with Claude Hyde, who has a comfortable camp in Horse Pen Gap near the top of Hooper's Bald Mountain. Twenty-three of us were in the party, from at least six states. We hunted four days, bagged three wild boars and 1 bear. Claude Hyde (% Graham Furniture Co., Robbinsville, N. C.) is a dandy source to contact to get lined up for one of these open area hunts on the North Carolina side. Other local hunters have camps and dogs—if Claude can't accommodate, he will put sportsmen in touch with someone who can.
The managed hunts are usually during late October and early November, and are of three days duration with two days of actual hunting. For both types of hunts the rales, including guides with dogs, board and lodging, licenses and permits, are as reasonable as for any other kind of big game hunting anywhere in the United States.
This is one of the most thrilling types of hunting available to American sportsmen today. The transplanted Prussian wild boars are dangerous "critters." This does not mean that they roam around through the mountains attacking everything that moves in front of them, but it does mean that when they are cornered or hard pressed by dogs their tempers get hair-triggery and they get ready to use their razor-sharp tusks if they have to. A mad boar, held at bay by a bawling pack of dogs, is an unpredictable critter. All of a sudden he (or she—the sows are also fierce) may savagely charge the dogs or any hunter in sight. When one does, about the only way to stop him is with a high powered rifle bullet, or a rifled slug from a shotgun. And the shooting had better be accurate, to a vital spot, because a wounded wild boar is more dangerous than one not wounded.
Guns and loads for wild boar hunting are very important. Your pet scope-sighted long range deer and antelope rifle won't do. Such a rig will clobber a boar or bear all right, but in the mountain brush most of the shots come at close range, 50 yards or less, so the long range scope-sighted rigs are really out of place.
The guides themselves practically all use short saddle type carbines in .30-30 caliber, shooting 170 grain softpoint bullets, and a good share of the mountain hunters who do not follow the hounds use 12 gauge shotguns and rifled slug loads. These combinations are deadly on the boars at close range. The shotguns with rifled slugs carry up to 40 yards, and the .30-30's up to 100 yards. The short saddle type carbines are built to take a lot of abuse, are handy to get around with through underbrush while climbing up and down mountains, and they pack sufficient wallop to do the job. Those tough old mountain guides use a rawhide string for a sling strap, and the carbines they carry soon get scratched and beat up to where they look like junk iron. But they will still clobber the wild boars and black bears and that is what really counts with the guides. Only rarely do the guides make a kill themselves. When they do have to make one to save the valuable skins of dogs or hunters they want a gun adequate to do the job and, also, one that will not wear them out to lug around.
Wild boar hunters planning to do most of their hunting from stands can get by just fine with practically any gun and load com-
binalion good for deer and bear in other parts of the country. This is one type of big game limiting where scope sights are out of place (in most cases), but a wide variety of rifle calibers will fill the bill. Among these are .30-06. .270, .35, .32 Special, .30-30, .308, and various other similar calibers. As for shotguns (using rifled slug loads) nothing smaller than 12 gauge should be used. Bullet weight for the high powered rifles should range between 150 and 200 grains, in all cases with softpoint bullets.
Rifle type for this particular kind of hunting is largely a matter of personal preference. The bolt actions and lever actions are a bit slower to operate for most shooters than the pumps and auto-loaders, but on the other hand they are usually somewhat more sure and dependable. The average hunter can put a lot of hot lead into a charging animal with a boll or lever action rifle, and it has been my personal experience that they are somewhat less apl lo malfunction than the pumps or auto-loaders.
A wild boar's brain is small, and deeply protected behind thick, tough skin and a lot of bone. The heart area is also small and, from a side angle, protected by the fore-shoulders. A lung shot near the heart will usually kill a boar, but if hit in the lungs he may be able to do damage before falling dead. For quick, telling effect a spinal shot is probably the best of all. On the North Carolina hunt [ examined a 285-pound boar thai one shot from a .30-30 rifle stopped dead in his tracks. The bullet centered the spine just back of the foreshoulders, and right tlicn and there the big tusker went down for keeps.
During the 1958 hunts in Tennessee, one hunter and several dogs got slashed by charging boars. It took quite a few stitches to close up the ugly wound left in the hunter's leg. Not a single Tennessee party failed to get one or more boars during the 1958 season, and there were really some hair-raising hunts.
The hunts usually start at dawn, with the guide heading for the previously located boar feeding grounds with the dogs on leash. Any member or members of the party feeling like they can squirrel up and down rugged calface mountains all day are welcome to go along with the guide and his helper. But take a tip from one who has tried it, this going can get plenty tough. I pooped out before noon, and I am pretty well toughened to reasonably rugged hunting.
The guide will have other helpers who will direct various members of the parly to stands along known boar and bear runs. Do what they say because they have hunted the mountain wilderness long enough to know what they are doing. And they would rather one of their customers would get a boar or bear, than not get one. Part of their bread and butter conies from putting on successful hunts.
Either wild boar or black bear may be taken on most of these hums, but for most of the out-of-state hunters the main altraction is the hoars. If the dogs, mostly hounds, succeed in starting a boar in or near the feeding grounds, the members of the party on stands will get to hear some chase music deluxe. If members of the party are trying to follow the guide, and his helpers who invariably follow through after the dogs, and they have enough of what it takes to keep up with the guides, then their chances of getting a shot al a bayed boar will be improved. The standers take ihe chance of a boar being chased past, within gun range of their stands, or one of the critters coming to bay within hearing of their stand. If such happens, the stander is supposed to head for the spot as fast as possible, approach the actual scene of action cautiously, and if a clear shot presents itself, try to make it good. Shots from stands will usually be at running animals.
Clothing and equipment for these hunts need not be anything fancy. The weather is usually chilly enough for long-handled underwear and medium weight outer clothes if one plans to stay on a stand. It is a good idea to take along an outfit a little bil on the lightweight side, plus a change to something medium heavy. Here, as everywhere else, weather is variable and unpredictable.
So there you have it—the how-to of wild boar hunting in the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina, and the next step of course is for you to start planning one of these thrilling hunts.
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Deer hunting is an interesting thing that reminds you of those golden old ages of 19th centuries, where a handsome hunk well equipped with all hunting material rides on horse searching for his target animal either for the purpose of displaying his masculine powers or for enticing and wooing his lady love.