VARMINT HUNTING AIN’T EASY.
Most hunters enjoy the pursuit not because of the bounty of the game but because of the raw challenge. Varmints whether coyotes, bobcats or feral hogs have incredibly sensitive noses and a haunting “sixth sense” that lets them know danger is there, sometimes even when conditions are perfect for the hunter.
As the number of trappers in America has declined, predator numbers have risen and along with them feral hog populations have exploded.
This deadly one-two punch gives game and ranch animals a problem that not only the issue of predation but of the spreading of diseases at feedlots and waterholes.
There is no way hunters can take out all the predators in an area or in many instances even most.
What is really important is killing the right ones.
Take alpha male coyotes for example. When ranchers see calf or lamb predation but never manage to see the predator or get it on a game camera there is a good chance it’s an alpha male coyote.
A study called “Wariness of coyotes to camera traps relative to social status and territory boundaries” by Eveline S. Sequin, Michael M. Jaeger, Peter F. Brussard, and Reginald H. Barret gives proof that animals can purposely avoid these devices.
“The primary objective of this study was to develop a better understanding of coyote (Canis latrans) wariness particularly as it related to social status. We determined that territory status (controlling alpha, resident beta, or non territorial transient) affected vulnerability to photo-capture by infrared-triggered camera systems”.
“All coyotes were wary of cameras, leading to relatively low numbers of photo-captures, most of which occurred at night. Alphas were significantly underrepresented in photographs and were never photo-captured inside their own territories. Betas were photographed inside and outside their territories, whereas transients were most often photographed on edges of territories.”
It goes on to say that alphas and betas were photographed more often on territorial edges when outside their territories.
“Alphas tracked human activity within their territories and presumably learned the locations of cameras as they were being set up. They did this either by approaching our location directly or by moving to a vantage point from where they could observe us. Betas and transients either withdrew or did not respond to human activity.”
They went on to say that alphas used vantage points is suggested by their moving to locations that were in direct line of sight of human activity.
Hunters wanting to focus on these super sharp predators must do everything right. That means scouting, a high level of scent control and the right gun.
The CZ 527 Varmint is one such rifle.
The Varmint retains all of the features that made the 527 famous, from its controlled round feed and claw extractor to its single set trigger and hammer forged barrel. Scope mounts are integrated into a forged, square bridge receiver and the rifle comes with a 5-round detachable box magazine.
Chambered in .223 this rifle is perfect for taking shots at crafty coyotes, with a round that will not only reach and touch them but kill them dead in their tracks.
Feral hogs are considered a varmint in Texas and can spread disease to wildlife and livestock but also prey on turkey nests, outcompete deer for food and will sometimes prey on fawns, lambs and kids.
As hogs push further into civilization more human conflict is occuring. In fact, in November 2019, feral hogs killed a woman in a yard in Anahuac, TX.
Those living in and around the edge of these suburban wildlife zones, might want to start profiling hogs and specifically targeting the most dangerous.
A study by Dr. Jack Mayer documents 412 wild hog attacks worldwide impacting 665 people. During this time there were four fatal hog attacks in the United States.
In his study, hogs that attack are described as solitary (82 percent), large (87 percent) and male (81 percent) and most attacks occurred when there was no hunting involved. In other words, they were unprovoked.
Locating these big hogs is a challenge but with a little work it can be done.
The first step is locating large tracks and tree rubs in an area where there is not much other hog sign. Rooting is also a positive discovery but an area with much rooting has numerous hogs. You are looking for the zone of the killer and while they certainly move in and out of areas other hogs frequent you are most likely to take them on the fringes of a very definable territory.
If a ranch for example has constant hog activity around fields or a creek bottom the big, lone boars will set up usually around ½-mile away or even farther. They will tend to be downwind of the prevailing air currents and either in a super thick spot or what I like to call “obvious cover”.
This can be a small set of bushes in the middle of a field or in the thick brush on the levee of a pond or in the crevice of fallen trees. The key is lack of contact with people and all of these areas whether they are cactus thickets of brush piles driven by commuters daily offer security.
Searching out beds is another good strategy.
Hogs will make multiple bedding areas in their preferred haunt. Hunters in California’s open country who are not legally allowed to bait scout beds and then hunt the ones they think have been used most recently.
Big, lone boars will often use several spread over their territory and once you know what you’re looking for they are easy to spot.
When you find the hog you better be ready to place a lethal shot.
The CZ 527 American Synthetic Suppressor Ready is perfect and gives you the option of being able to make quiet shots in case the big hog happens to have friends nearby.
Threaded 5/8×24 (or 1/2×28 in 223) for a suppressor, this short, handy 527 is equally happy shooting steel or taking down hogs. Chambered in 223, 6.5 Grendel or 7.62×39, most of those have enough knock-down power for well-placed shots at hogs or other varmints.
There are few things more exciting than pursuing an animal that can pursue you. And with a greater conflict between coyotes and ranchers and hogs and people happening than ever before, hunting them can be a great way to not only stay afield during the time between deer seasons but also make a positive impact on the community.
You might make new friends if they know you’re not out to kill all predators, just the ones doing the most damage.
But you might have to explain that after you take out the big, profiled boar you plan on killing every other hog you see. There’s just too many of them in Texas to be kind to them in any way.
Even nonhunters are starting to see that.
THREADED 5/8×24 (or 1/2×28 in 223) for a suppressor, this short, handy 527 is equally happy shooting steel or taking down hogs. Chambered in 223, 6.5 Grendel or 7.62×39, most of those have enough knock-down power for medium game at shorter ranges.
Built on a 223-length action, the tiniest of CZ centerfire platforms is also one of the most beloved by CZ fans. The CZ 527 American features a classic American pattern stock, a sporter-weight hammer forged barrel, a single set trigger and a recessed target crown. Made to be used with optics, the American has no sights but is equipped with a 16mm dovetail for mounting rails or ringmounts.
—story by CHESTER MOORE