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We now have three grandsons of hunting age, and all of them enjoy camping out and hunting as often as possible. All have completed the Hunter Education course, and Kyle Stevens, our oldest at age 14, is already an accomplished wingshooter. He has one juniors-only deer hunt under his belt, and in 2005 he joined other young hunters in Unit 6A for the juniors-only elk hunt. Kyle saw lots of elk and even got a shot, but missed. He hopes to draw a permit again this year.
In February, Kyle (along with his brother Joel and cousin Ty) headed out for his third javelina hunt in Unit 24B during the juniors-only season. His third time was “charm”, as the saying goes, and Kyle tagged his first head of big game – a nice javelina boar. His success in harvesting the pig was certainly a highlight, but some other crazy happenings contributed to making this a memorable hunt. Read on and see what I mean.
My wife and I overslept on opening morning and awoke to a loud knocking on our trailer door. Kyle was outside with a pained look on his face, which I took as an indication that he was ready to get on with the hunt. Instead, he announced that the permit-tags had been left at home. Kyle and his dad made the 100-mile round trip back to Phoenix to fetch them and were back around noon. Now the hunt could begin.
No pigs were found opening day, but grandson Ty arrived Friday evening to witness the second crazy event. A dog had arrived in camp and seemed to like our company. When my son (Ty’s dad) retired to his tent that evening, he found the dog in his bed enjoying the warmth of the sleeping bag. The intruder was evicted without incident and left us the next morning.
All three boys hunted Saturday, and the pigs eluded us again. At noon, it was my wife’s turn to provide another “unique” event. She took a drink from her cup, then she screamed and spewed out a mouthful of tea. A bee had also been enjoying the tea and got into her mouth. I had to pull the stinger from the end of her tongue. We males all got into trouble for not showing sufficient remorse over the unfortunate incident.
With little success in finding the pigs, the Saturday evening campfire discussion focused on plans for wrapping up the hunt with a short foray Sunday morning. Suddenly, my son called for quiet and said that he heard a strange noise nearby. Flashlights were fetched, and there stood a javelina about 20 yards from the campfire. It ran off immediately, and we all had a good laugh about hunting far and wide while the pigs were in our camp all the time!
Next morning, Kyle and I were up early and hunting the brushy creek bottom around camp. As soon as the sun hit a nearby ridge, I saw a herd (sounder) of pigs feeding. Kyle used shooting sticks to steady his rifle but missed on his first try. The pigs didn’t go far, and Kyle made his second try count with one shot at about 50 yards. He didn’t hesitate getting his hands dirty with field dressing and insisted on carrying the javelina back to camp without my help. The javelina was taken within 150 yards of our camp.
This was a great family outing and one that we’ll certainly remember. Kyle will turn 15 in November, and he drew a permit-tag for the mid-October juniors-only cow elk hunt in Unit 6A. I will be with him on that hunt also.