Carnitas in the Crosshairs

Hoss Hog Ranch covers some good pig terrain in the hills west of Maxwell

Hoss Hog Ranch covers some good pig terrain in the hills west of Maxwell

I was working away on the computer when another new email notice popped up in the upper right corner of my screen. Only glancing at it, since work-related emails ding away all day, it took a second for it to register that it wasn’t from a client. It was from California Waterfowl Association.

Some months before, I had entered the CWA hunt program lottery that gives away waterfowl, dove, turkey, and pig hunts on private lands and at prestigious clubs through a fund-raising program, with the support of local landowners and outfitters. Like most contests I enter, I forgot all about it. Not having a lucky gene, they usually stay that way. But this time, amazingly, the email congratulated me on the fact that one of my four chances, which cost me a whopping four bucks apiece, had borne fruit! Or should I say, pork?


To collect my “prize” I needed to head to Hoss Hog Adventures, located in the hills an hour or so north of Sacramento. After a nice winding drive to the ranch Friday afternoon, I joined other CWA member winners. I’ve hunted pigs before, several times, so it was fun to see the first-time excitement in the others, especially the kids. There was a lot of talk of trophy boars, but having already put a toothy beast on my wall – and eaten him – I was there for a meat pig. Period.

Early the next evening, after much up and down hiking of the rolling ranch and pig-scouting by me and my trusty guide, I took up a promising position underneath some oaks just uphill from a water tank. Sure enough, an hour later, squeals, grunts, and moving brush signaled that pigs were making their way there, to enjoy a little drink and mud bath near the tank. Now, pigs are easily distracted, and seem to need to conference a lot with each other on their way to any place. So it was probably another twenty minutes before they covered the 50 yards from where they first ruffled brush down in a dry creek bed to where the first snout poked out close to the tank. Knowing that if this small herd of boisterous young pigs crowded up it would prevent a shot, I quickly put the rifle up and as soon as the leader was all the way out of the brush and in the crosshairs, I fired.

Pig down.

A trophy for the table, not the wall, and the round that brought him down.

A trophy for the table, not the wall, and the round that brought him down.

The perfect pig; young, fat, just slightly bigger and meatier than the other four that stood staring at him a few moments before scuttling back into the brush they’d come from. I kept the rifle on him for some time, watching him through the scope for any sign of movement, just in case. But he was down for good, the .300 WSM 180 grain bullet having done a thorough job. After (what always feels like) an eternity, I got up and walked down to see him up close and claim my prize.

Yes, the perfect pig. His quartered down carcass later registered 61 my local butcher, Archer’s. About two weeks later I collected the expertly made chops, roasts, sausage, and other cuts, grabbing a picnic roast from the heavy bag before dropping it in the big freezer. That roast went in the crock pot with herbs and spices, filling the kitchen with the richest, most delicious aroma for 10 hours. And that night, we feasted on pulled pork. As always, and as only hunters know, there was the rich and exotic taste of adventure in every bite.


~ by SpeakingZenaphorically on January 19, 2014.

7 Responses to “Carnitas in the Crosshairs”

  1. Nice job!!!!!! I love carnitas! LOL!

  2. My wife’s going to love this 🙂

  3. I should not have read those last sentences…1am and now I have to go eat something…:)

  4. I just read this article…months now after you told me about it. I’m so proud of my big bro…sniff…now I am hungry too!!!

  5. Thanks bro

  6. […] “” This entry was tagged Carnitas, Crosshairs. Bookmark the […]

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