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Hog Heaven

Tue, February 03, 2015

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


You are making me drool! We are headed to Texas in a couple weeks for the national pond boss convention and going to try and hog hunt on the way down!! Gonna bring an insulated fish hauling tank to tranport the meat!

Posted by Nate on February 03

That was a nice article to break up the monotony.  Good to read about something a little different.

Posted by bw on February 04

I’d rather hunt hogs than deer any day and javelinas are twice as fun as hogs. Javelinas are a cool animal

Posted by yellowstone on February 04

Matt,  Do you mind if I ask what does a trip like this cost?  Also, what caliber gun do they recommend?  Thanks and it looked like a great trip!

Posted by GalenaBob on February 05

No GB don’t mind at all….. it was $150 for the first hundred pounds and a dollar a pound after that, I hunted until I got two hogs, and it was $75 for two nights and all meals…..insanely cheap for what we got, ATE LIKE KINGS!!  my bill was $412 for the weekend, my portion of the gas was $133 (total split 4 ways, two vehicles)  I ended up with four pork loins, two packs of inner loins, four whole quarters for a hog roast, back of pork strip steak, 8 racks of ribs and about 24lbs. of ground pork, IMO a very good deal, the service was spectacular so we tipped pretty well too, don’t forget that!!!  The .45-70 was PLENTY wink the .30-30 was good, any caliber really…...locals like to use AR’s .223, I’d think that’d be a little light if not perfect shot…..so I like a .243 minimum…..any 30 call is good, most used .308’s lever guns are perfect for the fast action, scoped guns are a must to properly see the night hunts, so I took two options…..  tons of fun, and a good meat trip too

Posted by Flatlander on February 05

Ohhh, and the $48 for Texas Non-Res. 5 day hunting lics.

Posted by Flatlander on February 05

Fun read matt!!!And some awesome eating…..

Posted by WhitetailFreak on February 05

OK Matt one more question…  Are these actually wild hogs or are these pen raised hogs that they release?  I hope this isn’t a dumb question.  I have never hog hunted and it sounds like a great time.

Thanks again for all of the information you provided.  Sounds like you and your buddies had a blast!

Posted by GalenaBob on February 06

No worries GB, from what I understand the hogs are trapped as a nuisance on larger acreage ranches across the state, they are then sold to a Medium sized ranch in this case who also disperses them to a smaller ranch like what we hunted…... the beauty of it is the trapper gets paid, the rancher gets free of a problem, the medium size rancher gets a little profit to the smaller guy who then makes some money off room and boar/meals and can provide a nice weekend hunt that is accessible and affordable for many.  the down size is you aren’t hunting a 5000 acre ranch and hiking for days on end looking for quarry like in the Rockies…..but it is still hunting ans wasn’t easy on a stalk.  The reason hogs are brought in to smaller ranches is large populations would devastate the habitat so they need to turn over the hogs regularly as they eat up every last bight of vegetation and root horribly…........hope this helps…... no doubt wild strain hogs though, you’ll find no bacon on them, most had good tusks, super long back hair and tiny rear hams with huge front shoulders….all characteristics of wild hogs

Posted by Flatlander on February 06

sorry for horrible typing and grammar, fat fingers bad eyes…...wink
BTW if you wonder how wild they are? they will charge you if they feel cornered .....guy a week before us got knocked down by one and I had one come much closer than i’d like…....keeps it interesting.  A good note on hog hunting, it’s not that hard to get up on any wild hog compared to a deer but hard to get a shot, they either face you or turn away…...broadside standing still shots should be taken quickly

Posted by Flatlander on February 06

There is no such thing as enough hogs to cause as much damage as cattle.  People hunt in cattle pastures and think nothing of it but are scared to death of hogs taking over. The whole hog scare is overhyped nonsense.

Posted by yellowstone on February 06

I’ll have to agree to disagree Yellowstone, i’ve seen what six cattle do to 25 acres and I’ve seen what six hogs do to 25 acres in a years time. Cattle will eat the plants down and rain will bring them back, Hogs root the plant up killing it turning up tilled soil exposing dormant weed seeds and will devastate the land….. that being said I’m no big cattle fan, nor against them, people gotta eat, I just prefer to find meat myself.  I can only speak for the Midwest as well, haven’t seen enough of Texas to make judgement, but I do have several friends that have moved to Texas in the last year or two and their assessment of the wild hog is in line with vegetation damage

Posted by Flatlander on February 09

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