hogs in it, the second group had upwards of 40 and and the last group had 11. Shooting from a helicopter that is moving at a moving target is hard but as the time went on it became easier to get a handle on. You are shooting behind the hogs as they run with is counter to how I grew up hunting quail and rabbits where you lead them. We were not the best shooters from the air by any stretch of the imagination, but we improved as the hunt went on. Mike, our pilot, coached us along during the hunt as well. LISTEN TO MIKE! You get better with every pass on the hogs and it more natural to shoot from the “lag” as it does to lead a bird or rabbit. After we got the hang of the “lag” we became more effective at putting rounds on target. As Scott and I recounted on the drive home, we killed in excess of 30 hogs that morning.
As part of our hunt package we also got a “Hero Video” which is a video shot during our hunt. It should arrive in a few weeks after they edit and sync the different camera angles. We can’t wait for it to arrive to show it to friends and fellow hunters who have expressed an interest in going down to Houston to hunt with Vertex. Who knows, I may have to go back real soon and act as a guide for all these Southern Illinois folks who want to go on a helicopter pig hunt!
I give Vertex and our hog hunt three thumbs up out of two, 6 out of 5 stars and an eleven on a scale of 1 to ten for an outstanding lifetime memory!
Latest commercial by my brother Jonathan…….. (that’s him driving the car.)
Love this clip from the Andy Griffith show. I never liked the color episodes for some reason. Barney is a bigger kid than Opie and his gang………
Happy 4th of July!
I was going to start the week off and get back to daily blogging but when I saw the forecast for next week I went back to work. Rain most of next week the way things look right now, so I worked some ground and spread P and K and had Browns spray some fields that I knew I most likely would not get to before it rained.
I had planned on doing some blogs on some shooting videos but that will wait until next week.
Oh, next week……is the SLE 2011 or State Level Exercise for IEMA and I have to play radio man. I am not ready, and dont look to have a lot of time to get ready this weekend either…..
So for a video on shooting how about this one…….
Or this one……
Got started shelling corn today. Shot this video with my phone. Not the best video in the world but hey it worked! Anyway shelling east of Benton along Rt 14. Corn is doing well, as you can see in the video, some of the end rows along the woods were not so hot, but that is to be expected with the hot and dry July and August. But across the field is good corn for the year and growing conditions it had to endure.
Anyway here is about 1:15 of corn shelling from yesterday.
Been a while since I have posted a humorous video on here. Time to correct that error………I found this and for all my Ham Radio friends, you should recognize some of these exchanges between the two characters. I found it to be very funny. Anyway ENJOY!
After watching the news shows this morning I have decided that our country is no longer in the toilet. Its in the septic tank.
I really like this song this morning. No, its not all Obama’s fault, its both parties and all three branches of government. But then again folks, you voted for them so your at fault for our countries demise.
And if you live in Illinois, well, your getting a double screwing, one by the Feds and one by your good ole Chicago political machine and your local elected official who has sold his sole for money and backing from Chicago.
Think about that today………..
As for me, I am not investing in gold or silver, just brass and lead.
Pretty Awesome I think………..Battle of the Bulge sniper Ted Gundy takes a shot at 1000 yards.