We wanted to learn as much as we could about the life and behavior of these hogs from direct experience, as well as multiple hunting styles to try to be effective hunters in the differing conditions that our landscape and climate offers.
We did a lot of hiking, and were able to watch and interact with hogs a number of times. We also did a fair bit of trailing, following their tracks until we can sneak up on them in their bed, which we were able to do once. As Preston said, conditions were challenging and kept us pushing our edges trying to work out where a particular hog or group of hogs had gone, as well as making moving through the leaf litter noisy. We all got to experience our 'edge' while trailing. That point where we don't think we can stay on the trail, and a part of us wants to quit.
Folks got to be out in the woods every day before first light and watch and hear the land come alive. We got to be out each night until full dark trying to sneak up on and watch hogs going about their lives.
A few times folks got to within traditional bow range of hogs and got to experience what that is like, and how difficult it is to do. And even if you do, you may not get a good shot as the hog just doesn’t turn and show it’s broadside, or there’s a bit of brush between you.
From crawling around in thick brush to visit bedding areas, to finding out which areas the hogs were frequenting, we got to see a lot of sign, including, feeding, birthing, scent marking, wallowing, traveling, and sleeping. We visited one freshly used bed and were talking about the place when Preston noticed tiny baby hog tracks there in the dust. We snuck down on a huge hollow redwood tree where it’s known that often a big boar is inside sleeping.
We got to see track and sign of many other animals as well. We had a great afternoon on the river looking at fox, bobcat, coyote, hog, newt, mouse, various birds and ducks, and the trail of a big male mountain lion. It was quite the spot with so many animals moving through. It got our imaginations going and wondering how often they meet up and what that looks like.
Folks did a fair bit of shooting bows and arrows, and we had fun challenging ourselves to do tricky shots and shooting a long distance. There were some fairly experienced archers in the group, and I think with Prestons and Veltons archery knowledge, we all learned something.