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West of Red Bluff for Wild Boar

hen we made our plans for a June hunt at Rocky Ridge Hunting Club west of Red Bluff, we figured on warm weather and hogs at the waterholes. We figured wrong. In the second week of June, we had clouds, fog, and the threat of snow in the foothills. With abundant feed and water, the hogs would be scattered. Dwight Mendonsa parked on the ridge top to catch the morning light as it traveled from the hill tops and searched out the canyons.

Away to the north, we heard the sound of Derek Wise’s machine as he and Kent and Kizer Couch headed into the next canyon.

Our glass swept across small bands of black Angus in the pastures below. There was a deer at the far edge of one plot of green. Shapes resolved out of the canopy of an oak – black, black and white, brindle. By the razorbacks and bristles, they were all boars, nine of them. Two were at least 300 pounds on the hoof.

Steve Ries picked them up in his binos. We watched as they fed. We were a mile away, but at the sound of Dwight’s machine they picked up their heads and began to trot uphill.

We followed, hoping to get close enough to begin a stalk. From the top of the next ridge, we picked them up again, nine boars lined out through the trees. We had gained very little ground and the hogs showed no sign they’d stop.

We gave up the race and walked out an oak-encrusted ridge to peer across the canyons in hopes of spotting a lone boar down in the brush.

West of Red Bluff for wild boar, Gary Lewis,,
The rifle was a Winchester Model 70 Sporter, chambered for 300 Winchester Magnum, one of 750 made for Cabela’s 50th anniversary. The ammo was NoslerCustom, with a 180-grain AccuBond up front. Photo by Gary Lewis

It had taken nine rounds to zero the borrowed Winchester. My last bullet had punched a neat little hole two inches high at 100 yards. A Model 70 Sporter, the rifle was chambered for 300 Winchester Magnum, one of 750 made for this, Cabela’s 50th year anniversary. The ammo was NoslerCustom, bright and shiny brass with 180-grain AccuBonds up front.

Built with the features that came standard on a Winchester Sporter in 1961, it had the controlled-round feeding bolt and claw extractor. The barrel was 26 inches long, with a rear-sight saddle and hooded ramp front sight. The floor plate was engraved with a special 50th anniversary logo. What I liked best was the trigger. Someone who loved rifles built this rifle.

From far off came the sound of a shot. We didn’t see it till later in the day, but Kent Couch had administered a projectile to a big-tusked boar in a poison oak thicket at a distance of less than six feet.

We moved on. Everywhere, we saw the sign: tracks at waterholes, rooting beneath the oaks, hair in barbed wire. We glassed from ridge tops and crept along creek beds, but the swine we saw were lone sows or females with young.

Close to noon, we found ourselves on the same trail from which I’d spotted my boar on our last hunt. A steady rain had begun to fall. We were almost back down to the ranch when at the edge of a large pasture, we glimpsed the backs of two hogs. Dwight switched the engine off and Steve circled around to the back of the rig to grab his bow.

Dwight had his glasses up. “The one on this side is a boar,” he whispered. I dialed the scope down to 3X for the close work.

We had the wind. The near hog was less than 50 yards away. I followed Steve into the ditch and up the other side. Eighteen yards now. He nocked an arrow and drew. The hog looked up, skittered around in a half-circle and stood broadside. Ries tickled the release and his arrow vanished behind the foreleg.

At that moment the other, a black hog with a white stripe, ran a few feet forward. The next moment, its brain engaged its legs. Dwight had a look at him. “That one’s a boar, too.”

Out from under the oaks, he flashed into the sunlight, right to left. The gun was an extension of my consciousness. When the crosshairs drifted across his shoulder, the trigger broke. One hundred-forty pounds of chops and sausage slid headlong on its chin.

When the first three were all but quartered, Kent and Kizer rolled back to the lodge. A lone hog had given Kizer the clean broadside shot he wanted. Soon that one hung beside the others.

On the table, wild pork is lean and natural, healthier than domestic pork. Chops, loin and ham are just some of the cuts. A hog in the cooler can also be turned into hot dogs, summer sausage, snack sticks or links. Between big game seasons, set your sights on Oregon’s own oinkers or pursue your pork chops south of the border.

Gary’s favorite place to stay in southern Oregon is the Running Y on Highway 140, west of Klamath Falls. Visit

Gary Lewis is published in dozens of hunting and fishing publications in the United States and around the world, as well as in his weekly newspaper columns. These hunting and fishing articles cover a wide range of topics from small game and fish to big game and predators. While he has searched the globe for these exciting adventures, Gary especially likes to spend his time in and write about the state that he calls home – Oregon. To order a signed copy of his book, “Gary Lewis’s Hunting Oregon,” send $24.95 (includes S&H) to GLO, PO Box 1364, Bend, OR 97709 or visit


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