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GRANT: Deer season has ended and turkey season’s still a few weeks away, so it was a great opportunity for some of the GrowingDeer Pro Staff and myself to head to south Texas and chase hogs and javelinas.
GRANT: Once the truck was packed, it was time to make the 13-hour trip to the Mexican border and spend some time in a different part of Creation.
GRANT: After a long drive, we finally met up with the ProStaff and got settled in.
GRANT: With the confidence of knowing my Centergy was still sighted in, it was time to hunt some hogs, and, hopefully, let some Bloodsports fly.
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GRANT: We all headed out and settled in to the blinds for the first time.
GRANT: (Whispering) Daniel and I and several of the GrowingDeer ProStaff are in south Texas hunting hogs. It’s about 80 degrees today. Their deer season’s still open, but we are chasing hogs with our bows. We’re huntin’ over feeders. That’s the culture here in south Texas and really the only way to have a successful hog hunt. Corn feeder just got off so we’re gonna sit back, enjoy the show. There’s already some quail out there, and I can’t wait to see what comes in this afternoon.
GRANT: This hog definitely knew where the corn was. I was wondering if the rest of the ProStaff was also having action.
GRANT: ProStaffer Daniel Stefanoff and cameraman Clay O’Dell had a feeding frenzy going on in front of them. But it seemed there was also a frenzy going on in the blind, as they tried to get lined up on the same hog.
GRANT: Wow. Talk about a lot of hogs.
STEFANOFF: (Whispering) There’s a (Inaudible).
CLAY: (Whispering) Yes.
STEFANOFF: (Whispering) Ready?
CLAY: (Whispering) Yes.
GRANT: Team Martin also had a hog show up during their first hunt. We had a very nice welcome to south Texas.
HEATH: That blood on that. That was a heart shot right there. He shouldn’t of went far. That’ll be a good kill right there. (Inaudible)
UNKNOWN: Which way do I need to run?
GRANT: There were, obviously, a lot of hogs on this property, and the leaseholder was very thankful we could remove some of these destructive critters.
GRANT: Not only did we want to take a crack at some hogs, but we had a great opportunity to stalk some javelinas.
GRANT: The following afternoon, Norman and Pruitt tried to stalk up on a double.
NORMAN:(Whispering) 20 yards.
GRANT: Pruitt made a great shot. And the javelinas were still close by, so Pruitt grabbed the GoPro and see if dad could seal the deal on a double.
NORMAN: (Whispering) That one was punched.
NORMAN: A little, bloodring. It was so nice. It’s handy to let you know kinda what’s going on, where you’re at. I know hogs stink a little bit anyway, but …
NORMAN: Just a great day with my son. Just to spend it with him, that’s a good time. Good time, so if you’re looking for something to do in the off season, south Texas would probably love for you to come shoot some hogs and javelinas. Help keep some stuff under control.
GRANT: What an amazing hunt. I’m sure that’s a memory they will share for a long time.
GRANT: The following morning, Daniel and I setup in some brush alongside a road. This road had a fencerow and a nice cattle trail right beside it. The plan was to corn the road, that’s legal in Texas; sneak out and look down the road, and if critters came to it, slide down that cow trail; shoot through the brush, so we could have a great spot and stalk opportunity.
GRANT: Throughout the morning, Daniel and I kind of looked for arrowheads and other artifacts and then slid out to the road to give it a peak.
GRANT: About mid-morning, I finally saw something down the road. It was a javelina.
GRANT: (Whispering) A couple hundred yards down is a peccary, or a hog, drifting in and out of this fence line. We’re gonna go on this side of the fence line. The wind is generically coming this way. See if we can’t get in range.
GRANT: Daniel and I slipped down the other side of the fence, with the wind in our favor, and finally got within range of the javelina.
GRANT: We got within range, and I took a shot.
GRANT:(Whispering) (Inaudible) I took a shot, but apparently, I was a little high and slid right through the hair of that javelina’s back. It looks like it went through, but there wasn’t a drop of blood on the arrow. At my shot, the group busted up, some running far, and some running on our side of the road. We could hear them in the mesquite. Sure enough, a mature javelina slid out of the brush into a gas line right of way – moving, but not extremely fast – and I swung the bow, took the shot.
GRANT: I spined the javelina, but knew it wasn’t going far.
GRANT: Shot a javelina. There’s a little hair right under the fletch and zero blood on the bloodring. That’s a great thing about the bloodring. It tells you exactly where to spend time trailing, or admit you shot a little high and go home, and in this case, shot a little high. Tore right at the top of the back, but it’s not a – it’s not a killing wound. It’s not a drop of blood on that arrow.
GRANT: That one didn’t feel good. Thorn (Fades Out).
GRANT: Javelina made it about seven yards in the brush, which is too much in south Texas. You know everything down here has got thorns, and stickers, and what not on it. But got it out in the open. Hit it a little bit high – it was on the move. Worked out just fine. We’re gonna take this back to the skinning shed and clean it up.
GRANT: I took a javelina this morning. They’re native to southwestern United States, unlike feral hogs, which are not native. And a really cool thing about javelina is its very long hair right down their back, and I’m putting my hand behind it, just for you to get a scale. I’m buried in there, and it’s, you know, longer than my fingers. Gosh, some of its up mid-way of my hand there, so makes a beautiful pelt. I’m gonna skin this out; put it in the freezer until we go home. But you probably notice, right before I started this, I laid it down, put some Dawn soap all over it and washed it because javelinas are notorious for being covered with fleas. And a way to get the fleas off, relatively easy, is lay ‘em down, put a good coat of Dawn soap on there, suds it up real good, let it lay out in the sun for about five minutes. Then, you’re usually safe to work on it.
GRANT: Just like a deer, if you keep your knife blade pointed out, not only will you not rupture the stomach and get a nasty content in the face, but you cut less hair and your taxidermist will like you better. So you want to make an incision; turn your knife blade out, sharp knife just runs right down through there. I’m gonna take that hide level off first. Then, I’ll do the work of cutting through the visceral lining and through the rib cage.
GRANT: That’s all there is to that.
GRANT: Wash it out. Ready to go.
GRANT: The buck up makes processing such game an easy task.
GRANT: With three javelinas in the cooler, it’s now Heath’s turn.
HEATH: (Whispering) I think we can get under the dam and just walk right up to him, reach up, shoot.
HEATH: (Whispering) Wait. One of ‘em just laid down in the shade.
HEATH: (Whispering) We got him. (Inaudible)
UNKNOWN: Nice job.
HEATH: Let me drag him out here a little bit.
HEATH: Javelinas today. We’re actually down here with Grant, and Norman, and Pruitt, and several guys on the GrowingDeer Team, Daniel. We’ve been having a blast out hunting, shooting pigs and javelinas. And Norman and Pruitt, Pruitt was actually behind the camera. We got in this big group of hogs. And this pond, what we call it; they call it a tank down here. But come to this pond to get water and we scared a bunch of ‘em out. We got lucky enough – this big boar. The last hog across actually stopped long enough to give us a shot, and I was lucky enough to center punch him. So he didn’t run 20 yards up the hill and he piled up.
GRANT: Congratulations, Heath, and nice job on the camera, Pruitt. You are a great addition to the GrowingDeer Team.
GRANT: As a wildlife biologist and hunter, I really enjoy seeing different types of habitat and local critters. In south Texas, of course, we saw deer, hogs, javelinas, two types of quail, armadillo, and lots of other critters.
GRANT: We saw both blue and bobwhite quail while we were in south Texas. Both species are native to that area. Now, I grew up here in southern Missouri, and I grew up a quail hunter. There were lots of quail in the area. But as habitat has changed, and fescue has taken over the landscape, you rarely hear or see a quail in southern Missouri.
GRANT: In the south Texas brush country, that brush makes ideal quail habitat. We call it umbrella habitat, thick up top and very thin with lots of bare dirt down below. Ideal bugging habitat for quail and a lot of plants in south Texas are legumes, which produce seeds, which are perfect feed for quail.
GRANT: There is also plenty of snakes in south Texas and the temperatures are warm enough for them to be active.
GRANT: Luckily, Daniel and I only came across an indigo snake.
GRANT: Goodness gracious.
GRANT: This species of snake can grow up to eight feet long. They’re kind of scary, but most of the locals say if it’s an indigo, let it go, because indigos are known to eat rattlesnakes.
GRANT: Heath and Lindsay, however, had a much different encounter.
HEATH: (Whispering) Slower than that. (Inaudible) He’s right there.
HEATH: They always tell you to look out for rattlesnakes in Texas, and I know they got a lot of ‘em. But I’ve been down here a couple of times and I’ve just never bumped into one. But I have now, and he was a big one. I mean, he was as big as my forearm in the middle or bigger. I don’t usually look for snakes, but now, I’m looking at everything. I take a step, make sure there’s not one laying there, so.
HEATH: In this hole in the ground right here is where the big rattlesnake crawled out right beside us. I mean not three feet away. It’s a good thing he wasn’t wanting to get after us. He was wanting to go the other way. He came out and curled around the tree here, cut back, and went on the road, went on his way. But man, I’ll tell you what. When I looked down there and seen that big joker coming out of there, got my heart pumping for a minute.
GRANT: It seems everywhere you turn, there are thorns, stickers, burs, and something wanting to bite you. South Texas is tough country. Given these conditions, no one had to tell me twice to wear my snake boots. And the LaCrosse Snake Boots did a great job of protecting us against potential snake bites and a daily occurrence of keeping thorns out of our skin.
GRANT: Throughout the hunt, we found several artifacts indicating different cultures have lived in these tough conditions for hundreds of years.
GRANT: Several of our teams found arrowheads and tools used by Native Americans. We also found evidence of the more recent past. We were told during World War II that the military used a portion of this ranch as a practice range. And we found 50-caliber bullets and casings. Imagine finding a bullet with the rifling marks in it that had been fired, probably out of a plane, and skipped along the dirt, until we found it.
GRANT: I’m fascinated by history, and this land certainly has a colorful past. But I got to tell ya, some of the stuff we found really shocked me about current conditions in south Texas.
GRANT: This is a pile of clothes and backpacks, and water bottles left here by illegal immigrants. We’re about 10 miles, give or take, from the river – the Rio Grande. And through our hunting, and stalking pigs and javelinas, we’ve come across several piles like this. And I was personally shocked at the volume just on this one ranch. This is very sad. This is a hot topic right now, has nothing to do with deer hunting. But I don’t think a lot of people, myself included, understood the scale of what’s going on.
GRANT: Habitat types and cultures vary significantly throughout the USA, and I enjoy learning about them and applying the good portions to wherever I work.
GRANT: I hope you have the opportunity to travel this year and maybe learn some new tips. But wherever you are, take time each day to slow down and enjoy Creation. And most importantly, listen to what the Creator is saying to you. Thanks for watching GrowingDeer.