Hunting Season 2013: Day 20

It's been over a month now since the season ended on February 15th. After being stuck out in the snow overnight, I got home at 8:00, walked and fed the dogs, and slept the sleep of the dead. For four hours. It was the last day of our short 3 month season, and the matter of the injured boar was still gnawing at my conscience.

Baron and I headed out.

Rain had fallen after the snow, leaving the southern tip of the Boso peninsula looking as if it had never snowed at all. We had no trouble getting to our spot, and in we went. A few minutes in Baron gave me the look, moved forward to a large fallen tree, and began baying. 10 meters was all that separated us, but the boar was on the other side of the uprooted bottom end. I tried to sneak around for a shot, but getting through the underbrush took too long, and the boar bolted out the back and into bamboo. I consoled myself that this was not the boar I was looking for anyway.

Further on, perhaps 20 minutes, and Baron moved forward and away. He ran a circular pattern, and then dropped over to the right hand side of the ridge we were on. There was heavy bamboo cover up there. He doubled back on his track, and ran into me as I was making my way to him. Again, he moved back to his spot above a steep slope covered in bamboo. Baron was peering below him, and letting out a low growl. Funny thing was, I could hear the strangest growl replying. I could hardly believe my eyes when I got an inch behind Baron to see what he was looking at, and saw a large boar not 10 meters below. I've never heard a boar growl like that before. It was a low guttural sound mixed with some clicking of his tusks. His bristly mane was on end, and I could make out the white patches on his face, for a moment I looked directly into his eyes.

He was definitely not feeling threatened by Baron at all, and basically seemed to be telling him to take a hike. The bamboo was so thick, that the only spot with a clear view to the boar was directly over Baron, and the slope was so steep that Baron was actually in the way of the shot. I couldn't get him to move, so finally got into awkward form sprawled over him, lined up the sights for a head shot, and pulled the trigger. I expected to see the boar roll immediately, but it disappeared. I swear, every time I miss a shot like that, it's as if the animal is instantly just gone. The only thing that let me know it had been there was the sound of a porcine freight train crashing downhill. I really don't know how I miss shots like this. My laser sight's battery had died, and I hadn't picked up a replacement. Rue.

Baron took off after it, but came back pretty quickly. I had followed for a few hundred meters, but there was no blood trail, and the boar's track was solid. Somehow I missed. Again, I told myself I was looking for a different boar.

Baron and I hunted the rest of the mountain looking for her. We hunted the low areas, and checked all the usual spots, but there was no sign of her or the herd. The sun came and went, we crawled out of the mountain through some nasty brambles and swamp, and the season was over. 20 trips, 11 boar.

My body certainly felt the wear from 3 months of pushing it physically in the mountains, coupled with a lot of plane rides and jet lag. It was an extremely busy season work wise, but it had been a good one. I called the hospital and made an appointment for the next day to have my knees looked at. Year of football, basketball, surfing, snowboarding, hockey, and hunting had taken their toll, and I could hear the fiddler coming to collect.