Sunday, July 26, 2015

EASTON VIEW BERKSHIRE PIG HUNT 




As of September 15, 2015  it was illegal to possess, sell, distribute trade or transport Eurasian boar in New York State. However there is one ranch/preserve (Easton View Outfitters) located in Rensselaer County who has solved the pig hunting problem by bringing in Berkshire pigs. These pigs originated in England long ago and are legal here in NYS. Having hunted Eurasian boar at Easton View I was a bit anxious when the ranch owner Dave Vanderzee told me he had some coming. And when he called and said “they are here” my response was “when can I hunt;” his response – “anytime.” And 3 days later I was there.

If was   the perfect opportunity to try out my new Henry Big Boy .44 magnum carbine rifle which I just happened to scope with a Leupold VX HOG 1-4 20 mm scope. At the range using Hornady 225 grain FTX LEVERevolution ammo I was able to shoot a 3 shot group under an inch at 50 yards.

THE HUNT
At 8 a.m. they opened the gate and wished me good luck. Temperatures at that time were 80 degrees with humidity at 90 percent and I knew my long sleeve camo shirt and long pants were going to make it even hotter. Bugs too greeted me shortly after entering but fortunately the evening before I had thoroughly doused my camo with a good bug/tick spray and had my backup ThermCell.  The ranch covered a little over 200 acres and a terrain of fields, hedgerows, wooded hillsides and a large swamp. My plan was to start at the edge of the swamp about 70 yards in and follow the 2.5 mile fence line up around the perimeter.  I was probably about a third of the way up when I realized my age and was going to be making a number of stops throughout the day.

I saw quite a few fallow deer and rams but no pigs. It quickly became obvious that it was going to be a sneak and peek, step on the pig hunt. For the next few hours I walked the high grass fields, kicked brush piles and zigzagged my way through the swamp and up and down the woods. It was about 4 p.m. after making another trip around the perimeter, this time about 100 yards from the fence, I flopped down under a pine tree on the edge of the woods  overlooking a lower field. It was here that I realized I was 71 years old.

I think I might have taken a quick nap because when I woke up there was a big buffalo grazing in the grass just below me. I was crawling closer to him to take a photo when all the way on the bottom of the field I saw 3 pigs headed for the swamp. It was getting late and this was the first pigs I saw in my 8 hours of hunting; I had to make my move. When I stood up Mr. Buffalo stared at me and I ran and yelled at him. He never moved, just stood there shaking his head which is not good. I however did move back up into the woods and headed down.

When I neared the swamp I knew I had to hurry and it was then that I learned I could not run like I use to. Two times I fell before I got to the spot in the swamp that I hoped they would come by. On both falls however Henry never hit the ground; just me. I was breathing heavily when I sat down facing where I thought they would come.

Shortly after 6 p.m. I saw movement – 3 pigs on the run at 60-70 yards from me were running through the mix of pines and small saplings. I put the Leupold’s Pig Plex reticle on the last one, pulled back the hammer on the Henry and squeezed off the shot. Immediately I saw bark on a tree fly but also saw the pigs hind hit the ground and get right up – it was a deflected hit. But my next shot was through the shoulders ending my 9 HOURS 20 MINUTE hunt. Mr. Berkshire tipped the scales at 268 pounds. I however on this hunt lost 3 1/2 pounds. I wonder if this was the first Berkshire pig shot in NYS?

If you are looking for a challenging hunt these Berkshires will give you one; but I would suggest getting a buddy to hunt with you so you can put on little drives.( http://eastonviewoutfitters.com/)







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