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‘Bagging Oinkers with My .41 Magnum and Crossbow’...

As promised in my last article, I took my Ruger .41 Magnum handgun and my Excalibur Equinox crossbow to the woods in search of “oinkers.”

I wanted to go to a place that guaranteed me a shot opportunity – as long as I could do my job. That place is Tiger Island Outfitters in Cedar Key, Fla., which is world-renowned for having lots of wild hogs.

I called my buddy Crichton Allen, owner of Tiger Island Outfitters, and asked if he had an open date when I could enjoy his hospitality and have some fun harvesting wild hogs. After a little catching up, he gave me some open dates, and I was booked up for another great time.

I called a couple of my buddies and found two that were interested in making the trip with me. Then came the hard part – waiting for the day to arrive.

When it finally did, I headed to Tiger Island Outfitters to help rid Florida of its wild boar problem and picked up my buddies Steve Schwader and Minton Rose on the way.

We arrived around daylight and, as usual, Brian Pritchard and Crichton Allen met us at the gate with smiles and a handshake. After a few minutes, we put on our boots, loaded our guns, got my bow ready and hopped on the golf cart for a ride to the hunting area.

I have been to Tiger Island several times before, and each time brings more excitement than the last. Having been there before, I knew exactly where I wanted to hunt in hopes of bagging a wild boar with my Excalibur crossbow and another with my Ruger .41 Magnum handgun.

We headed for a real nice ground blind that I had visited on my last hunt. With a wide opening looking right toward a feeder, I knew I would be comfortable making a show with my crossbow.

Steve was the first to slip off of the golf cart when he saw a real nice 200-pound-plus sow heading through the brush. He was packing his .30-06, and we all knew he was a “one-shot” guy, so when we heard him shoot, we knew he had his quarry.

Steve was not far from my stand, so I slipped out and headed in his direction to find him standing over a nice sow.

Not long after I got there, Brian and Joey Henderson loaded the sow on the cart and headed back to the camp, while I headed back to my blind. Minton had taken up in another blind a few hundred yards from me. Unlike hunting in the wild, the wait is usually not long at Tiger Island Outfitters.

I scoped out the area and found several shooting lanes. With the aid of my range finder, I noted the distances to each so I would be ready with my bow or handgun when the moment came.

Peering out of my blind, I saw quite a bit of movement all around me, but the several hogs I spotted were located just out of range of my crossbow.

When I got tired of watching pigs staying just out of my comfortable bow range, I decided to see just how effective the Ruger Redhawk could be. I saw a few hogs easing down a trail about 60 yards away, headed for an opening I had already scoped out.

I rested the Ruger on the shooing rail and was ready when they gave me a clear shot. With the hammer back, I slowly applied pressure to the trigger. With a big bang, my 210-grain Hornady XTP bullet flew downrange and hit home. I was aiming for a little spot just below the ear, and even with my not-so-good shooting ability, the handgun and bullet managed to find my target. One shot – one harvested wild hog!

With that big bang, I was sure it would be a while before I had a chance with my bow, so I called Brian to come and pick up my first pig.

A few minutes after Brian and Joey carried my hog back to camp, I heard another loud “BOOM!” It was Minton getting some fine pork for his freezer when a few pigs strayed a little too close to his blind for their own good.

Steve had his, Minton had his, and I needed one with my crossbow, so I decided to do what I had enjoyed for many years while in my youth – stalking.

I went ahead and cocked my Excalibur crossbow and slipped a bolt tipped with a new broadhead with a 3-inch (Yes, a 3-inch!) cutting head. This was the new F.O.C. 2-blade 170-grain mechanical broadhead from New Archery Products (NAP).

F.O.C. stands for “Freaking Outrageous Cut,” and that is exactly what is does. These broadheads showed up a few days prior to my trip, so I had plenty of range time to be sure they performed as advertised.

After several shots, I was impressed with the accuracy from my bow. They come three to the pack with a couple of practice points that NAP claims will shoot just like the broadheads.

But, those of you that know me, know I wanted to see for myself. After I shot the practice points enough to have them dialed-in, I screwed in a broadhead. Now I was shooting less than a 1-inch group at 40 yards with the practice points and expected the broadhead to hit the same mark as the practice tips.

I cocked the bow, leaned up against the same rest as with the other shots, found the 1/2-inch circle I had been shooting at and slowly squeezed the trigger. The arrow flew in the direction of the target and right in the hole from a previous shot with a practice tip.

I guess NAP was on the money with their field-point accuracy claim. It is nice to have a product that performs as the manufacturer claims. With accuracy like this, I was ready for whatever I stumbled up on.

I walked around for a little while chasing a group of hogs, but every time I thought I had a shot, they decided to move. After chasing this group around for a while, I decided to head for the swamp. I took up a place that had a nice limb laying up against a tree, giving me cover and a great rest for the bow.

Not long after getting comfortable, I saw movement heading in my direction. Like in the other blind, I had scoped out all of the open areas and ranged them so I would be ready for my opportunity when it came.

They were headed right for me, and if I had calculated correctly, they would turn about 25 yards from me and head down the trail, giving me a broadside shot. I was pretty sure I wanted one in the 100-pound class or smaller (these are the tastiest). Tiger Island does have wild boars in the 250- to 300-pound class, but I was after a nice, tender, young one.

As I expected, they came within 25 yards and turned right, giving me a clear broadside shot. As the second one entered the opening, I took aim, and with slow, steady pressure on the Excalibur’s trigger, the bolt hit my aim point.

Immediately the hog bolted for the thick cover. I watched closely as he ran not more than 30 feet before expiring due to the massive wound caused by the F.O.C. broadhead. I headed for the hog with Ruger drawn, just in case, but the Excalibur bow and the F.O.C. broadhead had made short work of him.

After we got it back to the camp, I could not believe the size of the hole the F.O.C. had made. Whoever named this broadhead sure gave it the right name. I had accomplished everything I had set out to do, and now it was time to head back to the house after yet another successful hunt at Tiger Island Outfitters.

If you would like to enjoy some of this fun, call Crichton at 352-543-0851. If you don’t have a bow, they will even supply one for you to use.

Shoot straight, shoot safe, and remember: If all firearms were treated as if they were loaded, there would be no more accidental shootings.

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Jim Hammond has had some sort of gun in his hand since he was 5 years old. He started with a Daisy BB gun as a small boy, and with careful instruction from his very safety-minded father, has become a skilled and knowledgeable shooter now willing to share his knowledge and experience as he has FUN SHOOTING. “Safety first and everything else will follow.”