Guns in Texas

Guns are a way of life on Ambush Hill Ranch in southwest Texas near the border and north of Uvalde. Yesterday I traveled to the back of the ranch with my ranch manager. The diesel ranch truck was in four-wheel drive as we slowly drove over the rocky terrain and up the steep hills to fill game feeders and check the hog trap. Most of the feeders on the ranch are enclosed by a low heavy wire fence, the purpose being to keep the wild hogs from eating the corn and maize in the feeders. Hogs are a problem. The hog trap was sprung, the bait eaten. For bait we buy fish food in 40 pound bags, mix it with corn and maize and let it ferment in the Texas heat until it smells quite rank. We baited the trap, set it and continued up to a game feeder on the back of the ranch. Shock registered as we saw a big brindle sow and 15 small hogs, weighing about 12 pounds each. Most of them were black; a few were spotted brown and black. Lee, my ranch manager reached for his pistol and started shooting. He killed three, beginning with the big sow. The little ones scattered into the brush. They had pushed under the fence enclosing the feeder. Lee admitted to being a bad shot but his bullets were the problem, not 22 magnum. We loaded the dead hogs into the back of the pickup. The area around the feeder stunk like a hog pen. A man in Camp Wood wanted the dead hogs. The meat is lean and very tasty. The freezer is full of wild hog so we give away the excess meat to anyone that wants it. Lee reloaded his gun with more powerful bullets. We’re ready for the next encounter and so far have trapped and killed nearly 30 hogs in the last few months, not enough to make much of a dent in the hog population but at least a start.