In retrospect, I feel pretty good about most of my decisions regarding this hunt:
- I chose the right species for a first-time hunt. Hogs have no season restrictions in my home state, which meant I could prepare myself for the hunt without having to rush within the constraints of a fixed season. I was ready when I went on this hunt.
- I picked an area close enough to home to drive to. Simplified travel, and no hassles with guns and airlines.
- I think I made a wise move in deciding to go on a guided hunt. Hunting is (and should be) hard work, and I needed someone to show me the ropes my first time out. For that matter, I probably would do well to use guides at times in the future.
- I chose the right gun for the job. My Ruger .44 Carbine had plenty of punch for a shorter-range shot, and was easy to carry and handle in the somewhat-difficult terrain I was in.
There are a couple of things that I’d do differently, though:
- I think I’d revisit my selection of bullet style. It has been over a year since this hunt, and I’m still trying to figure out why my first shot didn’t inflict more damage on my target. I’ve heard how tough hogs can be in the shoulder area. My current thought is that the bullet hit a bone, and glanced off, traveling under the skin for a couple of feet before exiting. So, the next time I go hog hunting, I’m going to give serious consideration to using a solid bullet, for superior penetration.
- This was my first and last hunt using open sights. To my eyes, there is just no substitute for a quality scope. Shortly after this hunt, I put a Leupold fixed-magnification scope on this carbine and I’m sure it will serve me well.
All in all, the entire experience was very exciting and satisfying. I can’t wait to do it again. There are several species (deer, elk, moose, black bear) I’d like to tackle at some point, and this was a good “training hunt” for whatever I do in the future.