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by James Swidryk a.k.a. jamesfromjersey Last updated: 2009-02-17 12:58:09
Tioga Hunting Preserve
There is nothing better for a city boy to do on a cold winter weekend then to hunt for boar, especially when its the largest one he has ever taken ( this story was written before I wrote "my best boar" article ). We arrived at Tioga hunting ranch located in north-central Pennsylvania a few miles south of the New York state border on Friday the 19th of January 2007. My friend John and I gathered our weapons and went straight to Tioga's 100yds shooting range. He sighted in my Dan Wesson 744 stainless 44mag with an 8" barrel topped with a Redfield 2-6X scope.I was shooting a blue finish Ruger Redhawk with a 7 1/2" barrel and iron sights. Winchester Supreme 44mag ammo, with a 250gr partition, gave me 3" groups at 50yds off the bench. The 50yd factory specs for this ammo is a velocity of 1132fps along with 711 ft-lbs of energy. I also sighted my scoped Freedom Arms 454 using Hornady`s 300gr XTP-MAG ammo at 100yds that grouped at 3" to 4". I was now ready for the hunt that was to start at sunrise of the next day.
The lodge awoke to the smell fresh coffee and a delicious breakfast of pancakes,eggs and boar sausage along with the normal talk of what each hunter wanted to take and what guns they were going to use.It was great to see that some of the hunters brought their sons along for their first hunting experience. After breakfast our guides had us load up our gear to take us to one of their three hunting areas that Tioga offers. John and I were teamed up with our guide Mike and we began a quiet walk into the hunting area that varied from brushy flats crossed by streams to small rocky hills with large areas of hardwoods dotted with ponds created from years of boar wallowing in the mud. John had his heart set on a black Hawaiian which our guide had patterned to the area we were now still hunting. As luck would have it Mike spotted some movement about 75yds away and after glassing the area determined that it held two good rams, a Corsican and a black Hawaiian. There was plenty of cover that allowed both of them to move to within 40yds giving John time to make a good one shot kill on his ram. He used Hornady's 240gr XTP ammo to drop his trophy.
The rest of the morning was spent looking for a good tender meat boar that I promised my sister who knows how to grill a pig. We were almost ready to break for lunch when I spotted a lone boar working its way up the hill. The boar did not know we were there allowing me time to get in a good position with my 44 Redhawk. I settled the gun on my knees and aligned the front and rear sights on the front shoulder of the boar. The distance was about 20yds when I squeezed the trigger... At the shot the boar skidded on his nose into a drainage ditch when I put another partition into him for a finish. The 250gr bullet did a tremendous amount of damage before exiting on a broadside double lung shot. The hog was gutted and the guide radioed for pick up by one of the all-terrain vehicles that make things a little easier for the hunter.
We returned to the lodge for a fantastic lunch of chopped steak with mashed potatoes and gravy. The temperature that day hovered in the low 20's with a stiff north-westerly wind that really made your hunger level increase and made the food all the more tastier. After a good cup of coffee all the hunters made there way out to the meat shed where their trophies were being skinned and quartered.Congratulations and handshakes were plenty as the stories of that mornings successful hunts were told and re-told. I was open as to what animal I would try for next as long as it was a good representation of that species. After 30 minutes or so of still hunting we spotted a decent Corsican ram with wide horns as I closed to around 40 yards and made a quarter-toward shot on the left shoulder. The ram made a short run and fell over dead. The .45 caliber 300 grain XTP did the job perfectly.
After taking the ram I asked my guide if there were any really big boar on the ranch and he answered that there was a 300 plus pound hog that had not been seen in over a week. Mike radioed for another guide to help us cover more ground so I could have a go at him before the sun got to low in the horizon. We split up and after an hour or so of beating the bush Mike jumped the boar from where he was bedded down and tried to trail him. The boar soon lost him but as luck would have it he made a circle and came back to Mike's position.He radioed me his location and I made my way along the side of a large snow covered hill that kept me from being seen by the boar. I saw Mike in the distance and he gave me hand signals to stay low as I made my way to him. As I crested the ridge he pointed to a large pile of blown down trees. There in the trees was the boar using his snout to move the snow in his search for food. The distance was near 75yds which I had to close to have any chance of a shot in that mess of branches. The wind was in my favor as I made my way on the hard snow pack until I was 30 or so yards away.
Sitting with my back against a tree I rested my 454 across my knees and with my scope set on 4X I put the crosshair on his neck as the shoulder was blocked by branches. I slowly squeezed the trigger and when the gun went off the boar crashed through the branches in my direction until he made a sharp left turn. Leading him to account for his speed, I tried to keep the scope on the front of his shoulder as I fired two more shots. To my surprise he ran about 10 more yards before falling over with all fours pointing to the sky and by the time I reached him the show was over. This was the largest boar I've ever taken with a live weight of just over 325lbs. As he was being skinned I was able to see what toll my shooting had taken. My first shot had hit along side the neck and traveled in the fat layer under the skin stopping along side the lungs. He probably would have recovered from this shot if it was the only one I made. My second was the running broadside shot that hit behind the left shoulder and going through both lungs before stopping under the skin of the right side. The third hit in front of the left rear leg and was lost in the gut pile. If you place the bullet in the right place,those 300gr XTP-MAG's can do the job.
After a warm shower and another good meal I fell into my bunk for a night of much needed rest. At 56 years of age my hunting gets a little harder with each new season, however, each new hunt is better then the last. Thank God for wild boar...
Note: this article was written a little over 2 years ago (feb 15,2009) and was lost in the mess of my reloading room. In the time since I wrote this I listed the article entitled "My Best Boar" which is the largest I've ever taken.
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