It's hot here in central Texas, and the hogs just aren't showing up at sundown any more. So, what to do? Get some sleep and try again in the early dawn hours. Lately that strategy has been working.
I rolled (stumbled) out of bed a few minutes after 5:00AM, and by half-past I was in the truck heading out in search of hogs. I checked a couple of places before dawn, using my Photon NV scope. No hogs anywhere, just a dozen or so cows. Once it became light enough to see with standard optics I put the AR-10 with the Photon away and got out my bolt-action rifle with standard optics.
Sometimes things work out really well, and this was truly one of those days. I decided to walk along a tree covered fence line next to a large pasture where I have often seen hogs coming in to bed down in the woods. Stopping every 50 yards or so to scan the pasture carefully, I suddenly saw a sounder leaving the woods and starting across the pasture. They were less than 100 yards away, timing is everything! Apparently they were heading to a bedding area on the other side of the pasture. It looked like about 20 hogs, but most of them looked to be small, under 60 Lbs. As it turned out, looks can be deceiving. I finally spotted one that seemed to be a little larger than the others, and put the cross hairs on it. I was hoping it would stop long enough for me to make a good shot, but they were obviously going somewhere. I watched for maybe 10-15 seconds and the larger hog just kept moving. Since they were moving away from me I figured I'd better shoot while I still had a good opportunity.
Flintknapper suggests neck shots, and when I think I can make a good shot I try to do exactly that. In this case, with the hog moving and getting farther away each second, I aimed for the shoulder. I hit a little higher than planned, but the bullet went straight through the spine and the hog dropped so fast it looked like it just disappeared! I got my hand truck and rolled it out to collect the hog, and I was a bit amazed at how large it really was. The heart girth measured just over 38 inches, indicating a weight of around 180 pounds. It's probably the largest hog I've shot while hunting alone, and I was concerned that I might not be able to get it onto the truck without assistance! It worked out okay though, and the hindquarters are on the smoker as I'm writing this. The rest of the meat is being made into sausage. Once I saw the size of the sow I shot, I changed my earlier size estimate on the rest of the hogs. They were probably more like 80+ Lbs. If I'd known that, I probably would have shot one of the smaller ones. At any rate, hindquarters smoking and sausage still sound good!