When I was in the army, I learned that I should “never” volunteer for everything, but when the New York State Outdoor Writers Association asked me if I could supply the main ingredients of the Saturday evening dinner at our Spring Safari at Peck’s Lake, I could not refuse.
I made a quick call to Dave Vanderzee, owner of Easton View Outfitters in Valley Falls, to help us, and he generously donated one of his Eurasian boars. Having hunted boar often, I knew they are smart and crafty, but this particular one turned out to be quite a challenge.
When I arrived at the ranch, Easton View guide Jim Tucker told me that the two boars roaming the 200-plus acres had been there for quite some time and were educated on how to avoid hunters and knew how to hide.
What also excited me about this hunt was that it would be my first hunt with my .308 DPMS modern sporting rifle. Knowing that it consistently shot sub-one-inch groups at 100 yards, if I missed, it would not be the gun’s fault. Once inside the preserve, it was just me and the boar.
The ranch has a 2.5-mile circumference, so I decided to start low and make my way all around through what turned out to be a boot-pulling-off swamp that put me in the mud face-first. Fortunately, I was able to keep the gun out of the mud.
No boar sighting on the first time around, and on the second, I went around halfway up into the hilly woods and brush — nothing.
The third time, I covered the high ledges at the top of the woods and then dropped down to check out some of the heavy brush along the main field. Exhausted, I sat down and called Jim, who said I needed a second set of eyes and joined me. We began in the swamp, and again a boot got stuck in the mud, and again I found myself in the mud. I don’t think we missed poking a brush pile on this whole 200 acres.
When we got back to the fields, there were several hundred yards of very heavy bushes that I had checked thoroughly before, or so I thought.
It was about 10 yards wide, and Jim took one side and I the other and we slowly sneaked and peeked our way down. Halfway down, Jim yelled, “There’s one out and moving down, he’s heading for the swamp.”
I could not see the boar until it got to the end of the heavy area and stepped into an opening about 70 yards below me. Surprisingly, it turned up uphill and took a few steps toward me. This boar, unaware of me, was going to sneak back up my side and go right back to where Jim had jumped it, which is probably what it did to me earlier.
Unfortunately, the wind was at my back, and before I could kneel down and sight in on him, he got wind of me. I knew he would turn and head for my favorite swamp. I had to take the standing shot before that happened.
Quickly, I shouldered the DPMS and centered the crosshairs right between his eyes and touched off the shot, ending my seven-hour-plus boar hunt. The estimated weight was over 200 pounds, and my colleagues’ would eat well at this safari.
Unfortunately, this would be my last boar hunt in New York state, and soon, everyone else’s.
As of October 2013, it is illegal to import, breed or release Eurasian boars in New York. After September 1, 2015, it will be illegal to possess, sell, distribute, trade or transport Eurasian boars in the state.
In addition, a new regulation adopted on April 23, 2014, prohibits the hunting or trapping of free-ranging Eurasian boars statewide.