Wild Boar Hunt Answered
This past weekend, Christy and I went a on wild boar hunt near Red Bluff, CA. We used a local guide called Catch 'Em Outfitters, and had one of the best weekend-vacations in a long time. In the end, we came home with over 100 lbs of wild pig meat.
Christy had a blast gutting and field dressing all the animals -- surprising the guides -- and we've spent the past few days processing the meat ourselves making hams, chops, and sausage. There will definitely be a few new wild boar recipes, but probably no how to hunt or how to field dress a pig Instructables, unfortunately.
Since most of our friends have read Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and paid special attention to his description of a boar hunt, they have already started begging for meat. So far, I've made wild boar maple sausage, which, despite my feeling that it was a little too one-note with just maple syrup, still received a review of "I was not ready for how good that was going taste."
There are more pictures of the hunt on my flickr collection of the weekend, but be aware that they show the full process of converting an animal to meat on the table.
What follows below is my Yelp review of the hunting guide, and the experience in general:
Catch 'Em Outfitters is a hunting guide service, and because of the extraordinary work of its owner, Jasen Mead, I brought home over 100 pounds of wild pig meat.
I chose Catch 'Em because of Jasen's excitement to take a novice hunter out, and his willingness to let me use his rifles. I've hunted birds before, but for my first wild boar hunt, it was important for me to go with someone who was interested in teaching. Additionally, he encouraged my wife to come along as a non-hunter, and she ended up gutting the animals.
He offered my choice of spot and stalk hunting -- where one tries to locate hogs with binoculars and local knowledge of where they might be feeding and bedding down -- or fair chase -- using well-trained dogs to find, flush out, and potentially hold down pigs. During my hunt, I had opportunities to fire at large boars using both methods.
Catch 'Em offered as many as two morning hunts and one evening hunt for me to get a pig. As a novice, it took me all three times, but Jasen and his assistant, Ron Stone (who is also a fishing guide) never lost enthusiasm, and I'm pretty sure they stayed out longer and worked harder because they were so determined for me to have a successful first hunt. However, they were very clear in their understanding of the law, and had a firm set of ethics around hunting and conservation in general, so I felt comfortable that we were always doing the right thing from a variety of different perspectives. Bear hunting is Jasen's primary guiding business, and apparently his favorite type of hunt, but you'd never know it by the way he threw himself into my pig hunt. It's clear he just loves hunting, and teaching new people.
Obviously, much of the preparation for a hunt like this falls on you: taking the hunters safety class, learning to handle firearms safely and accurately, getting all your documents in order (I bought two pig tags, and was glad I did because I used them both), and being prepared to run full-speed through ankle-deep mud in head-high tule marshes. Finding a good hunting guide is definitely chief among those set of preparations, and Catch 'Em totally delivered for me.