In order to hunt the first evening you will need to arrive at the ranch no later than 3 hours before dark if you plan to hunt that evening. Four hours is even better.
When we go out to drop you off at your stand, keep all talking to a minimum and at a quiet whisper. Hogs are often within hearing distance of the stand, the less noise and disturbance we can make getting you in your stand the better.
Feeders will throw 2 times a day (some in the preserve will throw twice in the evening). Once a little after daylight in the am and once approximately an hour before last light. You will need to plan to be in your stand at least 15 minutes prior to the am and 30 minutes prior to the pm feed time. Prime hunting time is the last 1.5 hours of evening light and up to 2 hours after dark in the pm. Stands have LED lights and staying 30 minutes to an hour after dark is a good idea. AM hunts can also be productive, but usually are a waste of time an hour after the feeder goes off. We usually kill 75-80% of our hogs in the PM.
Red River county is a dry county. You better plan to bring the beer, wine and/or liquor you need for the trip into RRC with you. Due to liability reasons Circle WC Ranch can’t supply liquor of any kind.
As a final note, our full time ranch hand is on salary, he receives NO extra pay for any evenings he is at the ranch past his normal work hours or on a weekend. I’m sure he would really appreciate a $30.00-$50.00 tip for his help on the hunt and taking care of your game after you get it on the ground.
What to shoot. We are trying to build our hog population while still doing a fair amount of hunting. We don’t want you to shoot 125# + brood sows that are either obviously pregnant or have tits hanging down indicating an active breeder sow. We would prefer you shoot boars and/or smaller younger sows whenever possible. We classify any hog under 150# live weight a meat hog, anything over 150# is a trophy hog.
Come prepared to take the meat from any “meat hog” you shoot. We shoot a lot of hogs and don’t have a place to go with a lot of meat. If you shoot an old boar that you can smell for 10 yards, we won’t worry about it, the coyotes and bobcats have to eat too, but we don’t like to waste good eating hogs.
When hog hunting you can also shoot coyotes, bobcats (a $100.00 kill fee will apply) and mountain lions (there is the occasional one in the area) if you see them. You can also shoot armadillos, but this is handgun or bow only, no sport with a rifle.
We have 4 types of stands/blinds. Elevated ladder, tripod or quad-pod open stands and both elevated and ground enclosed blinds. Most are placed 20-50 yards from the feeders and offer a solid rest, average shot is probably 40 yards. The enclosed blinds and some of the open stands are not suitable for bow hunting. NOTE: Box blinds have plexiglass windows that scratch VERY easy. Please do not wipe the windows without wetting them first. If they need cleaning tell us. Also please close all windows and doors on the box blinds when you leave and take all trash you created back to camp with you.
Hogs (especially big old boars) are extremely hard to kill even with well placed body shots. We recommend the brain or spine shot if your shooting skill is up to it. A well placed shot just behind and slightly below the ear hole always results in a DRT (in sniper terms, dead right there) hog. My favorite shot is with the boar facing me and shoot between the eyes, this results in damage to the brain, spine and the bullet will continue on into the chest cavity if properly constructed. If you’re not comfortable with this shot or hunting with a bow, a shot slightly below center ON the shoulder is your best bet, there are NO vitals behind the shoulder on a hog. Heart and lung area is directly behind the shoulder. I don’t think you can reliably kill a large boar with a thick shield with a bow, so bow hunters should not take a chance on wounding a large tough trophy boar. Make sure you use a .308/.270 class rifle or larger with good quality HEAVY bullets, no .243s with Ballistic Tips for shoulder shots. Cover is VERY thick here and we’ll do our best to find your hog, but they often go 50-75 yds with a perfect shoulder shot and leave little or NO blood trail. Any hog you hit is considered a kill, whether recovered or not and you will be charged a flat rate of $300.00 for any hog hit and not recovered.
Keys to success. Once you are in your stand, stay there, be quiet (turn your cell phone OFF), keep movement to a minimum and stay alert. Don’t wear scented deodorant, cologne or head out hunting with BO. Scent is a hogs #1 sense and it is VERY acute. Don’t get out of your stand and go wandering around spreading your scent, not only are you ruining your chances of success you are educating the hogs and hampering the next hunters chances of success. Hearing is a close second sense. Natural sounds like a cough or the dull thud of you bumping the blind will not normally spook them, but unnatural sounds like the human voice or the metallic sounds from your rifle will alert them quickly. A hog’s eye sight is rather poor, but they pick up movement very well, when you have to move make sure you do so slow and deliberate, sudden movement can alert them, especially when they are first coming in. Hogs are normally very alert and skittish when they first come in to the feeder, once they begin feeding and settle down to feed either under the feeder or in a food plot you will have plenty of time to shoot a precise killing shot.
Firearms and Safety
Firearms zero. We recommend you zero 1” high at 100 yards, we rarely shoot at a hog past 125 yards and this zero will put you dead on at 50 yards with most center fire scoped rifles.
We recommend scope sighted rifles since most shooting is in low light conditions. You will find a good quality scope of 4x to 6x with thick or illuminated cross hairs a big plus.
We have a basic shooting range for both rifle and handgun which you are welcome to use if you wish to check your zero.
Firearm, ATV and stand safety is paramount. I won’t hesitate to come down on you hard if you do something unsafe!
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