Though I’ve hog hunted several times I’ve never hunted Texas, never even been to Texas, so when asked by some buddies if I wanted to make a quick trip down south for a long weekend (2000 mile round trip) I thought it sounds a little crazy? Then I asked myself why not? Fighting the ever present signs of aging I don’t want to be the old guy that isn’t up for adventure and fun stuff the young fellas are doing, I said “I’m in!!”
Taking a nice leisurely drive south through Missouri, Arkansas and Texas hitting every Waffle House, BBQ joint and gun shop on the way made the 980+ mile trip fairly relaxing. Upon arriving at the Tall Pines Ranch in Centerville, TX. I thought I was in Minnesota; Pine trees and sand everywhere with lots of timber, it was beautiful. If not for 100 degree days the norm and rattlesnakes galore in the summer, I’d consider living there. We were greeted by friendly 57 degree weather and even friendlier Ranch host Larry, his son Keith and grandson Cole.
Accommodations were what I expected, a nice clean bunkhouse, lodge-house full of mounts and plenty of hunting camp atmosphere. Tall Pines isn’t a massive ranch, it’s between 100-200 acres, still more than I hunt in IL. but not as large as many in Texas. It was much more wooded and thick than I expected but a great place to sit a blind or spot and stalk. If you are going to do all spot and stalk hunting expect to be skunked or at best non-selective on hogs, as they are hauling the mail if you kick one up.
My main motivation on this trip was to spend some quality time with buddies, get out of town for a weekend and soak up some warmer weather. I also wanted to check a few things off a bucket list; visit/hunt Texas, eat some good Texas BBQ and rifle hunt. Having only hunted big game with a bow and muzzleloader I looked forward to putting some of my blued iron to work.
The trip was a success on all accounts, great time, relaxing, fun, amazing food and the hunt was harder than expected, and the spot and stalk aspect left me wanting a tree stand or ground blind. Sitting over feeders and hunting at night with lights was an odd feeling at first but after seeing how skittish the pigs were and how they dart in and out of the brush so quickly I soon found comfort in the set up and settled in. You have the option of hunting many different ways at Tall Pines, and we tried it all.
If you’re looking for a new adventure look Larry up at Tall Pines Exotics of Centerville, TX. It’s not a Rocky Mountain Elk Hunt and it’s not an Illinois Whitetail hunt, but It’s not meant to be, soak up the local atmosphere and appreciate Texas hog hunting for what it is – adrenaline pumping, fast action in an non-conventional (for Illinois boys) hunting methods. It was a great way to put pork in the freezer and see some new land and make new friends. It was a much needed winter break up!!
We averaged two hogs a piece, some got one and some three, but it was up to us how hard and how long we wanted to hunt. Butchering facilities were on site and they had everything you’d need from freezer, walk-in cooler, hoists, knives and everything else. They offer to skin, dress and quarter for $35 a pig but a few of us opted to do our own, most went with Larry’s lighting fast knife work.
The Hogs averaged about 120 lbs. with the smallest 100 and the largest 164 lbs. but should be nice eating size. I quartered one for a hog roast on a BBQ pit sometime this summer and the other I de-boned and ground at home for sausage.
Here is my method for sausage making, feel free to share your own:
I like to mix the seasonings fresh at the time of cooking or a day before, that way I can adjust per the crowd I’m cooking for. My basic breakfast sausage is about a tablespoon and a half of Sage, teaspoon and a half of black pepper, a teaspoon of Lawry’s and a teaspoon of regular table salt. I also add in a shake or two of Paprika or Cayenne depending on how I’ll use the sausage. This recipe varies.
I mix all the seasonings in a mortar and pestle and blend them, then mat the meat out and sprinkle evenly. Later I ball it up and roll it around incorporating all the flavors. You can then cook it or wrap it in plastic wrap overnight and fry up upon request.
Get out and enjoy some Post-Deer season hunting and take a trip and break up the winter,
Until next time, God bless,
Matt Cheever ~ Flatlander