The Luck of the Jaw

By Steve Carruthers

First printed in The Australian Archery Journal, Edition No 4 1992© Australian Bowhunters Journal Pty Limited

He was a nice boar to kick off the trip. A spotty, high shouldered fella arrowed just out of camp in thick lignum. I was on my way to a fairly remote tank about a twenty minute trudge south-west of camp through scattered timber and lignum.

Some fairly ominous looking clouds rolled overhead, threatening my plans for a full moon hunt that night. The area had copped a bit of a pounding recently. The cocky just south of here had poisoned a few weeks back. The bloke to the north had been mustering for three weeks and the local boom-boom brigade had been taking advantage of the dry conditions since the pig chillers had re-opened. Still I was fairly confident of finding a few cagey old hogs concentrated in this relative haven amongst all the activity.

I snuck in the last hundred metres to the tank trying to spook as few of the four million 'roos parading in for a drink as possible. In the last half hour of light a few mobs of hogs came in but there wasn't anything amongst them worth arrowing. A pig is a pig you are probably saying. I suppose it depends upon whether you want a photo album chocka-block with sows and slips or a few quality pages displaying mean old fellas that took a bit of the old mind matter to procure.

Critter arrowed from about 30 metres with a quartering away heart shot. Slowed this fella down fairly well.

Of course, in this game as in most others there's an apprenticeship involved. Everyone cuts their teeth on sows and such. But if I'd spent the arvo stomping scent all over the area, peppering shafts at any hog that happened by, the old warrior that was now nosing his way over the bank wouldn't have come within cooee of the place. While he slid down on his side for a wallow I worked around the back of the bank towards him. I nearly blew it when a nuggety little spotty boar appeared out of nowhere. He walked past at about five metres, the breeze was good and he continued on down to the water without spooking the big fella

The sun was down by now but the full moon shining through breaks in the cloud kept things workable. I was kneeling about twenty metres out when he stood and offered a broadside shot. I lined up on that sweet spot just above centre, back towards his short ribs. There's a lot less pad and bone there but still plenty of lung and liver to carve up. From my hunting buddies and my own experiences we've found one hundred percent of big boars hit nice and tight behind the shoulder feel a great deal of shock from the arrow punching into pad gristle and heavy ribs. They put their heads down and go like the powers of hell. If you do get decent penetration it's a good quick kill, but over that short period it may take even a double lung hit to take effect and he'll be going flat out leaving little if any blood trail. Finding him in a lignum maze or marsh is then a pretty daunting task. We've had a lot more success placing our shots towards the back of the lungs, liver area. The boar feels less shock as the broadhead slides through lighter tissue and nine times out of ten the shot will be a pass through and he'll wander off instead of bolting.

First boar for the trip, he was up and about fairly early in the afternoon due to the heavy cloud.
John Wall and Bruno Fryda know hogs better than anyone, and have arrowed more of them than most bow hunters have paper pigs, you can't argue with that sort of experience eh! The arrow punched through him and out into the water, a touch lower than I'd have liked though. He trotted out to about forty metres and stood with his nose in the air. The white fletching of my second shaft seemed to disappear into the same hole. Meanwhile there was a big ruckus up ahead, a couple of good boars were getting stuck into each other amongst a mob of about a dozen. My boar wandered in amongst them.

The boss hog took offence to this and crabbed up to him, hackles up and jaw- poppin'. Luckily, both shafts had gone clear through, otherwise the others would have got a sniff and bolted, taking him with them.

I was a bit puzzled when the agro boar broke off and tried to mount him! My fella was pretty hard hit and wasn't going much further so I stuck a shaft up the other blokes nether regions, he went didn't appreciate it and started clicking his tusks together just ten metres away no cover either . I don't mind saying I was fairly concerned (our word)! There were hogs everywhere and I didn't want to spook them and put these fellas into top gear before they dropped.

If you are in good hog country, leaving sows and bedding areas undisturbed will work to your advantage by keeping dominant boars in your area.
The cloudy night was making things hard so I jammed an arrow into the ground and backed out of there. Next morning I picked up the shaft in my binoculars, shining in the soft dawn light. There was a big black log next to it that I didn't recall being there from the night before. There's no possible way I said aloud, still sixty metres away. But there he was, less than a metre away from my arrow, a big, very dead, very toothy boar! On closer inspection I found out he was a barrow, that explained the other boars actions from the night before. He had six full sets of well worn molars and a big lump protruding well back on each side of his jaw bone. Those lumps could only mean one thing and sure enough after wrestling the tusks out there was another six inches inside to add to the three hanging out -thirty points.

The hooks were an exact match for a set I took on my last trip, also a barrow. As a couple of mates who live out that way would say I was quite lucky. By the way, his blood trail showed he'd stood amongst the feeding pigs and then circled back to die right next to my arrow. Spooky eh.

Another six boars dropped over the next few days, One being a joint effort with Johnny Wall. We were whistling for foxes along the river when a large boar stood up at the end of a box thorn briar . We were still hunting between whistling positions, we must have both seen him at the same time, John on one side of the briar and me on the other. I sent one into his ribs, he spun around and another silent shaft slammed into his ribs from John's side.

We were pretty lucky to find him really, he'd charged off into a paddock of dry rape nearly two metres high.

Thirty point boar arrowed on a full moon hunt.
John stumbled onto him, man was he old, the pig that is, both tusks rotted down to black stumps, his pad over three centimetres thick and all scarred up. A bit of a contrast to the squeaky clean barrow. Both shafts had punched through his pad only three centimetres apart, not a bad way to end a trip.