Coyote and Hog Hunting in Texas
By Larry Weishuhn
Picking up the recently shed whitetail antler, I had to smile. I was happy to find the cast antler of the buck I had unsuccessfully hunted the previous fall, as in never laying eyes on him during the entire six-weeklong season. I knew now he had made it through the hunting season. And, I knew exactly where he was when he dropped the antler, giving me a good place to start my hunt for him the coming fall season.
I also laughed at myself. When I spotted the shed, I took off running as if I had to beat someone from picking it up before I could. I was on the property by myself! I remember thinking it was strange to have such a reaction! But it was not the first time that had happened.
I found numerous coyote and wild hog tracks looking for sheds on my property. I recalled a coyote I had shot the previous hunting season when I saw the coyote tracks. Still hunting along the edge of a dry creek, three does burst out of the underbrush fifty yards ahead of me. The wind was in my face. I wondered if a buck was chasing them. I raised my Ruger No. 1 .280 Remington topped with a Trijicon AccuPoint scope, loaded with a 150-grain Hornady ELD-X Precision Hunter.
I caught movement coming out of the brush. It was not a buck but a huge-bodied coyote. I quickly picked him up in my scope cranked down a lower magnification as I always did when still-hunting. I pushed the safety to fire, kept the scope’s little green dot on the front of the coyote’s brisket, and gently tugged the trigger. The coyote never broke stride when he turned and headed back into the underbrush. I knew I had hit him because I could see blood as he ran.
I quickly reloaded and walked toward where the coyote disappeared into the creek bottom. There I found considerable blood on the grass. Three steps into the brush, I saw him, a very old male, huge body coyote! I snapped some quick photos, then started dragging him back to my pickup. He was heavy and big-framed. A half-hour later, I weighed him on scales my brother uses for mixing feed. I watched in amazement as the “needle” settled on 57-pounds! Years earlier, an uncle had shot a coyote on the same property that weighed 52-pounds. The then local State wildlife biologist suggested that coyote was likely a “throwback” to the red wolves that once inhabited our area when Europeans first settled the region. Confirming the coyote’s size, it was no wonder the grown does had run from him. I, too, had noticed that coyote had big feet. Those would have made identical prints like those I had seen looking for sheds.
Hmmm! Perhaps it was time to do some predator control and hopefully take out some coyotes before the local whitetail fawning season, which in our area starts in early May.
I also noticed numerous big-bodied wild hog tracks during my shed hunting excursion. In my experience, mature boars could be and often are predators on fawns.
Years ago, after trying just about everything to increase fawn survival rates on a ranch I managed, I finally decided to shoot twenty big hogs, boars, and sows which I thought weighed 150 and more pounds. I did complete necropsies on each, including checking stomach contents during the peak fawning period in early July. Eighteen of the twenty, mostly boars, had remains of whitetail fawns in their digestive system! We did a substantial wild hog removal. We did the same the following early summer. As a result, our fawn survival rate went from less than 20-percent to over 80-percent. All other environmental things were equal, outside of the severe reduction of the local wild hog population.
I started baiting hogs with corn back at my place, something very few wild hogs can resist! A week after beginning to bait, I was able to slip in a shoot a couple of dry sows (those without pigs, which is a rarity) with my Taurus Raging Hunter in .44 Mag, topped with a Trijicon SRO sight and shooting Hornady’s 240-grain XTP ammo. You may recall my recent writing about shooting a sizable boar on Jeff Rice’s Buck and Bass Ranch with the same combination. Too, that hunt was filmed for and appeared on our weekly TV/digital show, “A Sportsman’s Life” on www.carbontv.com I did not film the hunt where I shot the two sows. I found them when it was nearly dark. Thank goodness for Trijicon sights!
I had set up four bait stations, one along a dry creek, one near a pond, one next to a grassy field, and a fourth in the middle of a dense yaupon thicket. I set up four, so I would not be hunting the same spot each time I had an opportunity to hunt. In most instances, it has been my experience once I shoot a hog on one bait, it takes a while for hogs to feed there again.
I have to be gone for several days, including doing a wildlife management consulting job through Brandon Houston’s and my H3 Whitetail Solutions consulting company (www.H3whitetailsolutions.com), then working our www.TRHPOutdoors.com booth at the spring NBS show, as well as attending to DSC Foundation (www.dscf.org) business and our monthly board meeting. By the time I get back, the hogs should have “settled down” and be back feeding on the bait, allowing me to take more wild hogs.
As soon as I return from that trip, I plan to hunt coyotes using my mouth-blown Burnham Brothers Long Range C-3 Predator Call (www.burnhambrotherscalls.com). Like many, I await their new “Freq” ultra-sonic electronic call. When I get one, I will do some calling with it, in the same areas where I used my mouth-blown call, something I have seen Gary Roberson do several times with great results, calling coyotes where others said doing so was impossible. But that was before the new “Freq” call, which produces ultrasonic sounds beyond 40,000 Hertz. All other electronic calls can only go to 20,000 Hertz!
Not only will I be calling and trying to control coyotes and hogs on my property, but there are also a couple of ranches in northern Texas where Brandon Houston and I plan on doing the same. I’ll be using both rifles and my Taurus Raging Hunter handguns on those places. With the latter, mainly with my .44 Mag and .454 Casull, perfect for predators and hogs, and ideal for a great variety of big game hunting! Hopefully, Gary Roberson will join us and bring his “Freq” call.
Because both coyotes and wild hogs have an excellent sense of smell, I, we, always spray down clothing, boots, gloves, hats, and equipment with TRHP Outdoors’ Scent Guardian, and then use TRHP Outdoors’ Predator Death Grip when hunting predators and their Inflamed Sow Seduction when hunting hogs.
It is time to start getting serious about predator and wild hog control!